Tankwa National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

Office: Mon-Thur | 08:00-17:00; Fri | 08:00-21:00
Sat | 08:00; Sun | 10:00-16:00
Arrivals for Accommodation from 14:00 Daily
 
+27(0)27 341 1927
Cape Peninsula
www.sanparks.org
Tankwa@sanparks.org
SANParks
Tankwa National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

Space and tranquillity in abundance

There is something innately appealing about wide open spaces filled with nothing but animals, birds and landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Even the most urban of city lovers need time out to switch off their smartphones, power down their laptops and just be.

The Tankwa Karoo National Park is 143 600 hectares of Karoo veld in a basin between the Cederberg mountain range and the Roggeveld. Here, you’ll find space, solitude and tranquillity: everything you need on a holiday.

“It’s so open and wide,” says Letsie Coetzee, the section ranger at the park. “You’re in solitude, even though there are other people in the park.” As well as the peace and quiet she says the landscapes are one of the park’s main features: “There’s always something new, even if you’ve seen it a thousand times before.” 

The park straddles the Western Cape and Northern Cape boundary with most of the park lying within the Northern Cape Province. Due to recent acquisitions, around a fifth of the park’s total area now includes mountainous cliffs and higher lying areas of the Roggeveld Escarpment, thereby giving a whole other dimension to the park.

Stop at Ceres and stock up on essentials (and fruit juice, which the area is famous for), it’s the last town before you enter the park (when coming from Cape Town). Letsie advises driving in a high clearance vehicle as the roads can be hard to navigate, but not impossible, on cars with low bumpers.

Things to do:
Switch off
– turn off your cellphone (you’ll struggle to get reception anyway) and bring that book that’s been sitting next to your bed unread for months.
Bird watch
– keep an eye out for the curious Burchell's Courser.
Star gaze
– the absence of city lights reveal a star studded sky (take a two hour detour to Sutherland’s Observatory to see the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) which is the largest single optical telescope in the southern hemisphere)
Capture the beauty
– bring along your medium of choice; sketchbook, camera or canvas and let the natural beauty inspire you.
Build a snowman – every so often snow falls within the 1200m above sea-level Gannaga Section of the park, giving an unexpected addition to your photo album for an area better known for its desert-scapes.
4x4 – The park has two major 4x4 trails called Leeuberg and Watervlei, which requires some skill to navigate, while other tracks in the park are fairly easy going where 4x4ing is concerned. 

Accommodation:
There’s a variety of places to stay, ranging from cottages and guesthouses to informal areas where you can pitch your tent.

Cottages and guesthouses:

Elandsberg Wilderness Camp
This camp consists of five cottages; all built using unbaked clay-and-straw bricks with sections of walls built with rock. These range from two-sleepers to a two bedroom cottage that can sleep up to six. They all have covered braai areas, gas appliances and linen as well as crockery and cutlery. Paraffin lamps and candles are also provided.
Tip:  Each cottage has a splash pool (great for kids).

Tanqua Guesthouse Complex
This guesthouse is right on the southern border of the park making it a convenient place to stay for larger groups (up to 18 guests) if you’re coming from Cape Town. There are four places to choose from, ranging from a two sleeper to a separate family unit that sleeps eight. These self-catering units are fully equipped with towels and linen, with the three units within the main building sharing a kitchen, living room and a braai area adjacent to the courtyard swimming pool. Catering can also be provided on advance notice.
Tip: The accommodation is reminiscent of a desert fort, and is approximately 5km from the Oudebaaskraal Dam and has been used for weddings, teambuilding and film shoots. Plus, there’s a 900m airstrip if you plan to fly in.

Paulshoek Cottage
This old farmstead was restored in 2003, the open plan living room and kitchen are furnished with antiques and the two bedrooms can sleep up to six people. There’s a two-plate stove and a fridge both powered by gas but you’ll have to stoke up the donkey boiler to get hot water for the shower. On a winter’s day, an old wood stove in the cottage provides cosy heat taking you down memory lane to Grandma’s kitchen. There’s no electricity, however candles and paraffin lamps are provided, as well as linen, cutlery and crockery.
Tip: Enjoy the beautiful views of the imposing Roggeveld Escarpment and plains as well as the antics of visitors to the close-by waterhole while you braai outside.

Varschfontein Cottage
This is also an old farmhouse, restored in 2005, but this one sleeps up to nine people in three rooms. You’ll need a high clearance vehicle to reach the cottage especially in winter. The fully equipped cottage comes with a gas two-plate stove and fridge – hot water can be made using the donkey boiler and paraffin lamps and candles are provided. There are indoor and outdoor fireplaces.
Tip: This is a good choice if you’re looking for complete solitude.

De Zyfer Cottage
This old farmhouse, with its traditional stoep and hearth, dates back to the early 1900s and was renovated in 2009. It sleeps up to six in its two rooms with a queen-sized sleeper couch in the living room. Candles are provided for light and there’s a donkey boiler that you can fire up for hot showers. It’s fully equipped with a gas fridge and stove plus crockery, cutlery and linen.
Tip:
  This is a good bird watching spot as there’s an earth dam nearby.

Official camp sites:

Langkloof
There are two camp sites, each with a bathroom and a kitchen area (without cooking facilities). There’s a gas geyser for hot showers, braai facilities (but you’ll need to bring your own grids), a carport and paraffin lamps. The site is in the scenic upper reaches of the Langkloof, 18km from the Park Reception at Roodewerf.
Tip: You’ll generally need a high clearance 2x4 vehicle to get there and a 4x4 when it’s been raining. 

Perdekloof
This is a newly developed camping area, which will opened during April 2012. There are six sites, each with their own bathroom and kitchen. Gas geysers supply you with hot water and lighting is by means of solar power. No other electrical points are available. Braai facilities are supplied, but no grids. The campsites are about 10km from the Park Reception and adjacent to the Hoenderhoek tributary of the Rhenoster River. Kudu can be regularly seen strolling among the thick brush adjacent to the campsites and Cape Mountain Zebra has also made the mountainous surrounds their home.
Tip: A high clearance 2x4 vehicle is fine, but you’ll be better off with a 4x4 if it’s been raining.

Informal camp sites:

There are six areas in the park for self-sufficient campers, each site is reserved solely for the group that books it so you’ll be free to enjoy the area without tripping over someone else’s tent strings. None of them have ablution facilities so this is for those of you that really like to rough it. Come prepared to leave nothing but your footprints behind.

Pyper se Boom
This site is on the way to the Langkloof section of the park and you’ll need a high clearance vehicle to reach it (a 4x4 during the rainy winter months). There is some shade under the trees.
Tip: Keep an eye out for the kudu and other small antelope that have been spotted in the area.

Steenkampshoek
You’ll need a 4x4 to get to this site and it’s a good idea to bring a canopy as there’s no shade.
Tip: This site has a spectacular panoramic view of the Tanqua Karoo Basin, with the Roggeveld cliffs in the background.

Skaapwagterspos
A high-clearance 2x4 will get you there and you can enjoy the shade of the Pepper Tree on this site.
Tip: Gemsbok, duiker, Cape mountain zebra and red hartebeest all frequent this hilly area.

Oom Rickert se Huis
In the rainy season you’ll need a 4x4 to get to this site, which has shade provided by Acacia Karoo trees.
Tip: Kudu and other small antelope have been seen in this Langkloof section of the park.

Volmoersfontein
You’ll need a 4x4 in the rainy seasons but a carefully driven 2x4 with high clearance will do fine otherwise. There aren’t trees in the area but the site is adjacent to an old ruin.
Tip: You might spot the Burchell's Courser in this area so keep your eyes peeled for this famous long-legged inhabitant of the park.

Biesjesfontein
If it’s been raining you’ll need a 4x4, otherwise a high clearance car will work. The camp site is near an old ruin but there aren’t any shade-providing trees in the area.
Tip:
Look out for Cape mountain zebra and gemsbok.

By Lindsay Callaghan

Check out the Facebook album of this beautiful national park and see what else SANParks has to offer and stay in the loop with our monthly and free newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook

Cape Town Events Calendar
September 2016
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R120 per kilogram on Wednesdays

Wednesday Warm-Up RunsWednesday Warm-Up Runs

Start your training for this year’s Gun Run with these weekly running ...

Clybourne Park at The Fugard TheatreUpcoming Plays that You Don’t Want to ...

Cape Town has a sensational theatre culture and we invite you to sample the ...

A New Wave 2A New Wave Exhibition

A constellation of South Africa’s best young designers have come together to ...

Karoo Moose - 1Karoo Moose at The Baxter Golden Arrow ...

Lara Foot brings her award-winning production back to Cape Town

Taxi Hand Signs Susan Woolf ExhibitionTaxi Hand Signs by Susan Woolf

Gaze upon incredible artworks that are accessible to the blind

Green Forest Trail Run SeriesGreen Forest Train Run Series in the ...

Lace up and traverse the lush Cape landscape as spring sets in

Groot Constantia Trail SeriesGroot Constantia Trail Series in Cape ...

Traverse the beautiful trails in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs at one of these ...

Fairview Goatshed Food and Wine Themed EveningsThe Goatshed Restaurant’s Themed Food ...

Taste exquisite dishes from specially-crafted menus at one of these warm winter ...

Excentric interior 5Hair and Nail Special at Excentric Hair ...

First-time clients save R100 on beauty services at this sleek Sea Point ...

Murder Mystery Dinners in Cape TownMurder Mystery Dinner Parties Cape Town

Intrigue, secrecy and cold-blooded killings are the order of the day at these ...

Postcard view of Cape Town South AfricaHelicopter Tour Special with NAC Cape ...

Save 15% on breathtaking private helicopter flights around the Mother City ...

Paragliding Cape TownCape Town Paragliding Special with Para ...

Take to the skies on any Wednesday with this reputable company and receive R100 ...

Clanwilliam-FlowerShow-4Clanwilliam Wild Flower Show

Experience the joie de vivre evoked by the West Coast’s springtime flora!

blokes-and-brew.jpgWednesday Haircut Special at Blokes ...

Pair a bespoke haircut with a cold beer every Wednesday for just R190 at Blokes ...

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownTuesday Mates and Dates Restaurant ...

Bring a partner for a two-by-two weekly special at this popular inner city ...

Clybourne Park at The FugardClybourne Park at The Fugard Theatre

Clybourne Park stands for a whole lot more than a property in this racy satire

The Painted Rocks at The FugardAthol Fugard’s The Painted Rocks at ...

Historical paintings take on a controversial legacy in this play set in a ...

27 Aug ephemeral pleasures 1Ephemeral Pleasures Exhibition at Moór ...

Discover the simple things that make people happy at this gorgeous exhibition

SA Print Gallery ExhibitionsThe South African Print Gallery ...

Flighty boats, terrifying terriers and scenes from the Overberg take centre ...

SANParks Tankwa NP FlowersYour Guide to Viewing the Spring ...

Don’t miss the chance to get up close and personal with South Africa’s ...

aFREAKa Clothing Adult Pikachu OnesieaFREAKa Clothing Adult Onesies

Unleash your inner freak in one of these playful and trendy locally designed ...

Bowhaus WashHausBowhaus Doggy Daycare Obedience Classes

Teach an old dog new tricks (or vice-versa) at this Woodstock-based pet haven

Nederburg 1Nederburg Concert Series

Everyone needs the sound of classical music and the lovely taste of Nederburg ...

Winter World Class Burger Pairing at Café CapriceWinter World Class Burger Pairing at ...

Four bartenders battle it out for World Class domination with their brilliant ...

Mavericks s&m PartyA Winter Special Night Out at Mavericks ...

Ward off the winter chills with some super sexy dancing thrills with this R100 ...

cape town comedy club logoMid-Week Madness at Cape Town Comedy ...

Grab your early bird tickets and save every Wednesday and Thursday

Benguela The Taster Swirl, Sniff and Slurp at Somerset ...

Treat your palate to a journey through the winelands at this world class wine ...

Folk Coffee Anthropology Rivertones 3Tunes and Tapas at Folk Coffee ...

Enjoy delicious fare coupled with sweet sounds every Wednesday at this trendy ...

Cape Town Youth Choir Handel's Messiah 1SA College of Music Concert Series

Music has the power to inspire, and these scholars appreciate its true meaning

The Village Idiot Restaurant & Bar in Cape TownSunday Winter Craftsmen Braai at The ...

Celebrate the last day of the week with blazing fires and epic food experiences ...

broads logo 1Wednesday Haircut, Blow Dry and ...

Step out in salon style: get a cut, treatment and Brigitte Bardot worthy blow ...

Backtracker Cycling Back UnitCycling Events in the Western Cape

Use this handy cycling overview to diarise your favourite events for the ...

Happy Hour at Mojitos2-for-1 Burger Special at Cafe Mojito

Grab two mouth-watering burgers for R69 every Wednesday at Long Street’s ...

JosephCOAT4Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor ...

Joseph is coming back to Cape Town to warm our hearts with his wonderful story ...

RicksHappy Hour Special at Rick’s Café ...

Sip discounted cocktails, tequila and more at the cosy bar off Kloof Street

marianne wine estate 62 –for- 1 Wine Experiences at ...

From a wine and biltong pairing to a vino blending experience, there something ...

ByeCycle Electric Bicycle Luxury Tours Cape TownSunday Morning Electric Bike Tour ...

Enjoy a leisurely weekend breakfast ride around Cape Town for less thanks to ...

Hazendal 7All-day Breakfast at Hazendal Wine ...

Tuck into scrumptious brekkie foods any time of the day at this farm’s ...

La Mer Restaurant at Radisson Blue La Vendome in Sea PointLadies’ Night at Cpoint. Bar & Lounge ...

Dames get a complimentary signature cocktail upon arrival at this chic Atlantic ...

Groote Post Country MarketGroote Post Country Market

A darling market with plenty of heart and country fare suitable for the whole ...

NAC Helicopter Cape Town Tours & FlightsNAC’s Romantic Helicopter Flip

This Cape Town company’s flock of lovebirds offers rides to make hearts soar

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.