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Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:38 am
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Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:59 am Unread post
My wife and I visit the Cape Province every February for a couple of weeks. We love the SA National Parks and after an adventurous trip to the Cederberg and the "hard man's Karoo" a couple of years ago have booked for 4 nights at Tankwa Karoo (Elandsberg) in Feb 2013.

We have investigated the forums and the web in general re access and road condition etc but would appreciate advice re type of vehicle/route etc. We are flying in to Cape Town airport arriving on an early morning flight on a Sunday and currently are planning to spend one night in Majitsfontein and then drive to Tankwa via Sutherland. It is expensive to hire a 4 wheel drive/high clearance vehicle but we think we may need to do it; web reports refer to burst tyres and the suggestion of several spares - difficult to arrange via Holiday Autos (our preferred supplier).

Any views/advice would be very welcome.
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Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:14 pm Unread post
You can also have a look here. Hope it can be of any help. :)
The gravel road can damage the tires sometimes because of sharp rocks. Some advise I got was, you need to pump the tires very hard to keep the sidewalls away from the sharp rocks. When the tires are to soft they make a bubble on the side and can get a cut very easily (The side is the softest part of the tire). Other than that try to avoid sharp rocks. :wink:
I don't think you need a high ground clearance vehicle for the trip.

Still enough planning time till Feb 2013. :thumbs_up:


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:40 am Unread post
Thanks Picnic! We will take great care. Funnily, I am sure we read somewhere that we were meant to make the tyres softer. But that must be for sand, I guess.

We were considering approaching the park via Matjiesfontein and take the Onder Karoo road. This looked the quickest way from Cape Town but everyone seems to go via Ceres. What's wrong with the route we were thinking of?! Can anyone help?


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:29 am Unread post
Django I would also take the route from Matjiesfontein. :thumbs_up:


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:47 pm Unread post
Django why do you want to drive all the way to Matjiesfontein?

You could exit the N1 towards Wellington and drive the R 301 - a very nice and scenic mountain road (but small and curvy) - according to google the fastest route - or exit at Rawsonville and take the R 43 to stay on major routes. Both drives take about 2 hours.

Stay over in Ceres, do your shopping and fill up before you leave for Tankwa. You could do the trip easily in one day from Cape Town but after a long flight I would not suggest it. You have to drive about 180 kms on gravel road from Ceres to Tankwa.

Spend the money and rent a 4x4. We did the trip last year with a 2x4 and regretted it. Many roads in Tankwa are 4x4 and we did not dare to drive them. Even the sedan roads were in rather bad condition after some rains.

Enjoy your trip. Elandsberg is a very nice place.


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:58 pm Unread post
The road from Ceres do not have many traffic on it , if you get stuck you will be there for a while other than that it is a good road.


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:39 am Unread post
Hope this will be of interest.

We visited Tankwa Karoo from the UK in January 2011. After a couple of days in Capetown we drove to Tankwa, stopping at Ceres on the way for lunch and supplies. We travelled in a Nissan XTrail 4 X 2 which we hired in SA. We had a puncture on the way in! The parks staff were very helpful but our tyre was unrepairable and we had to get a new one from Ceres. We had a spare which we put on but were very reluctant to travel anywhere without a spare. A new tyre was brought out to us on our last day. It made us very wary. Next time we go we will have a 4 X 4. As a PS, we took out insurance in UK to cover our excess and it was brilliant. Our experience hasn't put us off Tankwa Karoo but feel that it is a park where you need to make sure that you have everything you need and more besides because of the roads! We visit SA every year. Twice if we can manage it! Roll on 6th February 2013.


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Sat Oct 06, 2012 12:06 pm Unread post
Hi django

We've just returned from Tankwa and although we had no 'wheel' problems I can honestly say that I have never driven on such bad roads. I grew up in rural KwaZulu Natal and regularly had to travel on really bad roads, have been to KTP three times (notorious for bad roads) and I have NEVER seen anything like it. Although we loved Tankwa we will not be going back as the roads were just not worth it. The dirt road from Ceres wasn't too bad - quite good in most places as dirt roads go - but after the turn off to Tankwa up to the reception area the road was truly bad. We were in a 2x4 Hyundai which coped with the roads ok but Phew! it was bad. Most of the time we were travelling at between 10 and 20km/h and that was as fast as the corrugations would allow. On the way out we left from Elandsberg towards Calvina and it took us much longer than expected purely because of the state of the roads. Now, I know that this is rural Africa and having grown up in SA I did not expect smooth roads but these roads did take the biscuit. Having said all that Tankwa was beautiful and the peace was astonishing - just wish it wasn't such a pain to get to .... but then maybe there wouldn't be such peace and quiet. :doh: Enjoy your time there :thumbs_up:


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:22 pm Unread post
Thank you all contributors for this very useful information and expectation management. We will have what the hire car company terms "an intermediate SUV". I can't tell if it is a 2x4 or a 4x4 but either way it will have high clearance and (hopefully) robust tyres. We use Holiday Autos with their very convenient excess coverage.

2 years ago we went beyond Clanwilliam up to Oudrif and we thought the roads were bad there, we clearly have a lot to learn. (By the way, on that trip we went to stay at a corbelled house called Stuurmansfontein, "close" to Williston, which was absolutely the most beautiful and remote place we have ever been to. We can strongly recommend it. Afterwards, we went to the Karoo National Park and it felt like a teeming metropolis, particularly given you can see the lights of Beaufort West from there.)

Can anyone give us any information about the route from Elandsberg to Middelpos? Is that completely treacherous too?

Thanks!!


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:34 pm Unread post
I've just returned from four days in Tankwa and found the roads to be in very good condition. We entered from the Matjiesfontein/Sutherland side and exited the same way. Its obvious that they have been worked on recently. You won't have any problem in an intermediate SUV but obviously time, and rain, could impact on the condition of the roads.


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:30 pm Unread post
Thanks again to everyone for your contributions!

It is now just over a week until our trip and I wonder if anyone has been recently via Ceres and knows what condition the roads are in at the moment? And what is the weather like?

I have sent an email to reception and am awaiting a reply.


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:06 pm Unread post
Hi Django
We drove that route at the end of Sep 2012 after the winter rains and it was fine. We thought that if you cruized along at about 70kmph you would be fine any faster and you may pick up punctures. The roads in Tankwa varied - some good some rough We thoroughly enjoyed the empitness of the road from Ceres and really liked the Tankwa Farmstall on route. We only left Cape Town at about 9:00 and were at Elandsberg at about 3 .
What an awesome place I hope you have a fabulous time!
J


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:06 pm Unread post
Hi,
I had to put the usual question: 4x4 or not? :hmz:
I see the answers for Tankwa are various, does it depend on the season?
We will go at the end of December, the program is not yet defined but we would like to stay 2 or 3 nights, possibly in some informal camp.
So we have to decide between a 4x4 and a 4x2 (Toyota Hilux or similar), any suggestion?
In the website info on informal camps, where they say "4x4 advisable in rainy season", is it better to have a 4x4 anyway?

Another question: we will come from Cape Town (perhaps sleeping somewhere in between), and leave for Karoo NP: which route would you suggest for Karoo?

thank you!


Re: Tankwa Karoo visitor from UK - best route for access

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Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:31 pm Unread post
Hi, at the end we decided to book a 4x4! :wink: we want to be able to go anywhere...

We will come in the morning from Cape Town and will have 3 nights in Tankwa: Skaapwagterspos, Biesjiesfontein and Steenkampshoek, then we will go to Karoo NP.
Do you think that filling up with petrol in Ceres will be enough for all? :hmz: I will check but I think the car will have a big tank.
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