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DinkyBird's Seeking the brightest stars of Africa. Tankwa Karoo NP, Oct. '15.

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DinkyBird's Seeking the brightest stars of Africa. Tankwa Karoo NP, Oct. '15.

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sun Oct 04, 2015 8:05 pm

That is what SO (Hawk) and I will be doing this week! A quick trip, spending two night in the Tankwa Karoo National Park

This short visit has been planned around star gazing - choosing a time the moon will rise late and not give much light ... now just to hope the weather plays along and there are no clouds.

And of course, I am hoping there will still be some flowers in the park ...

So - watch this space ... there might even be a trip report that lasts longer than the others have! :roll: :lol:
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Mon Oct 05, 2015 7:24 pm

{Tee hee Rose, with my record of non completion of trip reports, this one could be different to the others - but let us hope it is different to the non completed ones of mine this time round!}

Thanks guys - going to really enjoy everyone's company, as one looses signal from well outside the park, and there is no signal in the park ... can you imagine me without an internet connection :shock:

We are not camping Eliz, but staying in the Elandsberg Wilderness Camp - so I have packed my cozzie as the weather is looking to be warm and I can do some laps in our own private pool :P

We are pretty much ready to roll as we would like to leave before the traffic tomorrow ... there are no shops in the park, so our freezer and ammo boxes are stocked with yummy goodies. And interestingly, the closest town one can buy petrol, Middlepos (50km away) is the smallest small town in SA!
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:30 pm

Whoo hoo, the more, the merrier :clap:

We have ditched the bus, it was waaaay to a bumpy ride! We are now all on a sturdy tractor ... well in the trailer behind it. You will see why the change in mode of transport was needed!

Setting off early enough to miss most of the traffic (this is good for SO and me, so here is hoping it is also a sign this TT will be completed!) we opted to take the 'back roads' via Ceres. The Cape is still wearing its amazing blanket of colourful wildflowers.

SO bought me a new camera, and what better subject than a bird posing perfectly, (and very patiently while I yelled to SO to stop and reverse) for my first shot!
Pale Chanting Goshawk.JPG


A little further down the road, a happy flock of goats tripping through the meadow:
Goats in flowers.JPG
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:41 pm

Pretty fields of flowers and lush grass, against the back drop of mountains, soon transformed into dry land, filled with karoo scrub and rocks ... beautiful in its own way. Tar gave way a very bumpy gravel road. All access roads to Tankwa are gravel for about 100km and do not have cellphone signal.

Somewhere well along the park's access road, we came across a 'padstal' roadside stall .... and they sold everything there. We opted for a cup of 'moer koffie' (strong coffee) at this place literally in the middle of nowhere!

Padstal.JPG


Windmill.JPG


Forumite's tractor.JPG


I wish you a rock in the Karoo, where you can sit in the silence and write your dreams in the sand with a little stick.
Karoo wish.JPG
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 6:44 pm

... and then the reason we were making this little trip ... we were after a time with 'nothing'; a time with everything that touches your soul when you are removed from the hustle and bustle of materialism, and cellphone reception!

Nothing from here.JPG
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:02 pm

At this point, I must advise anyone with false teeth to remove them ... in fact, gum guards are probably a good idea for all as we are in for some rattling and bouncing!
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:16 pm

..true KD ... and what is nothing to some, is riches to others ...

Ok, so teeth are secure and we are holding on tight as all cobwebs are rattled free as we enter the zone of silence that is Tankwa Karoo.

We arrive at a cross road with little doubt which road to take!
Signs.JPG


Some time later, that thrill of reaching the gate to a South African National Park!
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The area is named after the Tankwa river:
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And although we had missed the peak of the flower season, there were still many colourful flowers displaying their beauty.
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{Edit - I have no idea why the attached pics are is such a funny order - apologies!}
Attachments
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- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:33 pm

Five hours after leaving home in Somerset West, we arrived to a warm welcome at Reception. We were issued our cottage's key, and given directions ... another 18km to go to Elandsberg Wilderness Camp.

There are five units in the camp all spaced well apart affording each total privacy. I saw a notice in Reception that 10 staff houses are being built in the Reception area, and then another 5 units will be added to the Elandsberg Wilderness Camp. I can understand that this is a very popular camp!
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Our welcome committee :) keeping watch over the front door:
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- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:39 pm

The views from the windows are breathtaking; and I could have sat on the stoep all day just soaking in the beauty of the park. These are spacious and well laid out cottages; SANParks get a 10/10 for design, comfort and position!

(Note the views, particularly the shower, where on a warm day, one can open the door. )

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- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:45 pm

Robbert, I hope you are visiting SANParks from next week and I look forward to enjoying more Travel Tales from you!

The road is not as bad as either the one to Wuppertal, nor the old one to KTP. It is wide and level, but very corrugated in places. Just give yourself a lot of time to do it slowly. Last visit to Tankwa we had a puncture but this time we were very cautious and had no problems at all. They were grading the roads in the park, so some were very smooth. However it is an ongoing battle because folk drive faster than they should and also do not deflate their tyres as they should, which makes more corrugations.
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:57 pm

Thank you all SO much for the lovely comments, and interest, in this report.

Gatita, we were in unit #2.

Stars? :redface: I am going to ask SO to paint pictures of the stars for you with words as we never took any pics! They really were brilliant!

I do hope some pics of the park will make up a bit for the lack of star pics!

The weather was warm to hot, (nights cooler) with wispy clouds on the first day, and a bit hazy that night. The next day was clearer, and the second night, the skies were clear. Without curtains on the windows in the cottage, one can peek out at the stars during the night from your bed. It is amazing how much light the stars cast on earth - even on a moonless night.

As first day gave way to the brilliance of the night sky, we made a toast to Life, and the beauty of this SANPark; and were grateful for the blessing of being there.

IMG_0256.JPG
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:14 pm

....and on a crisp morning, what better way to welcome the sun than with a cup of freshly brewed coffee ...

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The birds provided lots of song and entertainment. This little guy was a regular, he was busy charming his lady friend ...
(Cape sparrow)

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After breakfast we set off for a drive - we decided to enjoy our picnic at the area provided near reception.

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The dust in the distance in a red hartebees sprinting.

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IMG_0326.JPG
- Dalene

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Re: Seeking the brightest stars of Africa

Unread post by DinkyBird » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:23 pm

And a flag; and a notice that I share here with pride :D

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- Dalene


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