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Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by WestCoaster » Thu May 05, 2005 7:53 am

I recently enjoyed the privilege of a weekend in the Tankwa Karoo National Park along with 6 other W Coast HRs, hosted by the TKNP Park Manager, Conrad Strauss. The Park, which is not officially open to the public yet, as they are still in the process of buying farmland to add to the area of the Park before fencing it in, is already huge, and a fascinating place to visit. It is basically an arid Park for most of the year, covered in flowers when (if) it rains and is situated just over 100kms out of Ceres off the R46/R355.

I strongly recommend this wonderful new Reserve, and am sure it will become popular when opened.

We stayed in a revamped farmhouse named Paulshoek, about 5 kms from Conrad's office and home. Paulshoek is a revamped farmstead. The water in the homestead is good to drink, but we took our own anyway. Wood for braai and donkey boiler is supplied, but we took our own hardwood to supplement the braai. A walk around outside before your evening braai after the heat of the day is recommended. Looking back from the farmstead along the road you came in on and to the left up the hill, you might spot a concrete dam (like the one at Varsfontein, another old farmstead currently being renovated for the day the Park is opened) that supplies Paulshoek with water. It's worth a visit on foot, and see if you can spot the amateur rock etchings (most are just scratchings, some are really good) on the black basalt rocks up the rise a little from the dam. They were made last century and early this one by the people who lived in Paulshoek. Just below these rocks in the direction of the road, you might notice small holes in the ground. These are gecko holes, living examples of which may be seen on the Paulshoek walls on your first night.

Places to visit include Varsfontein and the Gamamma(sp?) Pass, both of which provide wonderful Karoo vistas, strange plants and weird rocks. A 4X4 is recommended during the "rainy season" (sorry Conrad!). Vehicles with high ground clearance will survive longer than ordinary sedans.

The area has aardvark and porcupine in great abundance. Look out for these early morning and late afternoon. They can be heard at night outside the homestead grubbing for food. The area also has caracal (rooikat or lynx), both foxes - Cape and Bat-eared, as well as Black-Backed Jackal. Birds abound if you are into birds (look out for the most common birds of prey in the area, the Pale Chanting Goshawk, the Black Eagles in the pass, the Rock Kestrel and the Black Shouldered Kite). There are millions of LBJ's that defy identification! There are Mountain Zebra, a few Oryx (Gemsbok) and lots of Springbok, but you need to stop every now and then to spot them in the distance unless you are very lucky to come around a corner and catch them right in front of you. A program will be started as soon as the fences are complete (dependent on the purchase of another few farms - talk to Conrad for more info) to bring back all the game shot out by the previous tenants or farmers.

On your way home, I strongly recommend that you go back to Ceres via the Koue Bokkeveld turnoff (to your right on your way back along the R355 to Ceres) and up the mountain where, on looking back regularly, magnificent views of The Tankwa and the Klein Karoo are sights worth seeing. Also, the scenery is fantastic along that route, taking in the Kattebak Pass - so named for its steepness and the need in the old days to use reverse gear up and down the pass in order to have the power! Two T-junction left turns bring you back into Ceres via the village called "Hamlet" just outside town. Turn right back onto the R46 in Ceres.

Thanks, Conrad for a wonderful weekend. You will be seeing more of us!
Almost everything comes from almost nothing.

Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)
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Unread post by hornbill » Fri May 06, 2005 7:49 am

We haven't seen much of the West Coast but what we have seen we have loved so this will be a definite visit for us when it's open. Thanks WC for letting us know about it.

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Unread post by s021700 » Wed Jun 01, 2005 11:44 am

Thanks for letting us know about the Park. It sounds wonderful. I hope you will let us know when it opens?
Perhaps we can arrange a forum trek when the big day arrives.
I would be happy to do the logistics if there are enough people interested. Send me a :thumbs_up: if you are keen.
The time has come the walrus said, to talk of many things.

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Tankwa- a must

Unread post by HennieD » Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:58 am

Tankwa had very good rains lately (in fact the first in 5years)and the flowers are magnificent , it beats Nievoudtville and Middelpos at the moment - was there the 4`th.If you want to see this wonder you must go there now especialy if you have only seen this area in the draught.
hennie bok

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Re: Tankwa- a must

Unread post by Jay » Sun Jul 16, 2006 7:33 pm

HennieD wrote:Tankwa had very good rains lately (in fact the first in 5years)and the flowers are magnificent , it beats Nievoudtville and Middelpos at the moment - was there the 4`th.If you want to see this wonder you must go there now especialy if you have only seen this area in the draught.


sigh..Oh how I wish....

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Unread post by reinette » Mon Jul 24, 2006 3:52 pm

There is a possibility that we might manage to go to Tankwa-Karoo as well :pray:, this is if I can get my travel companions to take the long way home. I was just wondering if anybody can help with the best roads from Calvinia and then to Karoo NP, escpecially from Tankwa to Karoo.
Satara in Nov. Yippee!!!!!

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Unread post by dianne » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:18 am

From Calvinia go through the Tankwa to Sutherland, then Fraserburg and from there directly to B/West along the Oukloof gravel road or via the Teekloof pass to Leeugamka and then B/West. It is Beautiful either way.

Hope that helps and sorry that the reply took a little while :)

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Unread post by reinette » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:29 am

Not a problem, thanks Dianne. :)
Satara in Nov. Yippee!!!!!

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Unread post by reinette » Wed Aug 02, 2006 2:41 pm

I spoke to Letsie from Tankwa-Karoo NP. What a wonderful and helpful person. Thanks for what you have done thus far. I truly hope we will be able to visit the park.
Satara in Nov. Yippee!!!!!

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Unread post by reinette » Tue Dec 26, 2006 9:22 pm

MarkWildDog wrote:Thank you DB, I just browsed through it, how dissapointing I was so looking forward to visiting, we have booked Sutherland now, so it looks like we will have to plan day visits to Karoo National Park instead, thanks so much DB, can you imagine if we rocked up at Tankwa Karoo NP without knowing this! I really appreciate it. Thumbs UP

Mark, see if either you or your mom can phone the park and arrange to visit. I'm sure it is going to be worthwhile. You do need to let them know for safety reasons. Not all the road are clearry marked and they need to know you are intending to visit the park. They have great personnel, very willing to help.
We didn't go to the park this time around, but it is most definately a place I would like to visit.

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Unread post by reinette » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:32 pm

If've got some mail from the section ranger at Twanka-Karoo NP and asked if I could but it ont he forum. Think it will be nice for the forum community to know what planning is going on in a less familiar park.
Tankwa National Park is in the process of planning a five cottage rest camp in the Elandsberge. The cottages will be built with rock (from clearing of site and excavation of foundations) for the foundation walls and unbaked clay-and-straw bricks made locally, as was done in a bygone era. This building method can still be seen in the many ruins within the park. The cottages will be placed on the contour of one of the hills and situated such that they are not visible from one another, with a view of the Roggeveld Escarpment. Each cottage will consist of an open-plan kitchen and living area, bathroom and one bedroom, sleeping a total of four. Other features in/adjacent to each cottage include a fire place, Oregon Pine window frames, doors and shutters, a shower with a view of the Roggeveld Escarpment, braai-area and carport.

However, to better our visitors’ experience, we would appreciate it if you could give your point of view on the following:
Which would you prefer?
a) Solar power with 220volt lights, ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom as well as electric sockets for other electrical appliances
b) Solar power with 220volt lights and ceiling fans in the living room and bedroom
c) Solar power with 220volt lights, electric sockets, ceiling fans as well as a splash-pool per unit
d) Paraffin lamps and candles with a splash-pool situated at your unit
e) Paraffin lamps are fine with me, who needs electricity and pools when you are in the Tankwa Karoo? J
f) Other – please specify

For those who have not yet visited the Park, please bear in mind that the Tankwa Karoo is an area of extreme temperatures: from a minimum of about 7ºC in winter and reaching up to 46ºC in summer. Tankwa National Park is, among others, also characterised by its vast open spaces and quiet, starry nights. While we would like to offer guests the most comfort possible, we wish to stay as close as possible to the true character of this unique area.

Please feel free to contact me should there be any queries or any other comments with regards to this.

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Unread post by dianne » Wed Mar 21, 2007 8:46 pm

Hi, thanks...hopefully we'll have more on this soon :-) Ditto for Namaqua...

Dianne
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Unread post by Jay » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:26 pm

thanx Reinette, would love to visit this park sometime, it apparently is quite an experience :wink:

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Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:43 pm

Thank you Reinette!!

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Unread post by restio » Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:15 pm

Thanks, Reinette! And please thank the section ranger from the Forum.

Did you want us to us to give our views on the options a - f? I would go with c or d, as daytime temps of 46C :big_eyes: would be more bearable with a pool. Paraffin lamps would be fine by me.
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


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