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Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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canon
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Re: Advice and Info required about Tankwa Karoo NP

Unread post by canon » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:11 am

shfish wrote:Hi Canon

Apologies I'm only addressing your post now. Please give us a report on your return...I'm very fond of Tankwa!
By the way, on my last stay at Langkloof, I set up a camera trap at the little water pool at the river crossing just above the campsite. Managed to capture jackal, African wildcat, common duiker and a striped polecat...but no leopard!!


Hi shfish

Click http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=79713 for my TR
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Re: Advice and Info required about Tankwa Karoo NP

Unread post by shfish » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:25 pm

Hi Canon
Thanks for the reminder, but I've viewed your TR again and again, just to remind myself of the beauty of the place. Your images are fantastic - a true reflection of the Tankwa. Did you guys also feel a presence whenever you entered those delapidated old farm buildings? Some people camp inside them for shelter....not me I'm afraid :shock:
The first timewifey and I visited Tankwa we were coming down from KTP heading home to CT. We had made a reservation for Varschfontein. Assuming that the entrance to Tankwa was at the area where the park overlaps the R355, we took our time coming down after stocking up at Upington, thinking we only had about 600 kms to cover in the day. We found to our dismay that the entrance to Tankwa was about 80 ks further South on the R355, then one heads about 50ks NE before arriving at the reception. We got there late, about 6pm, but thankfully the staff came out allow us access. To our further dismay, we then leant it was another 42 kms to Varschfontein. Wifey was almost in tears, suggesting that we pitch our tent right there in the reception parking area. I opened a couple of beers, told wifey to down them and on we went. We got hopelessly lost, initially going most of the way up Ganagaus Pass before realizing our mistake. Then we came back down onto the plains and eventually arrived at a gate on the fence of the R355 that we had passed about 5 HOURS earlier. This brought wifey to tears. I got out the 1.5 million candle power spotlight and surveyed the surroundings - it was like holding a match in the Cango caves. Half an hour later at 10pm we saw a white building in the headlights - VARSCHFONTEIN!

The next morn we could appreciate the territory but unfortunately I'd used so much fuel we couldn't really drive around. That's why I've been back. And again. And again. ( Without wifey)

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Re: Advice and Info required about Tankwa Karoo NP

Unread post by Fynbos » Wed Jul 23, 2014 5:50 pm

Hello, I would like to know what time of year is the best to visit Tankwa. We have ground tents and don't what to be too much in the rain season. We thought of October/November or March/April. Do we have to do our booking a year in advance as for KNP and Kgalagadi? and how many nights will you recommended.

O, this will be our first visit to the park.

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Re: Tanqua info please

Unread post by MATTHYS » Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:42 pm

From the Wild Card website :
The vastness of the Tankwa Karoo has just been mapped.
aquila non capit muscas

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Re: Tanqua info please

Unread post by Melda30 » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:18 pm

Query on Tankwa Unit 3
After reading all these reports we are quite keen to go to Tankwa Karoo as it sounds like our kind of place.
Due an ill family member we are changing our already booked trip to Namibia over Christmas and instead going to Cape Town from Richtersveld. We have a couple of nights to get there and I thought about Tankwa Karoo.

The only available accommodation is Tanqua Unit 3 (Guest House). Has anyone stayed there or even seen it? It appears to be part of a guest house which puts us off a bit. However, it might be fine and at least we would get to see this park.

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Re: Tanqua info please

Unread post by Dijo » Mon Oct 27, 2014 10:09 am

Hi, We stayed at Tankwa Karoo in either unit 1 or unit 3. My TR below (I hope I got the link right) tells a little bit about it. PM me if you would like to know more.

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=80828

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by MxM » Tue Dec 30, 2014 1:48 pm

Hi all

As part of a central Northen Cape trip, I plan on a 3 night stay in TKNP. I will be driving a petrol CRV (which has only 1 new rattle after the 2 weeks in KTP last year) and wish to stay in formal accommodation. My needs are very basic, a bed that I do not need to blow up and a roof that is there before I arrive. I plan on much birding and landscape/nightscape photography.

I am extremely unfamiliar with this park but I want it on my growing list of parks I have visited. I would like to know or get some views/advice on the following:
- What accommodation option/s are best?
- Is there petrol available in the park yet?
- Is it possible to enter the park from the east (will be coming from Sutherland)?
- Is it possible to move around a bit at night, on foot, to get that special tree or windmill in my starry picture?
- What is the birding like in March?
- Are there specifically good areas for birding of the less common to rarer species in the park (the more common dry birds have shown themselves quite well between KTP, MZNP and KarooNP, plus I will be doing Augrabies for 5 nights before TKNP)?
- Are there any views on a route from Augrabies via Sutherland - road surface / landmarks / interesting landscapes / nice stops / anything that would help me decide how to drive?
- What viewpoints/places in the park are specifically worth visiting (I have limited time and a mere 55 l petrol tank)?
- Other than watching out for scorpions when the wind picks up and snakes in the warm areas around my accommodation, also sharp stones on the roads (I drive ca 20 km/h when birding, so doubt this will affect me much), are there any dangers/hazards I should be aware of?

I look forward to any info anyone could share.

Have a pleasent afternoon

John
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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by Melda30 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:42 am

Hi John
We stayed 2 nights in Tankwa Karoo just before Christmas. You can enter from Sutherland side and there is a good map on Sanparks website. We entered from Middlepos and over the most impressive Gannaga pass.
There are a lot of accommodation options (have a look at Sanparks Web page) but we stayed in the Tankwa guest house with shared kitchen and living area but your own huge bedroom and bathroom. We braai'd outside anyway under the stars which are mind blowing. You feel like you are in a star globe. Yes you can walk around at night. It was an amazing experience but do not under estimate how bad the roads are or how long it takes to get around in the park. There is no petrol available in the park.
Not sure about the birding in March but it was good in Dec and we saw a large billed lark for the first time. I recommend that you visit the Ouderbaasdam for birding.
We got a puncture and the place we had it repaired said we should not have deflated our tyres but rather pumped them up even harder due to the sharp rocky surface. Not sure how true that is.
If you are coming from Augrabies to Sutherland in one day, I would come straight down via the R27 through Kakamus then Kenhardt. We came the other way from Richtersveld. Don't forget to stop at the Pink Padstal by Kakamus.
Unless you have a specific reason for going to Sutherland, Calvinia would be a more direct route to the park. Then you can get some delicious Karoo lamb at the Calvinia Butchery.
Hope this helps and it sounds like an amazing trip. We love the Northern Cape.
Melanie

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by MxM » Fri Jan 02, 2015 10:57 am

Hi Melanie

Thank you for the detailed response! I appreciate the effort.

I have always wanted to go to Sutherland, no real other reason for going. Plus, I have moved my visit that I am in Augrabies during the last quarter or so of the moon, then it will be very dark during my Sutherland and Tankwa nights, am keenly thinking of some special nightsky images.

I will be staying over in Keimoes on the way out (Kakamas on the way in) of Augrabies and plan a second night in transit somewhere between Keimoes and Sutherland, so far either Brandvlei or Williston.

Perhaps I will specially drive to Middlepos for fuel to get to go over the pass...

What was your overall experience at the guesthouse? It seems well located for the dam but I was looking forward to a quiet atmosphere. I have seen all the option on the SANParks site, but as I have so little idea of the area and options I thought I would rather ask for experience based info.

I have heard that for stones you should pump tyres to raise the sidewalls, but the counterargument of a stiffer surface being able to be cut more easily also holds to me. Guess I will leave mine as normal to go in somewhere in the middle; and make sure that my spare is ready...

Do you have a trip report pending or some images of the area around the guest house? I would be interested to see how much landscape work I could do there at sunrise/sunset... Thanks for the note on petrol, was more a hopeful question.

The Northern Cape is an acquired taste, but nothing else comes close!

John
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Melda30
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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by Melda30 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:44 pm

A pleasure John. I got info from this forum for my Tankwa trip. I think you would enjoy that pass as it is one of the most impressive ones we have ever driven over. Just keep an hour free if you intend filling up at Middelpos as the hotel, the shop, the goat farm and the fuel pump seem all to be manned by one man. We bought some outstanding goats cheese made in Middelpos (no doubt by that one man).

I understand about the night skies and think you have chosen one of the best places to be.
A trip report is coming but we are still on our Road Trip and are currently at Kgalagadi TR so limited internet that won't upload pictures. I will definitely upload some of Tankwa later.

Our first choice for accommodation would have been a cottage but they were fully booked. The guest house was fine but we did not exactly mingle in the shared quarters and took one of the portable braai's outside the lodge and away from the people. The fact that you can walk around at night was great as we needed to get away from the lights of the lodge too for our night photos. I will not be uploading those as we failed miserably and need to practice a bit more. The rooms are far apart and we were not aware of other people's noise. There are a lot of old buildings and old farm equipment lying around that we had fun photographing especially when birds obliged and sat on top of them. There are windmills. Apart from going to the dam twice, we spent the rest of the time wandering around near the guest house birding and photographing - and sleeping as we were up with the stars at night.

By the way, the corrugations at Kgalagadi are nowhere near as bad as the ones at Tankwa!

Until later.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by Melda30 » Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:14 am

Hi there
Thanks - responded on your excellent Kgalagadi thread. Just back.

Middlepos Hotel looked fine. It is a very very very small town. Just a Hotel, a shop, a post office and a fuel pump. It used to be a trading post and is privately owned.

Some pics to start off with.

The guest house
Image

The guest house
Image

Gannaga Pass
Image

Familiar chat on wheelbarrow
Image

The evening
Image

Image

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Hugh
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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by Hugh » Wed Jan 07, 2015 11:24 am

WE did a tankwa visit about a year or so ago ... we have always wanted to go to Sutherland for no other reason to say we had been there and we were not disappointed . We did a tour of the SALT telescope and in the evening just looked at the stars We then went on to Tankwa via the Ouberg pass its very impressive and we did it in a 2x4 SUV Views are to die for We also went up the pass in Tankwa had a picnic at the top and then came all the way down again ... lovely
Happy planning and enjoy
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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by jfh » Fri Jan 16, 2015 7:13 pm

How popular are the campsites during Easter?
Are they usually packed or is the park just visited by the few.
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shfish
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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by shfish » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:23 pm

Hi jfh,
Tankwa is not everybody's cup of tea so it's still only visited by a few. The "formal" sites are a bit busier but if you're going for rough camping(no facilities), you'll have no problem for Easter.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by MxM » Tue Jan 20, 2015 8:20 am

Hi all

I am planning on visiting this haven of solitude in March (over the new moon period).

Could anyone share an opinion or five over which cottage is best and why? I will not be doing the camping thing, but would like quiet and good views. Also, I am a keen birder and landscape photography will be forming a large part of this tour.

Have a :dance: day

John
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