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Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo, West Coast
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WestCoaster
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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)
Philosopher and writer

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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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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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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 » 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 reinette » Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:49 pm

Some more pictures from Letsie:
Image
Image
Image

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Unread post by Bentony » Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:54 pm

If one wanted to see the wild flowers in Tankwa when would be the best time of year to go up?
An I also right in thinking that they offer horse safaris? Is so, is it possible to do both at the same time or is it still too cold? :?

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Unread post by restio » Sun Jun 10, 2007 11:53 am

Bentony, the exact timing depends on the rain. I doubt they offer horse safaris - see below.

SANParks website wrote:The Tankwa Karoo National Park is designated as a Scientific National Park, and as such offers no visitor facilities. The park is not open to the public as a rule, but through direct contact with the park management, special entry permission can be requested. However with panoramic views over semi-desert landscapes bursting into a flower paradise during August and September while the spectacular Roggeveld mountains lurks on the horizon and the Rhenoster River flowing through the park, this is a magnificent part of South Africa nobody want to miss. Only two Southern African regions have been bestowed the honour of designation as Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International. One is of course the Cape Floral Kingdom, and the other the Succulent Karoo.
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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Unread post by reinette » Mon Jun 18, 2007 6:19 pm

It should be round about August - September. The same as for Namaqualand. As Restio said, it all depends on the rain. You can always contact the park. The people on the ground will be able to help with your question. :)

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Unread post by dianne » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:55 pm

New accommodation info added to the website
Dianne Tipping-Woods

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Unread post by Dave Moore » Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:14 pm

Hi
I am planning a trip to the Tanqua Karoo park in September. My plan is to stay at Elandsberg Wilderness Camp for two nights and then at the campsite for another two nights. I see there is one with ablutions etc now. Can anyone who has stayed here, particularly the two I have mentioned, let me know a bit about their experience. We are hoping to see some flowers and also pick up a few new ticks on our bird list. We hope to return home via Karoo National Park and check out the new loops they have opened up and spot some rhino! Then on to Storms River and back home to PMB via the Wild Coast.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by eh0109 » Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:33 pm

This is my 2nd visit to TNP. Here are a few photos.

Image

Namaqua sandgrouse, Pramberg. November 2007.



Image

Lanner falcon, right outside the house at Paulshoek. November 2007.



Image

Katjiesberg, on the road back to Sutherland. November 2007.



Image

Skoorsteenberg, just before the turnoff to Oudebaaskraal. August 2008.



Image

Weird landscape at Oudebaaskraal dam. August 2008.



Image

The house at Paulshoek. August 2008.



Image

Unidentified flower behind the house at Paulshoek. Any guesses? This one is for Letsie. August 2008. Correction: The name of the flower is Lachenelia Violacea.



Image

Inside Paulshoek. August 2008.



Image

Unit #5, Elandsberg. The road is very bad, drive carefully. August 2008.



Image

Inside unit #5, Elandsberg. August 2008.








Image

Wall to wall flowers at Varschfontein. The mind cannot comprehend. August 2008.



Image

Fun and games at Varschfontein. Bad weather on its way. August 2008.
Last edited by eh0109 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by eh0109 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:11 am

Thanks guys, and thanks Letsie for the flower info. Here is one last photo of the Oudebaaskraal dam. Incredible.

Image

Oudebaaskraal dam overflowing. August 2008.
Last edited by eh0109 on Thu Sep 18, 2008 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by Solvej » Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:32 am

Has anyone information on accommodation at Die Mond in the Tankwa Karoo Park? I can see that there is self catering accommodation looking at Slingby's latest map of the Cederberg.

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Re: Tankwa Karoo NP: INFO

Unread post by letsiec » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:08 am

Hi there,

Die Mond is indeed situated within the Tanqua Karoo Region but NOT in the Tankwa Karoo National Park. You can contact Mr & Mrs Hough at 027 341 2330 or 027 341 2334 for further details with regards to Die Mond. For bookings at Tankwa National Park, you can contact our office directly at 027 341 1927 - as we are not on the central booking system of SANParks, all bookings are currently handled from the park itself.

If the map indeed indicates that Die Mond is situated within TKNP, I would appreciate it if you could let me know in order for us to rectify the problem as soon as possible and thereby prevent further confusion.


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