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Tankwa National Park Rest Camp Development

26 March 2007

Tankwa National Park – a place of extreme beauty and solitude… A destination for those seeking the brightest stars in Africa, a once in a lifetime glimpse of a rare endemic bird or, perhaps, nothing more than a silence that reaches deep into the soul…

Situated on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape, with the Roggeveld Escarpment in the east, Cederberg in the west and Klein Roggeveld Mountains in the south, a four hour drive from Cape Town brings you to this truly spectacular National Park. Situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome, the unique features of the vegetation are combined with mind-blowing landscapes – from the sheer cliffs of the Roggeveld Escarpment to the moonscapes of the Tankwa Desert.

Tankwa National Park is still in a developmental and land consolidation phase, expanding from the original 26,000 hectares in 1986 to 99,347ha in March 2007. Reintroduction of game such as Cape Mountain Zebra, Gemsbok, Springbuck and Red Hartebeest were initiated in 2004 with further reintroductions (of these and other species) planned for the future. Two farm cottages, Paulshoek and Varschfontein, have been restored to date, sleeping four and six respectively.

To supplement the two existing cottages, Tankwa National Park is in the process of developing a five cottage rest-camp. Funding for the project is provided by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, supplying much needed job opportunities and training to local communities. The project was initiated in August 2006 and the first two cottages are due for completion in July 2007.

The rest-camp is situated in the hills of the region known as the Elandsberge, with views of Karoo plains and the imposing Roggeveld Escarpment. Traditional building methods will use locally made unbaked clay-and-straw bricks with sections of walls built with rock (supplied from the clearing of the site and the excavation of foundations), thereby evoking a bygone era, one of simpler times… Examples of this building method can still be seen in the many ruins within the park.

The cottages are placed on the contour of the hill range and positioned such that they are not directly visible from one another. Each cottage consists of a bedroom, bathroom, open-plan kitchen and living room. The latter are able to sleep a further two people, thus accommodating a total of four guests per cottage. Other features, in or adjacent to each cottage, include a fire place, Oregon Pine window frames doors and shutters, a shower with a view of the Roggeveld Escarpment, covered braai-area and carport, reed ceilings and peach-pip inlays in the floor.

The Tankwa Karoo is an area of extreme temperatures: from an average minimum of approximately 7C in winter and reaching up to 46C in summer. To provide insulation against these variations in temperature, the walls of the cottages are 450mm thick with a thick clay roof as well. The placement of windows also allows for through-flow of air and reduces exposure to the hot afternoon sun.

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For further information, contact the Park Office on tel. 027 341 1927, fax 027 341 2814 or e-mail Letsie Coetzee

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