Tankwa Karoo National Park

Near the border between the Northern Cape and Western Cape province of South Africa you will find the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The area where luminous clouds of dust float through the ancient landscape. Where a turtle patiently strolls to the other side, a lizard warms up in the sun and gemsboks and heart animals walk on the arid plains.

The area declared National Park in 1986 is still in development. The park has since been expanded from 26,000 hectares to no less than 143,000 hectares (in 2010) and is still growing. If it is not in area then it is in animal numbers. A place where the starry sky is just as breathtaking as the silence.

Located between the Roggeveld, the Cederberg and the Klein Roggeveld Bergen, it is a special park that is only a 4-hour drive from Cape Town. The area is known for its rare plant species and the rich bird populations. In the park you will find antelopes such as the gemsbok, hartebeest and springbok, but also the Cape mountain zebra.

For birdwatchers this is a very interesting area with 187 different bird species. You will find various birds of prey such as eagles, falcons and sparrowholes. But also nicely colored canaries, the hoopoe, bokmakierie, korhaan and the rare red-billed racing bird with its excellent camouflage.

In the spring between August and October, after the few winter rains, you see the dry soil turning into flower carpets, an almost unimaginable phenomenon. The Karoo area is therefore mainly known for its rare succulents that can live well with the little rain that falls here (<200 mm per year). The summer temperature in January is 38 degrees on average and there is very little rainfall. If you visit this park in the South African winter, bring warm clothing as the average temperature is only 6 degrees at night.
General information:
– There are no official entrance gates for this park. Driving in the park is permitted from 5:30 AM to 7:00 PM from October 1 to March 31. In the winter months from 1 April to 30 September, driving in the park is permitted between 6:30 AM and 6:00 PM.
– All roads in the park are gravel roads (unpaved), so take your speed into account and make sure you have a spare wheel. Most roads in the park are accessible for 2 wheel-driven vehicles, but there are also a number of routes that are only accessible for 4x4s.
– You cannot buy petrol or diesel in the park, nearby places are: Middelpos (52 km), Calvinia (110 km) and Ceres (180 km).
– There is no restaurant, shop or ATM in the park. Make sure you have at least enough water.
– Search for wild animals with your own car.
– Hiking and mountain biking (on the gravel roads).
– Bird watching. In April the Tankwa Birding Bonanza takes place annually, a friendly competition for bird watchers.
– 4×4 trails.
– There are two viewpoints in the park where you can take beautiful pictures: Gannaga Pass and Elandsberg.

Conservation Fees: the South African National Park administration has set a daily entrance fee (entrance fee) for all individual SAN parks. If you are going to visit several SAN parks in South Africa then it may be useful to purchase a Wildcard.

Accommodation in Tankwa Karoo National Park:
Paulshoek cottage
Varschfontein Cottage
Elandsberg Wilderness Camp
Tanqua guesthouse
Camping facilities (Perdekloof and Langkloof)

All images / information on this page: © SANParks.org 2004-2016

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