This park is a triumph for the restoration of degraded natural habitat. For hundreds of years the arid veld was trampled and grazed by livestock, destroying the high diversity of succulent plants. The park was proclaimed in the 1980s but only opened to the public a few years ago, allowing the natural habitat to resurrect itself. The result is very special, and worth the wait. The Tanwa offers endless views over an empty yet soulful landscape with koppies, dry river beds and massive flatlands. It is one of SA’s least known, yet most photogenic places, which also rivals the Namaqua region for its display of spring flowers.
Tankwa Karoo National Park
I've spent my last day here in the Tankwa Karoo National Park...and even though I've only spent a week here, it feels like home. So it's strange to be leaving. Come to think of it, I'm never really comfortable leaving a place...I think I'm a better person when it comes to arriving, if you know what I mean!
The cold weather has set in, and hopefully we will have some rain in the area, because the flowers need good regular rains to maintain their brilliance.
Thanks very much to park manager Conrad Strauss for having me to stay, as well as Letsie Coetzee, the section ranger, Elmare and Koos van Wyk and Julianna and Garret de Vries. They manage a huge park in the middle of nowhere, and they're doing an amazing job. More than that, they have been really kind to me!
Some photos from my Read more »
Okay, so another sunny day has dawned on the Tankwa Karoo National Park, and although the flowers are the main attraction at this time of year, I'm having serious trouble keeping my eyes off the sky at night. Last night I set up my camera to do a time lapse of the sunset and stars rising above the koppies and vast plains, which are best seen from the top of Elandsberg. It's an awesome view point. I'll upload the video of this soon, but for now, here are some photos from last night.
There was a little shed constructed of mud and grass near my cottage at Varschontein...it caught the sunrise this morning, just as I was taking some photos. Thought I'd play around a bit! There's a real sense of freedom here in the Tankwa...it rubs off definitely!
After a day working with Garret and Lofty at the workshop fixing the fuel tank (well, I didn't really do anything...they did all the hard work!), I drove to the next place I am staying in Tankwa Karoo NP. It's called Elandsberg...WOW! I arrived as the sun was setting on the Roggeveld mountains in the distance. I am super impressed with the accommodation...have a look at the photos. One of the best I've seen so far! (Not sure I would call this very "wild" but hey, I'm not complaining!)
The gravel roads in the Tankwa Karoo are long, hard, corrugated and covered in sharp stone. My Goodyear tyres have coped really well (after deflating them to about 2 bar), but the long-range aftermarket fuel tank on my Everest developed a hair-line crack...so this morning I discovered a puddle of diesel underneath my car.
I headed straight to the workshop at Tankwa Karoo NP and Garret de Vries and Lofty Baadjie took it all in their stride. "Moenie worrie nie," Garret said matter of factly, "ons sal a plan maak," he said as if a cracked fuel tank is something he fixes every day (which wouldn't surprise me, as the roads out here are BAD!).
Lofty and Garret jacked up the car, drained the 100 odd litres of diesel out the tank, removed the fuel tank, and identifiedwhere the crack in the Read more »
I've just spent my first day in the Tankwa Karoo National Park. It's about 50 kilometres due east of the Cederberg in the Western Cape, and it's one of the truly best-kept secrets in South Africa. At this time of year, the dry dusty Karoo veld explodes into colour...it's as if someone has flown through the cobalt-blue sky, sprinkling brightly coloured confetti everywhere on the ground below.
I often take too many photographs...but today I couldn't help myself. I don't think you can blame me...this place is amazing. Once again, I am so proud to be a South African, because we are privileged to live in one of the most beautiful countries (I think!).
I'm staying at a lovely old homestead called Varschfontein in the north-west of the park...it's all alone under the capacious Karoo night Read more »