Tankwa Karoo National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

In the 19th century, the Succulent Karoo became the first Biome used for settled European Pastoralism. In 1986 eight State Farms, covering some 26,000 ha , were proclaimed as a National Park and signalled the beginning of the Tankwa Karoo National Park, named after the region in which it is situated. Now , the Park covers some 121,000 ha with high value conservation land continually being added to the core area of the Park. The true meaning of word Tankwa is unknown but is said to be " Turbid Water ", " Place of the San " or " Thirstland ".

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Tankwa Karoo National Park

As luminous clouds of dust swirl through the ancient landscape, a tortoise patiently ambles around in search of some succulent morsel, a lizard basks in the sun while suricates and mongoose share the arid plains with orb-web spiders, centipedes and leggy toktokkies…

Tankwa Karoo National Park is 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.

Just a four hour drive from Cape Town brings you to this unique national park situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome where you'll find rare and endangered plant species, rich endemic birdlife, and landscapes that will take your breath away – from the sheer cliffs of the Roggeveld Escarpment to the moonscapes of the Tankwa Desert.

While Tankwa Karoo National Park is still in a developmental and land consolidation phase, expanding from the original 26,000 hectares in 1986 to nearly 111,000 ha in 2007, it is the ideal 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…
Special feature
Situated within an internationally recognised Biodiversity Hotspot, Tankwa will speak to the mind of everyone serious about conserving our heritage for future generations. Unique feature of vegetation are combined with mind-blowing landscapes; fromthe sheer cliffs of the Roggeveld Escarpment to the moonscapes of the Tankwa Desert, you will experience nature in its ever-changing state. The 1,000 ha Oudebaaskraal Dam adds another perspective to the word " desert " . Magnificent sunrises with various bird species will make your early morning an experience to remember. For birders the above average chance to spot the notorius Burchell´s Courser as well as other Karoo endemics makes a visit well worth it.

Wildlife; Gemsbok, Springbok, Leopard, Cape Mountain Zebra, Black-backed Jackal, Striped Pole cat, Red Hartebeest, Klipspringer.
Birds; Black Eagle, Black-headed Canary, Black-breaster Canary, Snake Eagle, Cape Bunting, Bokmakierie, Burchell´s Courser, Cape Francolin.
Plants / Trees; Doringkapok, Wolwedoring, Geelbietou, Bitterghaap, Dikbasmalva, Karee Boom, Soetdoring, Bruin Melkbos.

Selfdrive on demarcated roads, Hiking, Bird Watching, Mountain Biking, Swimming, canoeing,  4 x 4 -trail, Picnicing.

How to get there
From Matjiesfontain ( N1 ) take the R354 towards Sutherland for 75 km. Turn left at the Onder-Karoo turnoff, follow road for 31 km and keep left for a further 27 km. Turn right at the T-junction, and foööow the P2250 for 25 km.
From Cape Town via Ceres take the R 355 towards Calvina approximatly 105 km, turn right on R355 about 80 km to the office. From Calvina take the R355  towards Ceres about 50 km, turn left at the Roodewerf road sign for another 50 km to the office.

Accommodation in the Park exists of self-catering units, informal campsites and a privately owned lodge on top of the Gannage Pass. All self-catering units have bedding, towels and cutlery.
Self catering units are:
Elandsberg Wilderness Cottages ( 5 cottages )
De Zyfer
Tankwa Guesthouse
Camping faciliteis:
Several informal camping sites are available ( No running water and no ablutions ).
Bed and Breakfast facilities:
Privately owned Gannaga Lodge on top of Gannaga Pass.

The above presentation of the park, is a contribution from © SANParks.org 2004-2009.