Greyish-green foliage merges with the browns of this semi-desert that is the Karoo, as the landscape reaches towards the many table-like mesas and isolated buttes (koppies) that rise from the dusty earth. A place where the Earth’s vastness is felt, it is also a place of intricate detail.
Small insects scurry among tiny white paper-like flowers that embellish the landscape and contrast with the towering Klein Roggeveld mountains. Here you will find playful mongooses and other small mammals such as porcupine and duiker, while leopard and black-backed jackal are also present in the park.
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 the Klein Roggeveld mountains in the South.
Just a four-hour drive from Cape Town brings you to this truly unique national park. Cradled within the Succulent Karoo Biome, the area is renowned for its rare and endemic plant species, the greatest variety of land tortoises on the planet, rich birdlife, and polarised landscapes where sheer cliffs and ancient formations are juxtaposed with cracked dry riverbed flats.
Elandsberg Wilderness Camp cottages have been built using traditional materials of unbaked bricks and clay plastering. Large windows allow one to take in the spectacular landscape and the private splash pools make this place comparable to upmarket private game lodges.
The Farm Cottages of Varschfontein, Paulhoek and Dezyfer are all fully equipped, self-catering and non-electrified. The Tankwa Guesthouse and the Gannaga Private Lodge offer accommodation for groups of 18 and 20 respectively and have conference facilities.
The park has six informal campsites, namely Pyper se Boom, Langkloof, Skaapwagterspos, Steenkampshoek, Volmoedsfontein and Bessiesfontein. You’ll have to be completely self-sufficient to camp at any of these.
While Tankwa Karoo National Park is still in a developmental and land-consolidation phase, expanding from the original 26 000ha in 1986 to nearly 143 600ha by late 2010, it is the ideal destination for those seeking the time out under some of the brightest stars in Africa.