It’s more than 10 years later and I still return to the Karoo, maybe to have a great rest, or maybe just to do some soul searching. The possibilities are endless.
I am a big fan of SANPARKS (South African National Parks) and we decided to stay at the Elandsberg Wilderness Camp in the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The cottages are spaced far enough from each other maintaining privacy with your own splash pool on the stoep. There is a solar panel system which supplies just enough power for lights, a fridge and to charge your camera! There is also a fireplace in the living room for those cold Karoo nights. The part of this cottage that stood out the most is the windows in the house that doesn’t have any curtains or blinds to close. You go to bed watching the stars and wake up to the most beautiful sunrise there is to experience. The bathroom even have an open window so you don’t miss one second of this incredible surroundings!
As there is NO cellphone signal at all here, SANPARKS supplies guests with a radio to use in case of extreme emergencies.
5 Things to do in the Tankwa Karoo
1. HIKE OR DRIVE UP ELANDSBERG VIEWPOINT
If you want a good view of the 143 600 hectares of unspoilt peace the Tankwa Karoo National Park has to offer, you should definitely make use of the Elandsberg Viewpoint. It is accessible in a 4×4 or high clearance bakkie, and is quite the drive till the top with a few bumpy and rocky parts. You will even spot some wildlife on the route. If you are visiting with a small car or a sedan, you could always pack a backpack and hike the route.
2. DRIVE THE GANNAGA PASS
Take a road trip up the Gannaga Pass to the top of the Roggeveld Escarpment. This pass can sometimes be difficult to drive in winter because of slipperiness from rain or snow. The views from the top (accompanied by a strong wind that never seems to calm down) are incredible! Always make sure at the Roodewerf office if the pass is accessible and in good condition before attempting the drive.
3. VISIT MIDDELPOS
“Daar’s net een garage, ‘n bottelstoor, ‘n sinkdak huis en ‘n poskantoor…”
Once you have reached the top of the Gannaga Pass, Middelpos is about 30 kilometers away. Here you will find fuel and cellphone signal! And also the smallest village in South Africa that started out as a trading post around 1860. You will only find the basics in this town, like the famous Middelpos Hotel, a school, police station, general dealer and a garage. Not much to see, but worth a visit to tick of the bucket list for small towns.
4. THE AFRIKA BURN SITE
If you stay at the Tankwa Karoo National Park, the rangers at the Roodewerf office can quickly give you directions to the Afrika Burn site which is accessible from the park. The event has been running since 2007, with all events to date held on a private farm called Stonehenge, which is adjacent to the Tankwa Karoo National Park. The farm is very isolated, as it is situated half-way along the R355, a 250 kilometres long untarred road between Calvinia and Ceres in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Here you will still find some of the artworks as left by their creators.
5. MAKE A STOP AT THE TANKWA PADSTAL
The roadtripping legend Tankwa Padstal is 80km north of Ceres, 160km south of Calvinia, on the R355 and home to the Lange brothers, Wally and Hein. When the padstal burned down in September 2014, it was quickly rebuilt with a massive helping hand by bikers, bloggers and Burners who love this place dearly. Here you can find wifi and some incredible moerkoffie!