Tankwa Karoo National Park

Entrance to the Tankwa Karoo National Park
Entrance to the Tankwa Karoo National Park

The Tankwa Karoo National Park is managed by SANParks.

Getting there: head north up the R355 from Ceres direction. Alternatively, include the Katbakkies Pass in your trip by heading north up Gydo Pass from Ceres. There is no fuel available in the area, so be sure to have a jerry-can on hand. It is about 300km from Cape Town.

The entrance to the park is unmanned, and you are left to make your own way to the park offices to obtain your permits. This sense of desolation is soon reinforced as you start passing the many abandoned farm houses that exists in various states of decay.

Our first “game” sighting was of a handsome Puffadder and I was very reassured by the fact that we were high up off the ground in a bakkie! We saw springbok, ostrich, red hartebeest. I am pretty sure I saw a pair of Kori Bustards. This is hardly fynbos country so the vegetation was unknown and sparse.

We stopped in at the Roodewerf Offices to present ourselves and our WildCard, grabbed a detailed map, and headed north for the Gannaga Pass. The offices are quite attractive, featuring lovely stone walls built using slate from the area. They have cool-drinks on sale.

I must say I was blown away by the Gannaga Pass. I was not expecting a significant pass at all, and the drive up and down, coupled with the views from the summit make this a very worthwhile activity for visitors to the park.

Most of the roads are pretty badly corrugated, and I would not venture into the park in a normal sedan. We definitely plan to return to the park and spend a night in the accommodation — for this trip we stayed at Die Mond.