Tankwa Karoo National Park, for those of you seeking a once in a lifetime glimpse of a rare endemic bird, or perhaps nothing more than a silence that reaches deep into the soul.
Tankwa Karoo National Park is a national park in South Africa. The park lies about 70 km due west of Sutherland near the border of the Northern Cape and Western Cape, in one of the most arid regions of South Africa, with areas receiving less than 100 mm of average annual precipitation, moisture-bearing clouds from the Atlantic Ocean being largely stopped by the Ceder-berg mountains.
Other low areas receive little more, as the Roodewerf station with 180 mm of mean annual rainfall. In the hottest areas of the park, the mean maximum temperature in January is 38.9 °C, and in July the mean minimum temperature ranges from about 5 to 7 °C.
Before this Park’s proclamation, the only protected area of Succulent Karoo was the 2 square kilometre patch of the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve.
Succulent Karoo has, together with the Cape Floral Kingdom, been declared a Biodiversity Hot spot by Conservation International.
The Park’s unique fauna and flora offer glimpses of tiny jewel-like flowers on a crisp Spring morning, to the sun-baked vista of blue sky and the grey-green landscape mantled in low scrub, succulents and copses of acacia.
Gemsbok, kudu, eland, red hartebeest and Cape Mountain Zebra are some of the larger mammal species to be found together with duiker, steenbok and springbok. Nocturnal species include leopard, porcupine and black-backed jackal.
The Park is also a bird watchers’ paradise with the most sought-after species, Burchell’s Courser, occasionally sighted on the rough grey gravel plains. The stately Ludwig’s Bustard and the Karoo Korhaan are relatively common sightings.
During the spring months the dry plains burst into life with the blooming of millions of wild flowers after the advent of the first spring rains, which transforms the barren plains and hillsides into colorful landscapes of yellow and purple.
The park protects one of the most beautiful tracts of the Tankwa Karoo and is situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome with approximately 600 plant species identified within the Park. The Succulent Karoo boasts the world’s richest succulent flora, as well as high reptile and invertebrate diversity.
Where to stay
De Zyfer Cottage CO4/6
Paulshoek Cottage CO6