And with the Tankwa National Park around the corner, it is easy to explore all the wondrous fauna and flora that the Tankwa Karoo has to offer. The park was established in 1986, with a mere 26 000 hectares and by 2010 the park already had nearly 143 600 hectares.
The attraction of the park and surrounding area, lies in its scenic landscape of koppies and moon-like territory, rich variety of succulent plants and a diversity in interesting birdlife. For experienced birders there is the good chance to spot the Burchell’s Courser. Other birds include the double-banded Courser and the Karoo Long-billed Lark. The park has laid out tracks that is mostly accessible by motor vehicles, and visitors are asked to please stay on these tracks when exploring.
North-east from Tankwa Guest Farm, lies the small town of Sutherland. The 91km drive warrants a day visit to the town, where the South African Large Telescope (SALT) is a must see, being largest single optical telescope in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is also worth taking the Ouberg Pass route to Sutherland. The pass offers an extremely scenic drive for the adventurous. It’s 1400 meters above sea level with a 800 meter climb onto the Roggeveld escarpment, with sharp twists, turns and bends, best suited for a 4x4 vehicle. At the top of the pass, you will have a spectacular view of the Tankwa Karoo basin with Katiesberg (which is a landmark for our guest farm as seen on our logo), the Cederberg Mountains in the distance and stretching Karoo countryside. For birders there is also the opportunity to see the African Rock Pipit, and also Karoo escarpment birds like the Sickle-winged Chat, Pale-winged Starling and the Cape Eagle Owl.
Antelope were introduced into the Tankwa National Park in an attempt to restore large mammals as a primary driver in maintaining biological diversity. Consequently, antelope such as Gemsbok and Hartebeest were introduced and later Springbok and Cape Mountain Zebra. So it is worth a drive through the park for some game viewing.
The Tankwa National Park is located in the Succulent Karoo Biome. This Succulent Karoo Biodiversity Hotspot includes about 116 000 square kilometres that stretches along the Atlantic coast of Africa, from south-western South Africa into southern Namibia. It is described as one of the 25 richest reserves of plant and animal life on our planet. It is also the only arid region recognised as a biodiversity hotspot.
The Succulent Karoo regions exhibits some of the world’s most abundant succulent flora and also a high diversity in reptile invertebrate. Dwarf Shrubland with predominantly leaf succulents are found throughout the hotspot and is a unique vegetation type for a desert. Almost a third of the floral species in the region are unique to the hotspot. In spring, the flowers in the Tanqua Karoo may surprise you with their yellow, orange and purple colours painting the countryside.
For more information on things to do and see, ask us at reception for information leaflets on flowers and animals. Also visit www.sanparks.org/parks/tankwa/