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  • Writer's pictureNatasha Posnett

The Tankwa Karoo: into the desert

What an awesome and unique trip this was!

I had read about the area and seen plenty of pictures, but nothing does the Tankwa Karoo justice until you see it for yourself.

Just 330km from Cape Town, the Tankwa Karoo offers incredible scenery, breath-taking views and an experience you won't regret. The sunsets and starry skies will leave you with unforgettable memories and planning to come back again and again. No phone signal or wifi means you get to switch off completely and enjoy the secludedness of this desert getaway.

View from our cottage (Elandsberg cottage No.1).

Day 1

On the drive up, we chose to split our journey and spend a night in Ceres. I had driven through Ceres a few times but had never really appreciated this little town with its pretty mountain views and quaint tree-lined streets.

We stayed at the Apple and Pear accommodation. Tucked away on a quiet residential street, this cosy room was perfect for the three of us for the night.

Our little garden at the Apple and Pear guest house.

Day 2

We woke up to a fresh morning with clear blue skies. The mountain views were beautiful in the early morning sun. We enjoyed a nice slow morning- well, as slow as it can be when you’re running around after an 11-month-old who has been awake since 5am.

Before leaving Ceres we visited the Homegrown Bakery Café. A cute and cosy spot with good coffee and tasty food. Levi crawled around and got rid of all of his energy before the drive north. John and I took turns chasing after him and eating our breakfast!

Beautiful decor at the Homegrown Bakery Cafe. Great place to start the day.

Between Ceres and the Tankwa Karoo National Park, almost 200km, there isn’t a lot to see and do! The next few hours are filled with miles of dusty, gravel roads. But, there is one little farmstall that you shouldn't miss. The Tankwa Padstal is famous for its isolated location and is a must-visit if you are driving along the R355. You'll find some unique and interesting arts and crafts and some good homemade food.

Just one of the random old things you'll find at the Tankwa Padstal!

After a bit more jiggling around in the car, we arrived at our accommodation in the Tankwa Karoo National Park with plenty of time to unpack, cook dinner and watch the sunset from the warmth of our living room.

We were staying in one of the Elandsberg cottages and it was gorgeous. The living room, bedroom and bathroom all had floor-to-ceiling windows, so wherever you were you could appreciate the views.

Day 3

The mountains were already glowing when Levi decided it was time to wake up at 5.30. The sun was providing just enough light to illuminate the outline in a reddish glow. We sat in bed, warm coffees in hand, until the sun popped up over the mountain tops.

It was a chilly 5 degrees, but we enjoyed breakfast outside, wrapped up and eating warm bowls of porridge. No sign of civilisation was visible. No car noise. No roads. Just the occasional bird swooped past to say hello, but otherwise, we were completely alone.

The Elendsberg viewpoint is one of the things you have to do when you’re in the Tankwa Karoo Park. We could see the start of the trail from the back of our house and presumed it wouldn’t take us long to hike to the top of the ridge and get a view over the other side.

It turned out we were slightly wrong and underestimated the length of the walk! After about an hour of uphill walking, we reached the top.

The views were wonderful and well worth the climb. We had a little picnic at the top and then started the descent back down.

Elendsberg viewpoint. Panoramic mountain views and not another person seen all day.

After 10 kilometers of hiking a dip in the pool seemed like the perfect idea. It looked inviting and too good to miss out on. It was refreshing, but not freezing!

Day 4

The final morning of staying somewhere you really love is always a bit sad. But, it also means that you want to make the most of everything, and that’s exactly what we did.

Before our 10am check-out (we may have been a little bit late!), we managed to fit in a sunrise coffee, I did a 10km run back up to the Elandsberg viewpoint and a final dip in the pool.

Sunrise tea on the balcony.

That sums up our long weekend getaway to the Tankwa Karoo.

If you are thinking of planning a weekend away from Cape Town, I would highly recommend the Tankwa Karoo. A hidden gem. The perfect place to switch off from everything and enjoy the beauty of a special part of Africa.

Enjoy your travels.

Tasha X

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