Tankwa-Karoo National Park, Northern Cape
The 80 000 hectare Tankwa Karoo National Park, proclaimed in 1986 and still in a development stage, is at present in a veld recovery phase and it will be some time before the original vegetation re-establishes itself. Even so, after the occasional shower, the park erupts into a dazzling display of flowering succulents.
With an average rainfall of 80mm a year, even a scant shower is reason for celebration. Only two Southern African regions have been bestowed the honour of designation as Biodiversity Hotspots by Conservation International. One is the Cape Floral Kingdom, and the other the Succulent Karoo. For those whose image of the south-western Karoo is a shimmering wasteland to be endured as briefly as possible en route to Cape Town or Johannesburg, this may come as a surprise.
Though the remarkable endemism and diversity of the Succulent Karoo flora (at its most spectacular from August to October) is its most renowned aspect, the Karoo as a whole naturally has a great deal to offer the birder. The Park protects one of the most starkly beautiful tracts of the Tankwa Karoo and is well worth visiting for several reasons, among them its koppie-studded, moon-like landscape, diversity of succulent plants, fine Karoo birding and, perhaps most notably for hardened birders, above-average chance of finding the enigmatic Burchell’s Courser.
Taking a night drive don't be surprised to find the endangered aardvark which occurs in a dense population throughout the park. The park is criss-crossed by a number of vehicle tracks, most of which are easily negotiable by two-wheel-drive. There are also two 4x4 tracks available to compliment the magnificent views throughout Tankwa Karoo. The Tankwa-Karoo National Park’s management currently welcomes visitors, on the understanding that no modern facilities are provided, except for the few prehistoric camping facilities, and that prior permission is obtained from Park Management at: Telephone +27 (0)27 341-2389.
For an in depth review of the Karoo National Park see our article at "Karoo National Park - A little piece of Heaven".
Tankwa-Karoo National Park