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  1. #1
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    Default Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park review

    This trip was supposed to happen in 2020... But like many things in 2020 it got, "interrupted"

    So bear with me on this, and allow me to make one trip report of what eventually worked out to be two trips.

    I planned it as a trip to explore the parks that we have not been to yet, the "newer" parks, the lesser known parks for us here on the North side of the wors gordyn.

    The planned itinerary was as follows:

    Leave Rustenburg on the 18th of March and sleep over at Sunset Chalets in Colesberg.
    Karoo National Park - 4 nights
    Tankwa National Park - 3 nights
    1 Night sleep over at Prince Albert
    Garden Route National Park - 4 nights
    Camdeboo National Park - 2 nights

    Then a beeline home from Graaff-Reinet

    We just got our new trailer, and I was itching to camp.

    We left just after 7 on the 18th of March 2020...
    Booked into the overnighter in Colesberg, and started hearing the rumors of a "shutdown" - we got worried but with all the bookings and leave taken, we pressed on the next day.

    Karoo NP

    We arrived to a friendly and rather sparsely populated Karoo NP campsite. All Covid measures already in place and dutifully enforced by the camp staff, and we happily obliged, and complied.
    I had no doubt that being a Thursday the population of the camp would steadily increase towards the weekend, and so it did. With it being full the Saturday night.

    Not once did we feel crowded or too close to a fellow camper and the staff assisted nicely with keeping the ablution's limits in place.

    I really loved this place... The space, the emptiness, and the lack of crowds.... I will go back any time to this park.
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    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/13 at 02:59 PM.
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    That Sunday, we were informed by the park staff that we need to leave the park at the latest the Tuesday. The park was closing, by instruction from the government.

    Tuesday morning, we packed up and we headed home - one trip.

    We pulled into my driveway at 18h10

    All the booking were moved forwards, and as SANPARKS could only move it by a maximum of 11 months, we had no choice but to move it to February 2021...

    This unfortunately would be telling, as it would mean being in these parks at their hottest times. But at that time. we had no other choice.

    Tankwa NP to follow:
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/13 at 03:06 PM.
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    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  5. #3
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    Default Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park review

    On the 31st of January we were packed and ready to complete our trip.

    Just after 7am we left home, and filled up just outside Rustenburg.
    Last checks of trailer and hooks, and off we go.

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    Our first stop over would be at Britstown, where we were booked in at Elsa'[email protected] guesthouse.
    We pre ordered a braaipack for dinner and padkos for the next day. I have never seen such generosity and hospitality.
    We recieved chops, wors, braai broodjies, potato salad and a green salad. Wood, blitz and ice. The next morning she made us pad koffie, and handed us our padkos, that consisted of frikkedelle, salad, truksvye, jelly and custard, cheese and jam sandwiches, cheese and tomato sandwiches, cooldrinks and water.

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    Our trip to Tankwa from Britstown was uneventful and the country got bigger, with blue skies and big scenes...

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    Soon we stopped at the turnoff to Middelpos, and it was the start of the gravel roads.

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    The road to Middelpos was a stunning gravel road, with almost zero corrugations.
    Just after Middelpos the road splits, and you enter the park, here we got our first taste of the conditions of the roads inside the park...
    We stopped at the top of the Gannaga Pass, a truly stunning pass.

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    About an hour and a half later we were at our campsite, at Perdekloof, we were issued n3, but at Christoff's recomendations we asked for no2, and I am so happy for this. As campsite 3 and 4 where tiny with zero shade.

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    We set up camp, made friends with the locals and prepared dinner - it was 38 deg celcius at 16h00

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    The next morning we went on a drive and saw Gemsbok, Springbok, Baboons, some mountain Zebra.. There are many Gemsbok in this park, but for me this park is not about the game, its about the isolation. We were booked in for 3 nights and two of those nights we were the only non staff members in the whole park.

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    We came back and did a ribbetjie, lit a fire and just looked t the stars - it was 42 deg at 14h00

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    The next day, we went 4x4ing. We took a trip to the dam, and followed the road (with no evidence of recent traffic) to the Leeuberg 4x4 route.
    I made fun at the start of the trail (having driven a few KNP 4x4 trails) and said we wont be long, and soon I can have a cold one... Well I was wrong.. What an epic little trail with steep (Very) climbs, narrow ridges and some technical rock driving. I thoughroly enjoyed it.

    Edit: Although in the back of my mind was the fact that there is no comms, if something should go wrong....

    It was 45 deg Celcius.....

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    The next day we packed up early so as to miss the heat and got going at 7am

    The road out of the park, towards Sutherland was probably the worst gravel road I have ever driven and it was 70km from the camp to the tar....
    I had toothache afterwards

    And I lost a hubcap on the trailer

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    Tankwa - is not for sissies
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/16 at 05:00 AM.
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  7. #4
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Iíll post the Garden route part soon..
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  9. #5
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Andrew - Where was this road?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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  11. #6
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    Default Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park review

    After leaving Tankwa we spent a night in Prince Albert, and this short visit to this town has convinced me that I shall be very happy to retire in this wonderful little town... I have already since getting home started enquiring on buying some property there.

    We spent the night at Elfen House and this place was everything we wanted it to be, and included a little pool to wash the desert dust off.

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    We left Prince Albert with a piece of my heart remaining, travelled to Stormsriviermond via Meiringspoort, Oudtshoorn, George and Knysna. Had lunch in Sedgefield, and then booked in at 16h30 into one of the family cottages inside the park.

    Our cottage was no10 and had a spectacular sea view.

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    The following day we took another walk on some of the other routes, but it is much of the same thing.
    I saw a glimpse of what I thought was a Lourie, but no evidence unfortunately.

    We also took a drive over some passes, Prince Alfred, Montague, and the seven passes route from George to Knysna. Swartberg will have to wait for next time, and should probably be a trip on it's own.

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    This Park has almost more to offer outside it's fences than in it.

    But that coast!!! Oh my word!!! It is absolutely fantastic.

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    We also made a friend with a Seagull (Kelp gull?) and his partner. They made turns to come and chat with us on our balcony every morning.
    The local Dassie family also came to greet.

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    This time just relaxing next to the sea was over in a blink, and we were on our way to Camdeboo...
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/15 at 01:00 PM.
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  13. #7
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Al wat ek kan se is wow

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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    Karoo NP

    We arrived to a friendly and rather sparsely populated Karoo NP campsite. All Covid measures already in place and dutifully enforced by the camp staff, and we happily obliged, and complied.
    I had no doubt that being a Thursday the population of the camp would steadily increase towards the weekend, and so it did. With it being full the Saturday night.

    Not once did we feel crowded or too close to a fellow camper and the staff assisted nicely with keeping the ablution's limits in place.

    I really loved this place... The space, the emptiness, and the lack of crowds.... I will go back any time to this park.
    We're going in March. Was also postponed from last year, and really looking forward to it as we've never been.

    Thank you for the report, you don't see too much on the Karoo NP. How were the 4x4 routes?
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Andrew - Where was this road?
    Karoo NP.
    If you make a noise or need music in the bush or on the beach, youíre missing the point.

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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Sheldon93 View Post
    We're going in March. Was also postponed from last year, and really looking forward to it as we've never been.

    Thank you for the report, you don't see too much on the Karoo NP. How were the 4x4 routes?

    When we were there pienaars pass was closed, due to it being washed away (their excuse ), but the others can be done at your leisure. We did a day of them as they all sort of weave into each other, so we mapped a route on the GPS and just explored most of the routes, we did approximately 100km of trails in that day and it took us about 5 hours.

    None of the trails were more than a 2 or a 2+ maybe.
    Apparently the pass can be hectic when its open.
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Andrew - Where was this road?
    Akkedis Pas in Karoo NP
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Thank You!

    I was struck by what you wrote about Prince Albert - what did you like about the town?

    ďAfrica changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same." - Ernest Hemingway

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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Dold View Post
    Thank You!

    I was struck by what you wrote about Prince Albert - what did you like about the town?
    It was a feeling that we (well... I) got when I drove into the town. And this feeling grew as we explored around and when we inteacted with the locals.

    The town is spotlessly clean, there is no rubbish lying around.
    Everyone of the locals seemed content, and each one seemed to have a roll to play in the town's existence.
    There were no what I call "stand-arounds" lurking about...
    The town had a community cinema.
    The locals walked to the shops, and bought their daily requirements at the little specialised shops that were extremely busy.

    One local farmer who had just dropped off some meat at the butcher, told me that they will only thrive if they work together.


    And.... It is near everything I like
    The sea
    The mountains
    The Karoo
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/15 at 01:22 PM.
    _______________________________________
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    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Some facts of the trip:

    I did 3980km
    Of this +/- 600km was gravel
    I towed 3698km

    The trailer weighed 1463kg - hooked up
    The bakkie weighed 2655kg - loaded and hooked up. Ball weight was 138kg
    Total rig weight was 4118kg

    My consumption was an indicated 13.9l/100km my tank to tank worked out to 13.6l/100km (My larger tyres mess up my trip computer)

    Tyre pressures on tar:
    Trailer - 3.0bar
    Rear - 2.8bar
    Front - 2.4 bar

    When on gravel, I deflated to:
    Trailer - 2.5bar
    Rear - 2.4 bar
    Front - 1.9 bar

    On the road out of Tankwa, I deflated to:
    Trailer - 2.2 bar
    Rear - 2.1 bar
    Front - 1.6 bar

    I took 250l of water with
    I filled 2 Jerry can at Willowston, after refuelling just before heading into Tankwa - I used one Jerry, as a precaution to get to Prince Albert, but I would have probably made it without using it
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgehog View Post
    Swartberg will have to wait for next time, and should probably be a trip on it's own.
    When you do, please take the time to visit Gamkaskloof (Die Hel). All but 1 property there are now owned , restored and run by Cape Nature. The cottages are nearly as unique as the breathtaking scenery.
    Ettienne de Kock

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  28. #16
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    The final part, the Camdeboo NP will be posted today
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  30. #17
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Thanks for this Andrew. Beautiful environment.
    Estee = S T = Sean Towlson

    Total 4x4 Novice with no experience whats-so-ever

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  32. #18
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    Default Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park review

    The third part of this three part trip, almost did not happen. As I thought it too hot to camp, but we persevered and I am happy we did.

    We left Stormsriver and headed east on the N2, got onto the R63 towards Joubertina, got onto the N9 (That now uses part of the old Prince Alfred pass and headed towards Graaff-Reinet. The temperature gage kept rising, and when we entered the town the numbers were 39deg. This was about 14h30, and I had to pitch camp.

    I pitched camp, and had me some beer... it was very hot work.
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    That night we slept badly, as it never cooled down as it did in the Tankwa, only at about 3am it was sufficiently cool for me to sleep..

    We woke to a lovely clear sky and made breakfast. The Camp Sites are stunning!!! really very well maintained and set up. They polish the brass taps!!! Every day!

    Then we hit the road to explore, we saw some nice game:
    Swart wildebeest
    Buffalo
    Jackals
    Kormarant
    Secretary bird
    Eland
    Gemsbok
    Blesbok
    Rooihartebeest
    and Monkeys more on these buggers later...
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    After the game drive we drove out of the park, headed back towards town, and entered the park again on the other side of the main road, we travelled up Camdeboo pass (very nice) stopped at the top, and clambered up the trail to the viewing point to see the valley of desolation.

    The views are stunning... loved it.

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    This park is quite small and we did what we needed to do to see what we wanted to see, especially in the 42 deg heat.
    We headed back to camp for lunch. And here things turned sour. We found our camp over run by monkeys. They were everywhere. On, under, and around our trailer. We kept it well closed, fortunately, but there was monkey crap all over everything.

    They scattered, but just to out of reach beyond and into the thorn bushes.. Chatting excitedly.

    We cleaned up and I started lunch. As I gave my wife her plate, a monkey bounded into camp, jumped onto her, and grabbed the food from her hands. She got a big fright..

    No matter what we tried, we could not get the monkeys away. They kept just running out of reach, and then the others would come and look for stuff when you are chasing their mates. It was chaos, and my wife was scared...

    So we closed everything and went and had dinner in town. With the heat burning down, we enjoyed a pleasant evening at Pioneers retuarant. Nice place it was.
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    We went to camp after dinner, hoping the monkeys have left. Luckily they had. So we lit a fire and just spent our evening under the starry sky.
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    Next morning, we packed up, and headed home. Our amazing trip at an end.

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    Thanks to SANPARKS staff at each camp, for being friendly, efficient and helpful!
    Our parks are awesome!!!
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/16 at 03:32 PM.
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  34. #19
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    We really enjoyed this trip, and each park has its identity and character.

    The Tankwa is in my mind my favourite, but that is me. My wife found it boring, I found it stunning and a true test to you and your rig. I will return but alone. I have to experience this place on my own...

    My wife's favourite was Stormsriver, I liked it but it was not my favourite. If not for the sea, I would have found it almost claustrophobic.

    Camdeboo, has stunning campsites and the little park has much to offer. But I would not spend more than 2 nights here. And because of those monkeys, it will not see me again.

    The most balanced park was Karoo NP.. Awesome, awesome place
    Last edited by Hedgehog; 2021/02/16 at 03:28 PM.
    _______________________________________
    Andrew van Staden
    With a mild case of "Camping Personality Disorder" or CPD

    I drive a five cylinder bakkie and tow an army inspired van.

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  36. #20
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    Default Re: Karoo NP, Tankwa NP, Garden Route NP, and Camdeboo NP - Trip report and park revi

    Nice report.... canít wait for ours now.... thanks Andrew

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