Geocaching around Tankwa Karoo NP in S. Africa

*Somewhere for the weekend* ~ Tankwa Karoo, South Africa.

Tankwa Karoo is a National Park close to the borders of the Northern and Western Capes of South Africa. It’s a vast arid area and not somewhere you’d imagine Geocaches to be hiding away, but the dusty desert plains do in fact hold a few of our friendly tupperware containers which you just might like to hunt out for yourself for a completely different Geocaching experience…

Why Tanka Karoo?

What drew me to Tankwa Karoo? Well, I used to be a bit of a festival junky and I still like to go when I can but as I get older I’m more interested in new experiences and so regular festivals don’t give me the same buzz that they used to.

Now when I’m looking there’s a few extra boxes that need to be ticked. Firstly location, it needs to be somewhere I’ve not been before, somewhere crazy or exotic, and secondly it needs to give me a new experience. It’s great going back to the same festivals year on year but it’s also fun trying something or somewhere new for the weekend… 🙂

Why am I babbling on about all this you’re wondering…well I was thinking that it might be quite nice if I could combine two of my favourite past times (Geocaching and festivals) for the ultimate adventurous experience and it turns out that in Tankwa Karoo you can… 🙂

AfrikaBurn…

If you’ve ever heard of the very popular Burning Man festival in the Black Rock desert in America then you may also have heard of AfrikaBurn. It’s a similar festival based in Tankwa Karoo held for a week in late April combining art, culture, costume, music, mutant cars and a whole host of other hedonistic fun happenings which are sure to amaze and enchant you.

AfrikaBurn 2011

“Afrikaburn 2011 #117” CC 2012 Jolene Bertoldi

Like the Burning Man festival attendees are encouraged to participate in the festival spirit either by dressing up or by bringing something to make people smile, or singing, or a multitude of other things! If you like the sound of all that you can read more about AfrikaBurn’s ‘DO-ocracry’ ethos here. 🙂

"AfrikaBurns" CC 2012 Jolene Bertoldi

“AfrikaBurns” CC 2012 Jolene Bertoldi

But what most of you want to know is, where are the Geocaches, so here goes!

Geocaches…

In the nearby vicinity there are four main caches…the first is a small cache tucked away under lock and key…

Tankwa – GC11H5J by Littleclan

Difficulty 1 – Terrain 3.5

Cache Type: Traditional

Cache Location: Inside the Tankwa Karoo National Park

The geocache is located in the main office of Tankwa Karoo’s National Park so you have to go in and ask for it! It must be quite nice for the people who work there to meet Geocacher’s when they’re passing through, and who knows what tips they might be able to give you about the area too. Definitely worth a visit, especially as it’s right in the centre of the park! 🙂

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The second is East of the park along a dirt trail…

Ouberg Pass Two – GC11M96 by Tricky Vicky and Mickey 

Difficulty 1 – Terrain 1

Cache Type: Traditional

Cache Location: East of the Tankwa Karoo National Park

The cache page says a normal sedan car can make it as long as it has high clearance…just be careful as it’s not an ideal place to get stuck, but if you do the views are idyllic and you’d soon be making friends with the local acquaintances! On the cache page there are quite a few photo’s of the klipspringers that frequent the area but you might also spot Karoo korhaan’s or some of the little bat eared foxes which might be there to keep you company as you sign the log. 🙂

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The third stop is at a small waterfall not too far away from the previous cache…

Tankwa Waterfalls – GC13MH3 by Ducky and Mucky

Difficulty 1 – Terrain 1.5

Cache Type: Traditional

Cache Location: South East of the Tankwa Karoo National Park

Occasionally it’s so dry out in the desert that there isn’t much water to fall, it all depends on the recent rainfall, but it’s still a nice spot. Watch out for the pesky baboons as you go to retrieve the geocache though as it sounds like a lot of other geocacher’s have had some fun and games with them! 🙂

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The fourth geocache is the one closest to the location of AfrikaBurn, in fact a few of people have logged it whilst going to and from the festival and their logs are worth a read if you’re intrigued about the festival…

Stonehenge Karoo – GC1Y9V6 by dinada2

Difficulty 3 – Terrain 4

Cache Type: Traditional

Cache Location: South West of the Tankwa Karoo National Park

Recently the road to this cache has been improved somewhat but always heed the warnings on the cache page when it stays stick to the main routes. The road is a notorious tyre shredder…don’t become a victim! 😉

When to go…

The flora and fauna are at their best between August and October but AfrikaBurn next year is held between 27th April and 3rd May, decisions decisions, I suppose it depends on what else you want to see whilst you’re there. Tankwa Karoo is a 40 minute drive from Cape Town where there’s plenty to explore, Table Mountain for one thing!

And if you’re keen to know more about the AfrikaBurn/Burning Man type of festival but can’t get over to Africa or America, don’t be disheartened there may be one near you…check out the regional Burning Man festivals link on wikipedia to find out more. 

"letgo" CC 2009 versionz

“letgo” CC 2009 versionz

Whilst you’re visiting why not head over to nearby Sutherland and check out the SALT (Southern African Large Telescope) for a truly magical experience. Just imagine checking out the stars through one of the largest telescopes in the world with hardly any light pollution nearby…in fact there are so many other possibilities on this trip that you should have a look at SouthAfrica.net for more ideas! It might be a little too much to pack in for the weekend but it’s definitely food for thought…

"AfrikaBurn 2011" CC 2011 Jolene Bertoldi

“AfrikaBurn 2011” CC 2011 Jolene Bertoldi

So, my question to you is what could be more fun than attending a creative and unusual festival followed by an awe-inspiring road trip picking Geocaches up along the way…?! I’m not sure, but if you’ve got any great ideas I’d love to hear from you!

Until next week, happy caching everyone! 🙂

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