CALVINIA → CERES (259km)
August – September 2019
A SOUTH AFRICAN CAMINO OVER 10 DAYS
After 4 months in New Zealand, we arrived back in South Africa in June 2019. We were longing for the open landscapes and dirt roads of South Africa and we knew just where to find this place … in the Tankwa Karoo … and what better way to experience the beauty of this place than by foot!
The Tankwa Camino is coordinated by Danie & Rhina Pieterse and their team. It is normally scheduled three to four times per year and we were just in time (and fortunate to find space) on the Tankwa Camino to start at 23 August in Calvinia and to end on 1 September in Ceres.
At this point, I must just add that we were very lucky to have a photographer on the Tankwa Camino – namely Diana Pieterse, part of the supporting Tankwa Camino team. She has taken stunning photo’s over the 10 days while we were hiking and gave permission that I could use some of her photo’s on our blog. Photo’s taken by her, will be credited where applicable.
The Tankwa Camino (for our overseas visitors – this route is in the Western Cape and starts in Calvinia – about 380km from Cape Town)
What is the Tankwa Camino:
- It is a hike of 259km (some say 256km), but at the end you receive your Tankwa Camino batch and that indicates 259km … so, we’ll take that!
- You walk this distance over 10 days.
- About 90% is on dirt roads, while you only walk on tar (partly) in the beginning and at the end.
- The group normally consist of around 60 hikers (but it might be a bit smaller).
- Your luggage (tent, camping chairs, clothes, etc.) are transported daily to the next camp site by lorries organized by the Tankwa Camino team. We were required to have all of our luggage in 2 x 50 liter boxes per hiker.
- Although there are no shops or café’s on this route (except for two farm stalls, called “padstalle” in Afrikaans), you don’t need to carry any food – you only need to bring some snacks to enjoy during the day while hiking. The Tankwa Camino team provide hot drinks and fresh fruit in the morning and wonderful South African meals around the fire at dinner time. After each hike, you will receive freshly baked South African treats prepared by the Tankwa Camino team.
- No need to carry extra water – a supporting vehicle set up water points every 5km.
- There were severe droughts during the time that we’ve walked. Each hiker was allowed 5 liters of water at the end of each day (to shower and/or washing of clothes) … a challenge, but manageable.
- At the end of each day, you need to set up your own tent and each morning taking it down again.
After we’ve done the Camino Frances (2017) and Portuguese Camino (2018), it was now suddenly difficult to decide what to pack … you go on a long-distance hike, but you are also camping …
Here are just a couple of pictures on how we’ve done with the packing list.
In addition to the 4 x 50 liter plastic boxes (2 each), we’ve also taken our backpacks we’ve used on our Portuguese Camino (to carry daily with essential items such as snacks, sun block, water bottles, medicine bag with enough plasters, etc.).
I must admit, it’s easier to pack when you know you don’t have to carry everything yourself!
It looks a bit like a mad house … but after much consideration, our 50 liter boxes were getting full with camping gear and snacks
20 x Packets of trail mix for the road (and sweets for bed time 😉)
“Medicine” for tired feet – Epsom salt diluted in a bit of warm water can give a bit of comfort to hikers’ feet
No bars on the way for 10 days … well, then I suppose we have to pack our own refreshments … of course to share with our fellow hikers as well 😜
Our clothes were more or less the same as what we’ve taken on our Camino Frances & Camino Portuguese (and a bit extra for the cold Karoo nights)
My Injinji toe socks arrived via courier on the day before we’ve left for the Tankwa Camino – washed and now busy drying in front of the heater
Tomorrow our South African Tankwa Camino experience begin … we can’t wait!