August 2021

We longed for a hike in the mountains … to catch our breath from this craziness in the world and what better place than in nature!

The nearest mountains to our town are the well-known Cederberg Mountains. However, we thought about taking some back roads to get there … which brought to mind the vast Tankwa Karoo.

But before we got to the Tankwa Karoo, we drove through areas that thrive on winter rain. And by the end of our winter the fields were green and lush. The canola fields with their bright yellow flowers were truly spectacular.

Beautiful yellow canola fields in the Boland
When we’re crossing this farm bridge, it always reminds me of an upcoming road trip

Before we got to the Tankwa Karoo, we had to stop in the quaint town of Ceres. Here we bought food and drinks for the next few days (and filled up the car’s fuel tank and extra jerry can) as we were going off the grid … meaning there would be no shops, no cell phone coverage and only a vehicle here and there (and few people).

What (and where) is the Tankwa Karoo?

The Tankwa Karoo is about four hours’ drive from Cape Town – a vast and arid area. The nearest towns are Ceres, Calvinia, Middelpos and Sutherland. The Tankwa Karoo National Park is also located here, which is home to almost 30 mammals and more than 100 species of birds.

Tankwa Padstal:

But before we drove to our accommodation for the next few days, we stopped at the popular farmstall, the Tankwa Padstal. It is an oasis in the dry Karoo and very popular with 4×4 enthusiasts and motorcyclists.

Tankwa Padstal

We last visited this unique place in 2019 when we walked the South African Tankwa Camino. It was great to be back here again.

Inside Tankwa Padstal – here you can buy anything from sweets, cold drinks, to bicycle tubes and plasters, as well as lovely memorabilia

Since it was now less than an hour’s drive to our accommodation, we ordered a light meal to enjoy while relaxing in this wonderful place.

Our “light” meal

We love the décor inside the bar – so many things that remind us of days gone by.

Do you know how to use this phone?
Beautiful wall decoration
Absolutely true

As the sun was setting, we decided it was better to get back on the road. And then … as we exited the Tankwa Padstal, we saw this … well, it can only be described as a UFO.

A UFO in the Tankwa Karoo …

We found out that the art installation is a community initiative launched by Hein Lange, the owner of the Tankwa Padstal. According to him, the farming industry has been hit hard by the lack of rain in recent years in the region and he thought that the “sight of a UFO” might be more attractive to tourists as a way to earn money.

It’s huge – 10m wide and 7m high

Back on the road, we carefully followed the instructions sent by Nana, owner of Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages. Just a few kilometers from the Tankwa Padstal we turned right, drove another 18km before turning right again.

Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages:

We booked accommodation at Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages (“skoorsteenberg” meaning chimney mountain) – as their brochure says: “This is Africa with a difference”.

Time to turn right towards Skoorsteenberg Farm
On the road towards Skoorsteenberg Farm

I found the signs along the road quite funny – Nana reminds her guests that this road will eventually take them to a place where they can stay.

After opening (and closing) a few farm gates, we arrived at Skoorsteenberg Farm & Cottages.

We got the code from Nana for the combination lock to enter Skoorsteenberg Farm

I’m not sure what we expected to find after driving a long and hard dirt road … but boy, we were truly surprised with our wonderful cottage at Skoorsteenberg.

There are only 2 cottages for guests on the farm (with a small hill between the two cottages). It is a working farm with a few animals and we also saw some olive and date groves.

Our BIG room in Olive cottage
A special touch: Blanket, soft towel and hot-water bottle for guests

We were very pleased with the front porch – a great place to relax while looking out over the plains of the Tankwa Karoo.

The sun had just set when we arrived and we were looking forward to enjoying the spectacular sunset tomorrow.

Our cottage after sunset

It was a wonderful day on the road – first we drove through lush green fields and then the dry Tankwa Karoo. I got myself a gin and tonic and a brandy and coke for Berto … it was time to sit by the fire and enjoy the silence while looking at the bright shining stars.

In our next post we show more of the beauty of Skoorsteenberg Farm, its animals and breathtaking views. See you then.


27 thoughts on “TANKWA KAROO (1)

  1. What an amazing find Corna, the cottage was certainly worth the lengthy drive. I liked the reassuring signs indicating that you were on the right track and nearly there. I’d just be like you, sitting with my G & T on the porch or curled up beside the fire. Looking forward to discovering what you got up to the next day. Marion. PS – Hope you have a good weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Marion. Yes, we were really impressed with this cottage … we did not expect to find such a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere 😉. Ah, and I did enjoy a few more G & T’s the rest of the weekend (on that porch)! May you have a great weekend too. Corna 🌸.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely Leighton … stargazing is one of main reasons why people (like us) travel to the Tankwa Karoo. It’s a magical experience to see all the stars – almost as if the sky is covered with them and you can just reach out and touch a star if you wish! The ‘UFO’ landed (or was planted 😉) literally a day or two before we’ve arrived there … I must admit, we were quite puzzled for a moment … and I certainly believe it will make tourists stop right in their tracks 😁.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this is amazing, Corna! I love the idea of no internet or cell signal, but my significant other would not be able to join me. 😁 The signs to the cottages are so fun. And the general/grocery/hardware store looks like a place I’d love to visit! Looking forward to your next post! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was quite satisfying to be without any internet/reception for a couple of days – your mind literally switches off (and I think that’s sometimes necessary 😊). And yes, the farm stall is definitely a unique place to visit. Thanks Lisa for popping in … see you between the spring flowers and farm animals in our next post.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Perfect place to just relax and unwind, that’s for sure! It was amazing to see these open spaces for a couple of days and then to take a long hike in the magnificent Cederberg mountains 😊.


  3. It seems you are totally off the grid, arriving at a lovely destination truly in the middle of nowhere. The signs are wonderful and fun! I imagine many feel they have taken a wrong turn but the signs coax you along.

    Liked by 1 person

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