We all have these photos … throwback photos!

It’s described as ‘nostalgia-inducing pictures … from a different era of your life”.

Every Thursday we will throw a photo of ‘way back when’ on our blog. Why on a Thursday? Because it’s just a day away from the weekend … and we love weekends!

You are welcome to join in or just enjoy the photos (#TB Thursday).

June 2017 – Tankwa Karoo (Western Cape Province, South Africa)

We thought it was time to move away from the beautiful sea views in our TB Thursday posts for a moment and take you on a road trip to one of the most arid regions in South Africa, the Tankwa Karoo (which of course is also beautiful in its own distinctive way).

The word “Tankwa” is Khoisan for “land of thirst”. The Tankwa Karoo National Park is in this region (about 4 hours’ drive from Cape Town). Some of the antelope species that can be found here are Gemsbok, Springbok, Red Hartebeest and Cape Mountain Zebra. We were lucky to see a large herd of Gemsbok as we entered the Tankwa Karoo National Park.

Herd of Gemsbok

Tankwa Padstal (Farm stall):

There is always this one place we never drive past when we are in the Tankwa Karoo – the Tankwa Padstal (translates to Farm Stall). This farm stand/eatery/shop sells anything from sweets, soft drinks, matches, bug spray, crafts and even air time. On this day we stopped here to enjoy lunch.

Inside the Tankwa Padstal

Gannaga Pass:

To reach our overnight accommodation, we had to drive up the Gannaga Pass – a magnificent dirt road with 45 bends, corners and curves (including 4 extremely sharp hairpins). And the reward: A breathtaking view over the endless plains of the Tankwa Karoo.

View from the top of Gannaga Pass

Gannaga Lodge:

Our accommodation, Gannaga Lodge is situated on 20 hectares of its own land within the Tankwa National Park. We stayed in the Old Farmhouse which consists of 5 bedrooms, each with an en-suite bathroom.

Old Farm House

View from the Old Farm House

There is a restaurant and bar, as well as a swimming pool for those hot summer months. We enjoyed a few drinks in the bar and had a lovely dinner in their restaurant.

We left early the next morning, on our way to Sutherland (a world-famous astronomical center in South Africa). Although it is a very dry area, it rained the week before we arrived and was great to see some small ponds of water along the road.

Water is always a welcome sight in the Tankwa Karoo


Before reaching Sutherland, we drove through the small village of Middelpos. Here we found a shop, gas station, few people and a beautiful peacock.

The shop (petrol station is on the right)

Colourful peacock


Now it was time to drive to Sutherland. We will share some throwback photos from this day in our next TB Thursday post.

The road to Sutherland


35 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday #19

    1. Jy’s reg Aletta, die Karoo met sy eindelose vlaktes is pragtig. Ek dink die stilte is een van die dinge wat ons so aantrek na die Tankwa Karoo. ‘n Mens het nie noodwendig ‘n 4×4 voertuig nodig nie, maar dis altyd goed om ‘n ekstra band (of twee) saam te ry … partykeer is hierdie pad met sy klein klippies genadeloos!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A desert is so inviting and uniquely beautiful; this area reminds me a lot of Utah. The farm stand looks so interesting and charming, I can see why you always stop in. And the inn looks perfect too. I enjoy reading about your travels around SA; thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have also heard from other bloggers that the Karoo looks like Utah – I think especially semi-desert areas around the world look very similar. You’re right, I love the farm stall – we never walk out empty handed 🙂. Thank you very much again for stopping by Tricia – it’s nice for us to introduce you to our travels across South Africa.

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    1. Just love-love that farm stall! There are so many interesting stuff to buy (and I love their decor)! To stop somewhere along the road in the Karoo and get out of your vehicle and just be quiet for a few minutes, that’s one of the best experiences in a desert (or semi-desert) – to hear absolutely nothing … it’s just wow!


  2. What a wonderful collection of beautiful photos, Corna 🙂 deserts in all forms have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. It’s a terrain where life is rare and existence is an endless battle, yet beauty resides in every corner and these harsh environments serve as a perfect reminder of just how precious life is.

    A combination of graceful curves, raw mountain beauty and scope of vision that is rarely repeated are a few reasons why I love exploring and driving through mountain passes. We are fortunate to have a good few here in Ireland, and I always look forward to visiting them. Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Thank you for your lovely thoughts Aiva. We have a great appreciation for desert-like areas. There is a type of silence that you just don’t get anywhere else 🙂. And to see how animals and plants survive in this barren world is truly wonderful. Yes, I can imagine that there must be quite a few mountain passes in Ireland – only much greener than the ones here in the Tankwa Karoo I presume!

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    1. That lodge dates back to the late 1800s and it’s an incredibly beautiful place (in the middle of nowhere 😉). I’m so glad you’re traveling with us Jessica – reading other blogs is a great way to see another part of the world you wouldn’t otherwise see, right?


  3. Ah, what a great national park! I think I’ve told you that our mission is to travel to all the US national parks, but we would love to see Tankwa Karoo in person. The surroundings are also charming – loved your accommodations – but the Tankwa Padstal looks like so much fun!

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    1. To me, it it’s always amazing to see how the animals survive in this arid region! Yes, I remember you mentioned you wanted to visit all the parks in the USA (which must be a lot)! We have (only) 21 of which we have probably only visited half so far … maybe I should also make it our mission to visit them all! And you’re right, that’s exactly what the Tankwa Padstal is – a whole lot of fun!

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  4. Amazing landscapes Corna, truly cinematic in parts! Especially the views from atop Gannaga Pass.
    A night at the Old Farmhouse looks to be incredibly atmospheric, what a vista. I also love the closing shot, there’s nothing quite like a long, dusty road with not a single person or vehicle to be seen between the lens and the horizon. Phil is right, you always present SA beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks Leighton – you and Phil make my day! The challenges we face here in South Africa do not make the beauty disappear and we cherish it being part of this country. You know how it is – you just can’t capture the immensity of a place in a few photos – you have to see it for yourself to experience its greatness. And yes … that last photo is one of our favourite photos of all time – it just captures the real Tankwa Karoo!

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    1. Seeing rain (or any water) in the Tankwa Karoo is an absolute joy! We have a lot of respect for the farmers here – they suffer a lot, but push through every summer and hope the next winter will be better. But, despite how dry it can be here, it remains an incredibly beautiful part of our country.

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    1. Oh, to travel … we love it! Even if it’s only in our own area! That photo of Middelpos is one of my favourites – there’s just something about simplicity about it that I really like!


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