Karoo air, stars, amplitude

Black Friday is behind you. Ahead, the madness of the end-of-year season. You’re tired, frazzled and fed up with work pressures, ultimatums and deadlines. All you want is silence and peace. So … I give you a silence so Zen it’s unnerving: Elandsberg Wilderness Cottages.

Only five of them, they sit at a discreet distance from one another at the top-centre edge of Tankwa Karoo National Park. From your cottage the horizon ends in the heights of an indigo-blue Roggeveld Plateau. The views to there are stupendous.

This is flat, stony, dessicated territory (only fleshy Karoo Succulent plants survive) but there is a dinky sky-blue pool in front of each cottage. This is where you’ll be in the 40-degree summers. Winters are lovely here (but water too frigid for skinny dips).


Things to do? Um, the point here is Chillax. How NOT to do anything. Absorb the unnerving silence. Bury your nose in a book. Sip some Sauvignon Blanc. Stare at the views. Swim. If, after this, your feet are a tad itchy, there are two passes that are great fun to drive (in your 4×4). Ouberg at one end, Gannaga at the other.

From here you can REALLY see to the end of the world.



Lovely natural textures of copper, wood, rock and unbaked clay-and-straw bricks

The name Tankwa? A river of the same name runs through the park but no-one’s too sure of its origin. Likely a Khoisan (or Khoekhoen) term, thought to translate as “turbid water”, but other possibilities relate to a dry and “thirsty” land.