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Tankwa NP and Old Postal Route access


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Planning a bikepacking trip that would include a leg between Sutherland and Wupperthal. Around March/April’21. 

Tried phoning and sending mails to to Tankwa NP without success and not much info on Google. Two questions for those in the know:

SANPARK website advises:No hiking or bicycling trails currently exist within the Park. However, overnight visitors are allowed to make use of marked roads within the immediate vicinity of their booked facility. No walking or bicycling is allowed in the rest of the Park"

Above pretty much spells it out, but if I'm booked somewhere in the park, will they allow me into the park on the bicycle? Plan to enter from Sutherland at southern entrance, then head to Roodewerf office – cruise through to exit at AfricaBurn. (Will overnight somewhere to appease the bicycle use requirement)

Should the Park be a no-no, any suggestions for a nice route towards the Cederburg via Oubergpass?

 

Second. To get from Tankwa NP to Wupperthal I’d like to do the Old Postal Route. I read somewhere that the farmers closed the track due motorcyclist / 4x4’s making a mess of things. Any truth to this? And if so, anyone know how to arrange transit?

 

After above doing the Cederberg circuit and then on to the coast etc.

 

Any other info on the area would be nice too – haven’t visited area since early childhood. Much appreciate any help.

Edited by Old School Rookie
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If you have the legs, head up toward Middelpos, then you can enter the park from the NW. the views from the Gannaga Pass are quite amazing. If you exit the park @Afrikaburn and are able to find the path along the E-W river that heads towards Wupperthal, you'll be in luck - I glanced at the satellite image and it seems there's a road along the river. Have a look at the Strava heatmap and you'll see a few pretty well-ridden tracks. I'm not sure what it'll mean if/when you get there, but better than nothing.

 

I'm not sure what the road conditions are like, but when I was last in Tankwa, it was brutally corrugated. Having no gates, all manner of traffic uses those roads in the park

 

EDIT - I see it's closed. Well, a bit of Stravanalysis was fun. thanks for that.

Edited by lechatnoir
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...I can confirm that Old Postal Route is indeed CLOSED, until further notice - it crosses a few 'private land' sections, and discussions/negotiations are ongoing about how to reopen it to riders (motorcyclists, etc) in the future.

 

Will spell out it is closed to ALL traffic, not just 'noisy' traffic....

 

Negotiations are fairly delicate - so NOT pissing off anyone on a demarcated, CLOSED route would help things, going forward.

Cheers

Chris

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If you have the legs, head up toward Middelpos, then you can enter the park from the NW. the views from the Gannaga Pass are quite amazing. If you exit the park @Afrikaburn and are able to find the path along the E-W river that heads towards Wupperthal, you'll be in luck - I glanced at the satellite image and it seems there's a road along the river. Have a look at the Strava heatmap and you'll see a few pretty well-ridden tracks. I'm not sure what it'll mean if/when you get there, but better than nothing.

 

I'm not sure what the road conditions are like, but when I was last in Tankwa, it was brutally corrugated. Having no gates, all manner of traffic uses those roads in the park

 

EDIT - I see it's closed. Well, a bit of Stravanalysis was fun. thanks for that.

That was my 1st option to Wupperthal via the Tra-Tra river...but the track runs out to the east. Usually there’s a reason for it so I’ll skip that idea. With Postal route out of the game that whole section bummed in any way. Thanks for the advice on Middelpos, might just head that way round, Gannaga sounds worth the effort. Cheers 

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...I can confirm that Old Postal Route is indeed CLOSED, until further notice - it crosses a few 'private land' sections, and discussions/negotiations are ongoing about how to reopen it to riders (motorcyclists, etc) in the future.

 

Will spell out it is closed to ALL traffic, not just 'noisy' traffic....

 

Negotiations are fairly delicate - so NOT pissing off anyone on a demarcated, CLOSED route would help things, going forward.

Cheers

Chris

Thanks for confirming. I GOT it

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I'm not sure what the road conditions are like, but when I was last in Tankwa, it was brutally corrugated. Having no gates, all manner of traffic uses those roads in the park

 

 

Can confirm this, the roads in the area can be "brutally" corrugated. Certainly enough to take the fun out of a long day on the bike so at least be mentally prepared.

 

(Those roads destroyed my affinity for hardtail bikes...)

 

The Old Postal Route looks stunning, I hope sometime in the future access can be restored. Would love to cycle it one day!

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...I can confirm that Old Postal Route is indeed CLOSED, until further notice - it crosses a few 'private land' sections, and discussions/negotiations are ongoing about how to reopen it to riders (motorcyclists, etc) in the future.

 

Will spell out it is closed to ALL traffic, not just 'noisy' traffic....

 

Negotiations are fairly delicate - so NOT pissing off anyone on a demarcated, CLOSED route would help things, going forward.

Cheers

Chris

This sounds like the Old Hunters Road that crosses a few hunting concessions in Botswana past Pandamatenga except there you pedal at your own risk ala Meals on Wheels

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Abuse of the environment along the old postal route and total disrespect for the landowners has resulted in the old postal route being closed.

 

Those owners are pretty unhappy. I would not risk going along that route.

 

 

EDIT:

I see someone already posted.

So it appears its not the real old postal route. Apparently the old postal route is a walking trail.

I will find out.

In the mean time I have changed my car tyres for my next visit to the tyre eater who has already devoured 3 of mine

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I did Sutherland to tented camp end of last year. Then you could go down the R355 to the turnoff to Biedouw valley. Past Enjo and on to Wupperthal. If you PM your number I will whattsapp you the strava route.

FYI. as far as i know that route involved crossing the doring with no bridge. so for the 2/3? months of the year it is in flood it won't work

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Its a real pity about the OPR, you can read up more on 4x4community what specifically lead to its closure.

 

I tried to ride a 2 day circular route including OPW in Sept 2019, the Doring was flooded both on the OPR crossing at Tankwa and back at Uitspankraal, despite my windgat insistence that I "had crossed rivers before", Mr van de Merwe from Welbedacht who owns the first tea plantations from the Biedouw side said there was no way I would get across, he was right. He directed me across his farms to Wuppertal for another equally beautiful circular ride which his son had done on an mtb. The area on the plateau was very wet and it was clear where the motorbikes had again gone through his rooibos to avoid the flooded road. The through route has been closed at the farm Agterfontein where the district road becomes a farm road. These are decent accommodating folk who were left no choice.

 

There's a relatively new crowd at Uitspankraal crossing of the Doring, they rent dirtbikes, sell cold beer in an outside bar, have a big screen TV with motogp showing 24/7 - they have a different outlook to the farmers who have been in the area for generations who grow and sell rooibos tea. 

 

Sadly for people touring on bicycles the route has also been closed.

 

Re the Tra Tra River route from Wuppertal to Tankwa as an alternative, a friend did that a few weeks ago. There is quiet a bit of portage to get through the last part where the track ends. That's where the Uitspankraal dirtbikes gave up. So with it being impassable to dirtbikes hopefully it stays open as an alternative to bicycles.

 

Hope this helps with your planning, the Doring level should be easy now.

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Its a real pity about the OPR, you can read up more on 4x4community what specifically lead to its closure.

 

I tried to ride a 2 day circular route including OPW in Sept 2019, the Doring was flooded both on the OPR crossing at Tankwa and back at Uitspankraal, despite my windgat insistence that I "had crossed rivers before", Mr van de Merwe from Welbedacht who owns the first tea plantations from the Biedouw side said there was no way I would get across, he was right. He directed me across his farms to Wuppertal for another equally beautiful circular ride which his son had done on an mtb. The area on the plateau was very wet and it was clear where the motorbikes had again gone through his rooibos to avoid the flooded road. The through route has been closed at the farm Agterfontein where the district road becomes a farm road. These are decent accommodating folk who were left no choice.

 

There's a relatively new crowd at Uitspankraal crossing of the Doring, they rent dirtbikes, sell cold beer in an outside bar, have a big screen TV with motogp showing 24/7 - they have a different outlook to the farmers who have been in the area for generations who grow and sell rooibos tea.

 

Sadly for people touring on bicycles the route has also been closed.

 

Re the Tra Tra River route from Wuppertal to Tankwa as an alternative, a friend did that a few weeks ago. There is quiet a bit of portage to get through the last part where the track ends. That's where the Uitspankraal dirtbikes gave up. So with it being impassable to dirtbikes hopefully it stays open as an alternative to bicycles.

 

Hope this helps with your planning, the Doring level should be easy now.

Uitspankraal. That's the biedouw crossing. I'm pretty sure the level there now is zero

 

Fkn dirtbikes, worse than CEO on a spaz!

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FYI. as far as i know that route involved crossing the doring with no bridge. so for the 2/3? months of the year it is in flood it won't work

There is a little pontoon you can use. It is pretty well done. I had to use it once. You get your feet wet but it is good fun actually. So it works all year round.

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