Adventure and Travel

Stars, big skies, and open roads at Tanqua Kuru

Words by Kylie Hanekom | Images by Retroyspective and Max Sullivan

· By Bike Hub Features · 3 comments

I have a strict “never let facts get in the way of a good adventure” policy. And I applied this very liberally, when a last-minute call up to the Tanqua Kuru arrived in my inbox late on a Monday afternoon. My first question to Jeremy was, “can I bring my puppy?”, and once this was confirmed, no further questions were asked.

The Tanqua Kuru takes place at the Tankwa Tented camp, and this was my first trip on the ill-famed R355. Notorious for chewing up tyres and leaving drivers stranded in a cell phone reception-less, but truly spectacular wasteland. Needless to say, Friday afternoon saw us dealing with the inevitable puncture en-route, before arriving at the tented camp shortly after dark, with plenty of time for a glass of wine before dinner.

A picture tells a thousand words. Thanks to the magic of Troy Davies and Max Sullivan, I can tell at least part of the story of this very special experience.

It’s hard to describe the vast, black crispness of the Karoo sky on a clear winter night. Words don’t do it justice. And the Tankwa tented camp makes for a fitting frame for this experience. Think ominous, looming mechanical sculptures, roaring fires and steaming hot tubs. This is not your standard race registration.

Saturday morning saw us head out in frigid conditions. The photos can’t capture the bone-chilling cold. But some devices recorded below zero temperatures in the first hour of the ride. At risk of sounding cheesy, this simply added to the uniqueness of the experience, and forced us to keep pedalling to stay warm.

The water points deserve a special mention. This is an experience, far more than a race (Jeremy arrived with a few cases of beer while I was snacking), and it was a treat to enjoy the sunshine, and thaw out a bit.

It’s not all about the bikes. There is something about the vast space of the Karoo that forces self-reflection and appreciation for the moment. Jeremy orchestrated a trip to the aptly named Sunset Hill, for sundowners, and time for quiet introspection. Nothing makes you feel small and insignificant like realising you are standing on what was once the ocean floor.

The day was brought to a close with mammoth bonfire, under the stars. Fire always reminds me of how frail humans are in the face of the elements, and there is something cathartic about watching flames at work.

Sunday saw us lose ourselves once more in the peculiarly barren beauty of the stone fields that make up the majority of the landscape. Here (much like everyday-life) going off-course is part of the experience, and adds to the adventure.

Once again I found myself leaving an event, profoundly grateful for the experiences cycling has enabled me to have both on and off the bike.


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Jun 2, 2023, 8:14 AM

These pictures are pure joy!! Those corrugations though... should be called Karoo-gations.
Danger Dassie

Jun 7, 2023, 12:23 PM

Touch points for the soul! Prime example of what the bike can do.

Jun 8, 2023, 11:04 AM

WOW !!! :clap:

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