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It is an attractive little Karoo town, its’ streets lined with quaint historical homes and buildings and a War Memorial right in the centre of town. Elands River Poort, a mountain pass located just 24 km from Tarkastad, is where the Battle of Elands River (1901) was fought during the Second Boer War. The grave of Lt. Sheridan, cousin of Winston Churchill, who was killed in the Battle of Elands River can be found here is Tarkastad.
The real beauty of Tarkastad lies on the surrounding hills and farms, on one of them you will find some fascinating San Rock art and on another excellent trout fishing opportunities. Just outside the town rests two distinct flat-topped hills, aptly named Martha and Mary, described by some as two women sitting on the front “stoep”. The Winterberg mountains too are especially pretty when the first snows fall and give them a “Victorian-Swiss” appeal.
The Winterberg Mountains offer more than just beautiful scenery however, it also beckons the enthusiastic outdoor adventures with hiking trails such as the Toorberg, a 3-day, difficult, 45 km circular hiking trail which requires you bring your tent and the well-known Winterberg Trails.
Tarkastad accommodation includes the well-known Blanco Guest Farm as well as other Guest Houses, self-catering apartments, B&B’s and camping facilities.
Things to do and see
- Tsolwana Nature Reserve
- Bushman Hiking Trail
- Tsolwana Hiking Trail
- Commando Drift MTB Route
- Grootvlei Farm Rock Art
- Trout Fishing
- Tarkastad War Memorial
- Ruth Lock Shell Art Gallery, 57 km
Tartastad receives approximately 335 mm of rain annually with most rainfall occurring during the Summer months.
Summer months, November to March will have average temperatures of between 12˚C and 28˚C.
Winter months, May to August will have average temperatures of between 1˚C and 18˚C.
The first farmers settled here in 1795, hence the existence of old watermills, Inns and both a Dutch Reformed and Presbyterian Church. Tarkastad was established in 1862 as a church centre and became a municipality in 1864.
The name Tarkastad is believed to come from the Khoi-Khoi word Traka (meaning women) or the Celtic word Tarka (meaning otter) and the Afrikaans word Stad (meaning city).
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