Route: Tankwa Crossing (South Africa)

Submitted by Hanno Langenhoven on Tue, 01/26/2021 - 05:06am
South Africa
207.3 km
Vertical Gain
869 m

The Tankwa Crossing is a desert crossing in South Africa in the provinces of the Northern and Western Cape. It runs the length of the longest uninterrupted gravel road between two towns, Calvinia and Ceres. The track attached starts at the Northern point of the R355, Ceres Karoo Rd, and ends at its Southern point. The route starts where the tar road stops and the gravel road starts just after you turned off the R27 towards Ceres on the R355. It ends where the R355 gravel stops and the R46 starts outside of Ceres. The route can be run from South to North as well but that offers different challenges and should be seen as a different FKT on the same course.

With the exception of approximately 500m of tar approximately 2km from the Southern point of the route, the route is completely gravel. The route follow the R355 without any deviation or turns anywhere making navigation very easy. The biggest challenge of the route is the conditions. During winter it can drop as low as -20 degrees Centigrade and during the summer months of January and February it can reach a high of 50 plus degrees Centigrade.

The Tankwa Karoo is one of the most remote and lightly populated areas in South Africa and offers a stark and beautiful experience. The Tankwa Karoo boasts the third highest occurrence of endemic bird species in the world. The Tankwa Karoo also has a rich and fascinating geological history.

Do not tackle this route without the necessary support.  The heat can kill you and the cold can kill you and it is impossible to carry enough water from the start. There is very little in the way of shade, very few homesteads to ask for help and cellphone signal is non-existent. However, for all its challenges and with the right planning this one of the must do and experience runs and FKTs in South Africa.


I'll be attempting to set a female FKT on 26 June 2021. Excited and scared but ready for the challenge! For me it's as much an eating contest as it is about the long road to cover🥳🤞Hou bene hou! Whoop whoop!

I’ll be attempting the fkt with my friends on 26/06/2021

I’m attempting to set a FKT of the Tankwa crossing, running the route north to south 26 June 2021. 60% mental and the rest is in your head.. 

Running with a bunch of friends all aiming to reach the 200km #malbok mark and then push on for the final 8km’s

Well done on all your attempts.