Will the new event site impact undisturbed natural areas in the Tankwa Karoo?
No – because, in line with our Leave No Trace ethos, a major consideration that has always informed our choice of event site in the past is to identify and use areas of the Tankwa Karoo that are already degraded, and not in a pristine natural state.
Whilst many areas of the Tankwa Karoo (like the Tankwa Karoo National Park, and some properties that feature habitats unsuitable for grazing of sheep or goats) remain relatively untouched, many areas are in either a seriously degraded state, or are in remediation.
The reason for degradation of areas in the Tankwa Karoo is that once the massed seasonal migration of herbivores such as antelope and zebra dwindled in the 19th century due to hunting and habitat encroachment by sheep and goat farmers, many areas have become degraded. This occurred initially through the decimation of palatable indigenous species of plants by sheep, and subsequently by goats, who are able to graze on species less palatable to sheep (and eat rootstock when leaves were no longer available). As this process has unfolded over a period of 300 years or so, so some areas of the Tankwa have become degraded to the extent that surface topsoil has been broken down and blown away by strong winds, or swept away by episodic flooding. These areas, which feature sheets of exposed bedrock, are where an event of our nature can be held.
As far as our new event site is concerned, the new location of Tankwa Town will be on a portion of the property identified as featuring the appropriate soil substrate, and the least number of flora and fauna species that could be disturbed or impacted.
To quote Dr Phil Desmet: “On a scale of 1 to 10, this property is 2 clicks beyond ecologically damaged.”, ie: the area planned for our event site is severely degraded.
An exciting aspect of our new site is the potential for our community and operational team to develop a plan to restore and regenerate degraded areas of the property. This would be a multi-year plan, and is in line with the strategic goal of giving our environmental projects a giant heave ho. It will involve consulting experts in geology, botany, ecology and biodiversity to arrive at a plan that would see indigenous and appropriate plant species reintroduced and established, in order to begin to restore the balance of flora and fauna particular to the location.