Buddhist meditation and mindfulness
Tara Rokpa Centre
Tara Ropka Centre, a Buddhist retreat in the Groot Marico, offers an unpolluted environment in which you can explore the psychologies of the mind, the benefits of meditation, and the nobleness of compassion and environmental care. Grow to understand and apply the wisdom of ancient Eastern concepts from world-renowned teachers.
Entrance - Tara Rokpa Centre
© Tara Rokpa Centre
Did you know?
There are Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centres in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Randburg, Grahamstown and Harare in Zimbabwe.
Although the Tara Ropka Centre in the Groot Marico district in the North West province is essentially a Buddhist retreat, the venue is a multipurpose facility for emotional, spiritual, social and environmental healing. Positioned on 280ha of wooded valley with rolling hills and streams, the unpolluted air and spectacular night skies are the perfect environment for meditation and focusing the mind.
This Buddhist retreat was set up under the guidance of a meditation master of the Tibetan Karma Kagyu School, Akong Tulku Rinpoche, who has established a number of similar centres in Africa and abroad. A well-known local spiritual teacher, Rob Nairn, runs a number of annual retreats here.
The activities at this North West retreat are based on 4 principles or 'wings': healing modalities, which involves the hosting of therapy events; spiritual development under which dharma and meditation retreats are run and led by local and international teachers; environmental care, with emphasis on a permaculture project growing organic food and medicinal plants; and humanitarian aid and development, with support to the local community through training, employment and the running of a crèche.
Tara Rokpa therapy is a unique system of psychotherapy or healing for the mind, based on a fusion of ancient Eastern wisdom with modern psychotherapy. Teachers at the centre are adept at translating ancient Eastern concepts into terms other people can understand and apply. The retreat’s website details programmes that focus on maturing the mind, encourage compassion and facilitate mindfulness.
When not in use for specific courses, individual travellers, families and groups are welcome to use Tara Rokpa as an accommodation base. The centre accommodates 60 people in a variety of old farmhouses, cottages and camping sites. The terrain is well suited to walks, mountain biking, meditating or simply absorbing the restfulness of the refuge.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
How to get here
The Tara Rokpa Centre is in Kuilfontein in the Groot Marico district of the North West Province. It is 250km from Johannesburg. To reach the centre from Johannesburg, drive through Magaliesburg, Derby and Koster. In Koster, turn right at the Swartruggens sign. From then there are 2 options; to use a gravel or tar road with toll gate.
Gravel road: You will find the gravel road a kilometre north of Koster to the left, signed to Rosmincol. Continue straight for about 25km until you reach a tar road – turn left then immediately right - back onto the gravel. After 28km more on gravel you will get to tar again. Proceed on the tar for 1km, then turn right to Kuilfontein on gravel again. After 4km, turn right, also signed to Kuilfontein. After 1.5km, turn right to Draaifontein where you will find the Tara Rokpa Centre office on the corner.
Tar road and toll gate: After turning right at the Swartruggens sign and travelling for about 30km, turn left into Swartruggens at the N4 junction. Continue through the town and along the N4 through the toll, past Groot Marico. 9km after Groot Marico, turn off the main road at the Rietvaly sign. This road soon becomes gravel. Continue for 10.5km. Take the left branch at the Y-junction, signed to Kuilfontein. Drive 8.5km, cross the stream and turn left at the Draaifontein sign. The Tara Rokpa Centre office is on the corner.
Around the area
The Groot Marico is a rural area of South Africa, brought to fame by the writings of Herman Charles Bosman. The Groot Marico Information Centre will point you to various attractions. Nearby is The Eye or Die Oog, a hot spring resort.
Tours to do
The Madikwe Game Reserve is not too far from Groot Marico, and definitely worth an overnight stay. The reserve is home to the Big 5 as well as a healthy pack of rare wild dogs.
What will it cost
Retreats and accommodation are relatively inexpensive.
Length of stay
Anything from 2 nights to a whole week to get full benefit of the programmes on offer.
Where to stay
Accommodation at Tara Rokpa Centre is varied, with a number of farmhouses offering a mix of en suite bedrooms, single and double rooms and dormitory-style accommodation.