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 offers 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
Tara Rokpa Centre
Tel: +27 (0)14 503-8901
Fax: +27 (0)86 589-7257
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. Directions available via website.
Best time to visit
For serious meditation scholars, the Tara Rokpa retreats are best for gaining in-depth knowledge of the practice. The centre’s website lists a number, but one particularly popular event is the October/November retreat, when meditation instructors such as Rob Nairn and Donal Creedon run month-long programmes.
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 Five 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 two 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.