At 11-feet / almost three-and-a-half metres in length and with enough width to ensure stability on the sea and on choppy waters, the Tarka is a versatile kayak. We’ve loaded it with features to ensure performance and comfort – everything you need from a high-performance, recreational kayak.

The Tarka has two watertight 8″ Screw Hatches and a large rear Tankwell to store and protect gear for overnight adventures. Multifits and Bungee Cord on the bow deck add additional storage space for lighter items.

For hours spent out on the water, you’ll want comfort. The smooth surface of our Sculpted Seat is shaped and angled to support your rear and reduce pressure on the back of your thighs. This is further improved by the position of the footwell, which lies slightly lower than the seat. Adjustable Footrests accommodate paddlers of just about any height.

The Paddle Cutaways are a distinctive feature of our kayak range. They not only allow the kayak to feel narrower than it is, they allow for a full, natural paddle stroke without the paddle blade connecting with the side of the kayak.

The Paddle Rest on the one side and Bottle Holder on the other side of the seat makes it easy to stay hydrated and keep your hands free when you’re not paddling.

This is a great kayak for teens and smaller sized adults, and it is a perfect ‘next kayak’ for older children that have outgrown the Kwando.

Length: 340 cm / 11’1″
Width: 72 cm / 28.5″
Height: 41 cm / 16″
Weight: 24 kg / 53 lb
Ideal paddler weight: 50-80 kg / 110-180 lb
Max. carrying capacity: 110 kg / 245 lb


While smaller children will find the Tarka large to paddle and manoeuvre, this kayak is great for older children and teens. Tiny tots will enjoy sitting in the spacious tankwell.


The Tankwell has enough space for more than one small dog and a medium to large-sized dog. If your dog prefers to sit, rather than to lie down, line the tankwell with a foam mat to prevent their paws from slipping.


On flatwater, the Tarka is fast and agile. It offers both speed and comfort whether you’re paddling for recreation or exercise.


The Tarka is a great kayak for touring for smaller-sized paddlers. It has decent speed, good stability, comfort and storage space for multi-day trips.


Although this regular Tarka model is great for kayak fishing, if angling is your sport we would recommend that you consider the Tarka Angler version, which comes with Rod Holders, Deck Rails and an Anchor Trolley.


The Tarka performs on the sea. Its hull tracks and will ride the swell with ease. On your next sea-side holiday, enjoy paddling from one side of the bay to the other – just be sure to take snacks and drinks; distances across water can be deceiving (and are usually farther than you expect!).


Although the Tarka will get you out through the breakers and back in to shore in style, you won’t win the Surf Kayaking World Series with this kayak (for that you’ll need a Dumbi, our surf kayak).


Enjoy taking your Tarka tripping down rivers with small rapids and scenic flatwater sections. Use the 8″ Screw Hatches and Tankwell to secure gear for overnight trips. If you plan to do trips with bigger water and rapids, rather consider one of our whitewater kayaks like the Usutu sit-on-top.


Our Stand-up Platform is a winner. It makes it easier for you to get in and out of this kayak. While we don’t recommend paddling the Tarka from a standing position, you can stand, stretch your legs and enjoy a height-above-water view to check out your surroundings, while you’re out on the water.

My design motivation for the Tarka was simple: “Create a kayak for smaller paddlers for whom the Kasai is just too much boat to handle”.

Smaller paddlers need a boat with similar characteristics, just scaled down a bit to make the kayak easier to handle on and off the water. The Tarka is exactly this; a smaller version of the Kasai.

The shorter length of the Tarka means that it is physically lighter and therefore easier to carry. For smaller paddlers with a shorter reach, it is also easier to turn on the water. The slightly narrower width means that the Tarka has pretty much the same hull speed as the Kasai; it just can’t carry the same weight as the Kasai. The Tarka has all the same fittings and features of the Kasai, except for the one hatch behind the seat that I had to omit because of space constraints.

If the Kasai appeals to you but you fear that it might just be a little bit too big to handle, then the Tarka is for you.

Celliers Kruger, designer of Vagabond Kayaks

In this video, we demonstrate the use of the Stand-up Platform, which makes it easier to get on and off the kayak, especially from a jetty where you have to step on to the kayak. The kayak featured in this video is a Tarka.

Mpho Mapatsi, a complete novice who had never been on a kayak before, had the unique experience of sequentially paddling Vagabond’s Tsomo, Tarka, Kasai, Marimba and the double-seater Mazowe kayaks in a 90-minute session on the water. Follow Mpho’s first experience of kayaking in this video.

We had fun racing our four Vagabond Kayaks sit-on-tops against each other. This video gives an indication of the speed difference between them – of course, paddler experience and ability also makes a difference. Our participants here are all capable paddlers.

The Marimba (green) is on the far left. This is our longest and narrowest and, as a result, our fastest kayak. Perfect for fitness paddling, river tripping and expeditions.

The Kasai (green) is on the inside of the Marimba. It is 50cm shorter than the Marimba, it has a bit more width and, as a result, more stability and weight carrying. An awesome all-purpose kayak for dams, rivers and sea.

The Tarka (pink) is second from the right. Somewhat shorter than the Kasai, the Tarka is 60cm shorter and the same width, it is a bit slower. When you’re paddling normally and not at a flat-out sprint, there is little speed difference between the Kasai and Tarka. Like the Kasai, this is an awesome all-purpose kayak suited to smaller (less than 90kg) paddlers.

The Tsomo (khaki) on the right is our shortest and widest kayak for adults. It has very good weight carrying capacity but not as much speed as its siblings. It is a playful and awesome kayak to paddle for recreation, fishing and bird watching but is not the one for long-distance paddling.