|Langberg Guest Farm pre-dawn|
|Langberg Guest Farm sunrise|
Then its back to the farm, an excellent farmstyle breakfast, and pay up, and I'll be on my way. They have a pretty sophisticated set-up at this farm - I'm able to pay with Credit card! It will be very different in the ones to come.
Heading off at 9 am (minus one pair of fancy sunglasses, which got nicked at Magersfontein) I get on the R357, through Douglas, to Prieska. It's a bit potholed at first, then becomes a very nice road, and I make good time to Prieska. The biggish trees of the highveld grasslands were gradually making way for smaller bushes, and the grassland becoming sparser and more scrubby. At Prieska I thought I might stop for drink and lunch at a coffee shop, but turns out Prieska is one of those towns where loads of people are just hanging around town doing nothing, quite a few walking along with their beer bottles. I'm sure there's a pleasant enough coffee shop somewhere, but leaving my car on the street with expensive camera gear inside wasn't appealing, so I left again and stopped at a lay-bye outside town for a stretch.
Keeping south again, in the direction of Carnarvon, I soon hit the dirt road, which was to last most of the remaining 200km. It was actually a pretty good road, of course barely any traffic, and easy to stop along the way to check out any candidate photo opportunity. At last a few hills appeared south of Prieska, and it also wasn't long before I noticed the clouds building up - hurray! I had to stop and take a picture of an otherwise un-spectacular scene.
But it then became flat, long and pretty dull.
You may ask ""what am I supposed to see in this picture?'". Well, nothing really, that's the whole point, the Karoo is full of lots and lots of scrubby nothingness. In case you don't believe me, try driving on these roads - many kilometers of straight roads, an occasional turn, and then out it stretches again into the barren landscape.
|Karoo open road|
I'm not surprised that when this chap found water in this nothingness, he got a bit over-excited when naming his windmill!
Fortunately, there are some interesting sites to break the monotony. This one is a salt pan of some sort, it is actually being mined just out of the picture on the left.
|Karoo Salt Pan|
It's run by a lovely couple - Natascha and Stegmann Lubbe- who invited me into the farmhouse for coffee, and to catch a re-run of Kate and William's wedding! But the accomodation is what brought me here - they have very successfully restored an old corbelled house on their farm. These are houses that were built in parts of the karoo by trekboers in the early 1800s. With very little building material available in the desolate karoo, they built these houses from smallish pieces of flat stone. Round or square walls, then an igloo shaped roof, made with overlapping stones, using a clay as a mortar. There are still several standing on various farms, mostly further south west, and a bit too far for this trip. But a very authentic stay-over, and fantastic people. Stegmann even herded his sheep especially for me to take photos (where do you want me to move them to? And his sheepdogs moved the heard into the right place!). He told me this season they've had the most rain since 1974, so his dam is full, the grass is still quite long, and he seems happy with the result.
Some pics from his farm follow:
|Osfontein Guest Farm|
|Osfontein Windmill by twilight|
|Osfontein Corbelled House by candlelight|
|Osfontein Guest Farm before dawn|
|Osfontein Corbelled House|
|Osfontein Corbelled House|
Now it's off the the next farm. I had to take a diversion through Beaufort West to get to a chemist in a hurry (a tooth infection starting) and to get cell phone coverage. I don't know yet whether I will have coverage at the next place, let's see!