Of late the Karoo has been receiving quite a bit of favourable publicity, with city dwellers "semi-grating" to the smaller towns, instead of leaving this wonderful country behind.
Semi-gration, a word that I've borrowed from Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit from their new book "Moving to the Platteland". What a wonderful read! It explains all the ups and downs, joys and pitfall of moving from a city to a small town. Definitely worth getting!
I grew up in the Johannesburg area, and Alan and I semi-grated to Somerset East almost 15 years ago. What a ride. All our holidays as children were in the "Bushveld", so for me the desert-like landscape of the Karoo was not something that had crept into my heart from an early age as it did with Alan. However, it does just that, it creeps into every nook and cranny, and before you know it, you're in love! TV Bulpin describes the Karoo beautifully: "Vast, moody, lonely, melancholy, autumnal in its moods and stillness. Remote, elusive, harsh in the midday sun, but transformed by the approach of night into a place of gorgeous sunsets, with cool shadows rising out of valleys and hollows, slowly enveloping the land in a dark blanket of sleep while the heavens sparkle with so brilliant a display of stars that the Karoo seems to be washed with a soft dew of their falling light."
We do quite a bit of travelling in this area, and I know, the Karoo is not everyone's cup of tea, but man, if you're open to the suggestions of Mother Nature, it captures your very soul! From the vast mountains on the horizon to spotting Africa's heaviest flying bird the Kori Bustard, or getting down on your knees to see a minute little Karoo flower, just take a little extra time, and enjoy it. Next time you travel from Johannesburg to Cape Town, don't just drive on the N1 hoping that the desolate landscape will pass. Stop, look, see, feel, the heartbeat of the Karoo.