Text & Pix by Chris Marais
There are all kinds of reasons why people love the platteland so much, to visit and to live in. Sometimes, a simple picture just sums it up. Why do we at Karoo Space enjoy the countryside? Here are ten answers for you..
- The Winter Landscapes
When all is brown and snowy in the Karoo Heartland of the Eastern Cape right down to the Little Karoo, the Aloe ferox blooms are out like standing flames. This shot was taken on a drive through the Plains of Camdeboo, from Somerset East to Graaff-Reinet.
- The Summer Sheepscapes
There are few more iconic platteland images than that of a herd of sheep being marshalled from field to field by a farm stockman, dressed in the regulation blue ‘Karoo Cowboy’ co-op coveralls.
- A National Park on your Doorstep
In our case, it’s the Mountain Zebra National Park outside Cradock. The black wildebeest in picture roam the Rooiplaat Plateau – and then plonk down and enjoy the sight of distant mountains.
- The Beer Tastes Better
One of the most enjoyable drink-ups we’ve had in years happened some time ago at the Clarens Brewery on a weekend when out-of-towners and locals mingled to sample the fine weather and the ales on offer.
- Small Town Backyard Oasis
An afternoon spent on the back stoep of Pagel House guest accommodations in Aberdeen, Eastern Cape, talking with owner Lyn Dugmore who features in our latest book, Moving to the Platteland – Life in Small Town South Africa.
- Platteland Rock Spots
Long-time regulars to the platteland eventually settle on their favourite haunts, and Die Ramstal pub in Nieu-Bethesda is one of them. Just behind the Karoo Lamb restaurant, Die Ramstal sometimes hosts visiting musicians and the room turns agreeably rowdy.
- The Country Festivals
Platteland parties are particularly hectic in the early summer, when everyone celebrates the end of the long winter and has a sociable breather before getting down to the business of earning a country living. The Draadkarretjie Festival signs off with a series of hotly contested races in Philipstown, Northern Cape.
- Coffee Safaris
It’s essential that when you travel the platteland, you know where the best carrot cake and coffee can be sourced after a long slog on the road. In this case, it’s the classic Sophie’s Choice in Willowmore, Eastern Cape.
- Hidden Valleys
Sometimes you just want to take a byway and wander through some natural eye candy. If that’s your thing, then try the route around the Red Stone Hills outside Calitzdorp off Route 62.
- The Art of Country Stoepsitting
It’s a gentle art, to be sure. Involving some good wine, agreeable company, a chop on the braai, a dozing hound and a storm on the horizon.
Moving to the Platteland – Life in Small Town South Africa, will be on sale in both Print and Ebook formats from July 2018. If you would like a first edition, author-signed copy of the book, email co-author Julienne du Toit at email@example.com