Most days, as you pass along the main road through Willowmore, you will find a donkey cart opposite Sophie’s Choice.
This is the Willow Limo, and Jim Makwena is the driver. He is a man who takes exceptionally good care of his donkeys.
The regulars you’ll probably find harnessed here are Sweetland and Patrys, but sometimes Jim substitutes one of the others, part of a small herd kept on nearby Finchley Farm.
Jim makes sure the donkeys (which have flowers attached to their bridles) always stand in any available shade in summer, have constant access to clean water and Jim cuts fresh grass that they can eat while waiting for the next customer.
Should you elect to go for a ride around Willowmore with Jim and his donkeys, you’ll see the town at walking or trotting pace.
As you go along the treed streets at a steady clip, you may reflect on these interesting facts:
- Donkeys thrive in drier areas;
- They have a fast walking speed and are very strong;
- They’re not terribly fond of cats and small dogs;
- In Upington, there is a statue to a donkey, in honour of the huge contribution these animals have made to development.
A ride with Jim, Sweetland and Patrys costs R20 per person, and R10 per child under 12 years. You can buy tickets from the nearby mohair and wool shop, Bonato Arts and Crafts.
If you’d just like a photograph of yourself with this classic Karoo trio, you could just tip Jim directly.
- For more information on the Willow Limo or Willowmore, see the tourism information website for the area, http://www.baviaans.co.za