Karoo winters can be brutal – but spectacular.
In one night of snowfall back in 2012, the slopes of the Bankberg range at the Mountain Zebra National Park become a delicate Japanese charcoal sketch.
Up in the Swaershoek Mountains that loom over the river town of Cradock, snowdrifts demand careful driving as isolated farmers make their way to market.
But the village of Nieu-Bethesda, which nestles into the appropriately named Sneeuberge (Snowy Mountains), is the Karoo’s most romantic snow destination.
In the winter of 2012 we crunched across the Wapadsberg Pass in a Land Rover Defender and chugged into Nieu-Bethesda as the flakes began to fall.
Down the road where the pear trees stand proud, André’s wandering goats passed a couple of lovely fixer-uppers and became, ever so briefly, part of a Macedonian winter landscape.
A couple of horses, normally galloping around Nieu-Bethesda’s dusty streets with young boys on their backs, stood outside a barn with their backs to the driving sleet and looked positively Himalayan.
Back at the ‘Lamb’ the doors had opened, the fire had been lit and the first thirsties (the Three Wise Men of Nieu-Bethesda?) of the day were seated.
- This is an extract from Karoo Keepsakes II – The Journeys Continue. The recently-published book is the perfect gift for someone with any link to the Karoo.