Don’t make the mistake of simply zipping through Williston, because all you’ll see is a tired little town with a nice enough church and little else.
Slow down, turn in at the Williston Mall sign and prepare to be amazed. Meet the owners, Pieter and Elmarie Naude, take a seat in the gazebo or the bar and order up something cold. The Williston Mall Milkshake is particularly famous.
Then walk around the artfully arranged junkyard, look in at the book nook, admire some of Elmarie’s paintings and let Pieter tell you about the Williston Winter Festival.
This is a cultural gathering that takes place early in September just before spring, and celebrates local dance, song and story-telling. They also cook up a storm at the braai fires during this festival.
They say once you know one family in a Karoo town, you end up meeting just about everyone. And your opinion of that town can only grow fonder. The Naudes have friends across all the communities, and once you see Williston through their eyes you’ll start asking about property prices around here.
Williston is also the kind of place you could spend a week in, if you were interested in historical matters. They offer a Tombstone Route out of Williston that follows the work of one Cornelius de Waal, a master-carver who engraved gravestones for the people of the Upper Karoo.
On the farms around Williston, especially near the Sak River, you’ll hear about the Nama traditions and beliefs surrounding the Water Snake.
And when you next see one of those domed dwellings built entirely of rock, you’ll remember the corbelled houses of Williston.
Or you could just order up another one of Elmarie’s Killer Pink milkshakes and chill out at the Mall…
Find our new e-Book, 101 Karoo Towns HERE.