The Karoo Roads Book Series is a whisper from the past, a drink at a backyard bar in the middle of nowhere, an adventure with an ostrich, a night under the stars, a song in a village church hall, a round of golf with a Rastaman, a ghost in the fireplace, a battle with a blizzard and a walk in the veld with a wise old jackal hunter.
It is also a collection of outstanding Karoo stories, gathered over 20 years of rambling on dirt roads and forgotten highways, in snow and sunshine, on days that were good and bad but always memorable.
Many of the characters in them, like Matjiesfontein’s David Rawdon, Outa Lappies of Prince Albert, Group Captain ‘Dutch’ Hugo of Pampoenpoort, Alfie Wewege of Port Nolloth and a slew of old-time steam train drivers from De Aar, have since passed on. But, in these pages, they live and breathe.
We unearth the precious narrative of the Karoo, riding hard with the Boer fighters in the Camdeboo Mountains, descending the Orange-Fish River Tunnel in Teebus, running with the Philipstown kids and their draadkarretjies, nosing about the Cradock graveyard, dancing the Nama Riel in Williston and following the Great Floods of 2011 from the Gariep Dam to Gordonia.
We roam from koeksister lessons in Brandvlei to alien-spotting in Smithfield, a love letter from Walter Battiss in Somerset East to an astounding Bushman art gallery in a gully just south of Jamestown. We dig up Mother Church legends all over the Karoo and spend a very special Christmas in Graaff-Reinet.
We recall the days of the trekbokke, when the plains ran thick with millions of antelope, we visit the world-class creatives of Prince Albert, the binnekamp of the Alexander Bay diamond mine and spend some down-time on a Heartland farm, simply watching cricket.
We’ll take you from the studios of snowy Nieu-Bethesda to the stony heights of the Richtersveld. Along the way, you will hear tales of love and cheese, sit with the elders of Lekkersing, find the shaggiest sheep in the country, witness Angel-Makers at work, meet a man who once painted the Sistine Chapel on an ostrich egg and another who has brought Buddha to the back-country.
Discover a rock star traffic cop, a world-class farm school, a couple who live in a castle, an Old School newspaperman with the highway in his eyes and a desert festival that lights up the Tankwa skies every year.
Relish the reading magic of a book that captures the true spirit of this rowdy country.
Thus, a word of warning: do not use Karoo Roads as a travel guide. Rather let the books inspire you to explore the interior of this country, with all its contradictions, ironies, laughter, tears and heart-stopping sunsets.
Light the fire, pour the drink, sink into your favourite chair and join us on a series of adventures and discoveries. As always, your seat in the Karoo Space bakkie awaits.
For an insider’s view on life in the Karoo, get the Three-Book Special of Karoo Roads I, Karoo Roads II and Karoo Roads III by Julienne du Toit and Chris Marais for only R800, including courier costs in South Africa. For more details, contact Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org