Most of you know I was the very lucky winner of the Getaway / FTTSA ‘Dream Job’ competition which in essence meant I’ve just returned from travelling parts of SA alone in a 4×4 for just under a month. I wrote about my itinerary here, for those who haven’t seen that.
Before I left, I was all excited and nervous in about equal parts, wondering one minute if I would be what they wanted then reminding myself that being me got me the prize out of around 200 entries. And (as I tell Raph all the time) I could only do my best.
A few of you asked what I wrote for my entry, and what photos I submitted. While according, to the lovely ladies from Getaway and FTTSA, my covering letter played an important role, I will share what I wrote. The two images in this post are the pics I included with my submission.
The brief was to write a short piece on a favourite SA holiday.
Night covers me like silk.
I’m lying beneath a thousand shimmering stars, the Milky Way spilling across the black cloth of the sky. This is the perfect moment in my Karoo holiday, the moment I will return to when I am sitting in rush hour traffic back in Cape Town, longing for silence and starlight.
Few things can compare with the beauty of the Karoo starscape; with wishing on shooting stars, tracing satellites and making up your own constellations from the myriad of tiny lights. But the Klein Karoo offers more than a bejewelled night sky.
Travelling along Route 62 I marvel at the changing landscape. Just past the Tolkienesque mountain pass of Montagu the scene outside my car window flattens out to mesas and endless acres of shrubland dotted with grazing sheep. Fiery aloe blossoms lick the impossibly blue sky.
I spend the day discovering crazy-named restaurants and bars such as Ronnie’s Sex Shop and Road Kill Café, and The Karoo Saloon. I explore towns and villages – some artsy and quaint, others barren and sad, where the unemployed sit outside bottle stores, staring at passing cars without expression.
The hot waters at Warmwaterberg spa soak away the Karoo dust as I float dreamily in the deep end, listening in on the local gossip from the retired couples next to me, while kids shriek and splash in the cold water pool nearby.
Driving back along Route 62 I stop at the Joubert-Tradauw Private Boutique cellar in the beautiful Tradouw Valley, 15 km west of Barrydale. I order the Klein Karoo tapas – a platter containing fresh figs and cranberries, nuts and seeds, a small bobotie with onion relish, “patat” with honey and cinnamon, roasted beetroot, butternut and brinjal, rosemary chicken and pate – a real Karoo feast!
The sun sets the distant hills ablaze as it sinks beneath the horizon and I make my way back to my lodgings, to enjoy the majesty and magic of another night under the stars.