I am sitting in the Wimpy at the Engen 1 Stop in Beaufort West, a town in the semi-desert Karoo. It is 3:45 PM and the temperature outside is 32°C. I have driven four hours from Cape Town seeing the vast landscapes of shrubs, hills and blue sky.
The wind is blowing outside and the poplar trees swaying with their green leaves shaking about. My food is already 15 minutes late and I open the local community newspaper because I know my chicken and salad is going to take at least half an hour.
In recent months I have travelled through the Richtersveld in the Northern Cape and the Karoo in the Western Cape. Vast expanses, unique flora and hardy, friendly people who live and work in these semi-desert regions.
When you arrive in the small town of Philipstown, De Aar, Carnarvon, Calvinia, Laingsburg, Beaufort West and Hanover, you are stuck by the large number of young people, unemployed people begging for money and the mostly run-down retail shopping areas.
After driving for hours through the hot, dry and dusty Karoo, you get back home to the city and miss those wide open spaces.
The veld with small bushes and shrubs that extend to the mountains on the horizon. Clear visibility enabling you to see so far that you wonder about the distance that you can see with the naked eye – is it 23 km or 30 km? The vistas are big and leave you with a good feeling that there is still so much land out there that’s unspoilt, unpolluted and even untrodden. Continue reading “Who’s supporting business in these hot, dusty Karoo towns?”
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