10 July 2011 by Chris Marais

Karoo Snow Safari

So off we go, fellow photographer Ryno Ferreira and I, in a monster Land Rover Defender, on a Snow Safari in the Karoo.

On the R61 between Cradock and Graaff-Reinet, you can see the snowcapped mountains in the south. The plan is to take a dusty side road called Letskraal/Koloniesplaatz and drive up into those very whitecapped mountains. And shoot away with our Canon 550D’s.

Jules (my wife) thinks there’s a good chance we’re going to get stuck up there. She urges me to pack a spare pair of Wellies, thermal tracksuit, more water and, strangely enough, a dozen tea candles just in case we’re up there, stuck and faced with spending the night in the Defender. I’m thinking what a great shot that would make: Land Rover in evening snowdrift, interior charmingly lit by little candles. She doesn’t see the humour.

Well. The sun has cleared up all clouds and it’s a brilliant day in the Karoo. The snows are melting faster than we can drive. By the time we’re deeply committed to this winding dirt road, I realise that winter landscapes are going to be my bread and butter today. No snow show.

And what a drive. We chug on past ancient farmsteads, gnarled fenceposts, interesting two-seater outhouses, old car wrecks and farming machinery from a century ago. The scenery is colourful, the blue crane males are dancing for their mates all over the place and look, here comes a herd of Appaloosas cantering past.

These side roads in the Karoo Heartland are a trip into the history books. Apart from the odd farmer’s pickup truck that passes by, we could be in 1850. Even the windmills look like they’ve been there forever. I’m thinking that someone with a guest farm could do really well out here. Especially when the snows come down…

Category: Culture & History

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