It is almost time for me to drive back to Cape Town and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am about it. I’ve been in Limpopo and Gauteng (the north of South Africa) since December and I long for the Mother City, my friends and most of all: moving into my first ever new home. (Yes, I’m finally, at the ripe age of 33, a homeowner!)
I travel a lot and I drive a lot. To countless places. If I’m not shooting a film somewhere in the most remote area and relying heavily on my trusty steed – a Toyota Landcruiser – not to ever be mistaken for a Land Rover, I’m flying off to a sometimes idyllic (if it is for this blog) and sometimes not so idyllic (if it is for my real life job).
As much as I like traveling and a good old road trip, there are a few journeys I think I would opt out of if given half a chance. Right at the top of this list is journeying up and down the N1.
There are many reasons for this, but in short …
- It is very long (16000 km),
- it is always hot, (I always manage to hit the Karoo in the middle of the day)
- it is dangerous (people always drive like maniacs)
- and most importantly: I have on most occasions driven it alone.
I think I can count the amount of times I’ve driven the 16 plus hours in one go on one hand. Come sunset and I need to stop for the night. As many times as I have driven up and down the N1, as many times have I stayed over, I have never returned to an overnight accommodation destination on the N1 twice.
I think I might have found my personal retreat.
I actually look forward to this journey, would you believe?
When coming from Cape Town, just before you reach the town of Richmond, there is a small brown sign indicating to Bloemhof Karoo Farm Guesthouse. On my last trip up north, turned into the small dirt road, just as the sun began to set.
I’m not going to sell the Karoo to you. I’m not going to sell a windmill and a farmhouse with a giant ‘stoep’ around it either. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should make a plan. You are missing out.
I once heard someone describe the Karoo as the ‘loneliest place on the planet’, and there is some truth to it, I just wouldn’t opt for lonely as I don’t really like being lonely. I would be able to sit on this stoep for days on end.
The rooms and service were like a little peace of Karoo Magic. In the three days that I spent there, even though I was never the only guest, I felt like I had the entire homestead to myself.
I just confirmed my stay and I cannot wait. Maybe I’ll stay for 5 days this time round?
Words and pictures © Daréll Lourens | www.onetwodee.com
Poet Thomas Hardy wrote in his poem Drummer Hodge:
Young Hodge the Drummer never knew –
Fresh from his Wessex home –
The meaning of the broad Karoo,
The Bush, the dusty loam,
And why uprose to nightly view
Strange stars amid the gloam.
Life, it seems, is not meaningless but, rather, so full of meaning that its meaning must be constantly murdered for the sake of cohesion and comprehension. For the sake of the storyline.