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Karoo Parenthesis, Part 3 - Two Passes
December 27, 2016

After an eerily silent night, the end of the road equating to absolutely no traffic or human noise in an already deserted space, I get up early and, remembering that we have routinely forgotten the plunger for our stove-top espresso maker, I use the conveniently supplied replacement and prepare our traditional breakfast of coffee and rusks. Granted the luxury of a choice of terraces, we opt for the sun-facing side and warm up as we watch the mock-up savanna below us come to life. Our rental giraffes...

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Karoo Parenthesis, Part 2 - Weltevrede Fig Farm
November 21, 2016

But a small speck of harsh dwelling thinly spread over a few acres of dry Karoo space and theater to mostly survival, Prince Albert sits stoically in the shadow of the Swartberg range, isolated and remote. I would postulate that one does not end up in the small town by accident as it is defended by steep and treacherous mountain passes and an infinity of empty, inhospitable dusty land. Much determination must be needed to arrive here, and exponentially more of either fate or...

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The Namaqualand Bloom, Part 2 - A Clever Dinner Trick
November 15, 2015

Morning came, light slowly oozing into our tent's quiet darkness. The wind had long exhausted its last breath and with that, new weather had moved in, warm and cloudy, casting a pale veil over the land. I took a thirty minute round-trip walk down to the park's ablutions block, lucking out as the sun briefly dashed out of the cast to ignite the fields. Having been told by a barely awake camp staff member that coffee could not be taken back to the tent, I had thus irremediably...

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Slingshot to Kruger, Part 3 - Through the Orpen Gate
July 9, 2013

In a rare breach of morning protocol, the Landcruiser was packed and the premises vacated even before breakfast the next day. The keys dropped off, we asked for advice on the best place to purchase some kind of coffee-making apparatus, and drove down the main street two full stop signs and a bit. To our utter delight, the recommended shop not only sold coffee makers but they were authentic Bialetti's! We replaced our missing Italian genie with great relief, ordered a few flat whites* for the road and had them poured...

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Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 6 - Flash Flood on the Road to Rhodes
May 17, 2010

My mosquito bites soothed and Himeville left behind, we drove southwestwards, keeping the dark Drakensberg walls to our right, through rolling hills and immense fields. This was Zulu land. We had already noticed around Himeville that the locals were friendlier, more self-assured. The Zulus are a dancing people. It seemed to show. We took two shortcuts. The first one, a long and rather straight dirt road across vast fields, was pleasant and efficient. So we got back on the main road and soon after Mount Fletcher, took...

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Cartwheels over Lesotho, Part 5 - Differential Lock on the Sani Pass
May 14, 2010

We attacked the next leg with dreams of grandeur. Just like Sossusvlei had been the apotheosis of our 2009 Namib trip, Southern Africa's highest mountain pass was going to be something to write home about. Located in the Drakensberg mountain range, on the easternmost flank of Lesotho, the Sani Pass leads from Basotho Highlands to South Africa's KwaZulu Natal province, in a long climb and a hairy descent that drops pretty much straight down from one of the highest roads in Africa. That road, as most in the area, is...

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