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The famille Niehbuhr takes their leave and I’m alone in the old karoo house. If you go to the front stoep in the morning, you’re likely to find its lunchtime before you know it.

Hermann se plek

I head straight for the Poort. The road follows the river beneath giant crumpled cliffs. In summer the heat will knock you down, but in early winter there’s a clarity and stillness to this place that astounds me.

cowboy country?

Way down there in Hermanus the rain and cold is coming in and on the R62 it’s light and warm and cloudless and I can feel my winter coastal depression lifting as the road winds ahead.

is daaie die swart of blouberge?

In De Rust in the late afternoon there’s a donkey cart clattering down the main road. A tiny khoisan woman bearing a large pumpkin comes down the hill and tries to sell it to me. She’s lurching a bit, not only from the weight of the pumpkin. There’s a bloke hovering in the background. The pumpkin is the best thing that’s happened for some time, and its probably going to end badly. Slightly unsettled by this reminder of the abject state of our first people, I meet Hermann’s son Thomas and his American grandparents. They like the Klein Karoo, are puzzled by the ‘German speaking brown people’, and have an unnecessary fear of encountering a Cape Cobra.

rustic nirvana

(Double clicking on any photograph gets you an enlarged version)

Over the mountains to De Rust tomorrow to pay my respects to famille Niebuhr. Then into nearby Meiringspoort, watercolours at the ready.

 

the C19th digicam

 

Don’t worry, I’ve got another block of Quinacridone Red (top right).

If I find an internet cafe in De Rust, dear Reader, I shall make a posting or two. Otherwise see you in about twelve days time….

I leave you in the good hands of this fellow traveler

 

Croc man and curio. gouache on paper.

 

J H Pierneef’s Station Panels are cornerstones of South African landscape painting. They were placed in the old Johannesburg Station as adverts to travel the country.

But did these alluring places ever really exist? And how have they changed?

Taking up the invitation to travel 80 years later, Carl Becker set off to find out.

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carlbecker.art@gmail.com

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