Karoo stay in winter
It all started with an ad in go! magazine: Jack and Jean Vosloo of Stellenbosch invited us retirees to stay on their remote farm in the Moordenaarskaroo for a month or two to take care of their olive trees and other plants.
We drove the 1 500km from KwaZulu-Natal’s lush green sugar fields to the arid Karoo hills, where we settled into a beautifully restored worker’s cottage with a gas geyser, stove and fridge in the heart of winter. There were two solar lights and we used candles and gas lamps. No cellphone reception. No TV. No email. And to drive the 12km to Laingsburg to buy supplies, we needed an hour and a four-wheel drive.
We only got up at 08:30 after the sun appeared over the hill. We lay in bed and watched the windmill turn, a springbok or a deer walk past, a skunk, a rabbit, a field mouse… If the tame donkeys heard a voice, they would walk around the house and peer in through the windows and doors looking for their apples and pellets.
For my husband, who usually runs around solving problems and doing maintenance at the retirement home, it was a pleasure simply to water the trees. We were in bed by eight o’clock in the evenings, each with a hot-water bottle and a book.
The isolation and seclusion were therapeutic. Perhaps next year we’ll go back to recharge our batteries.
Henty in the olive grove near the cottage.
A tame donkey comes to beg for an apple.
The cosy lounge.