Sunday, October 11, 2009

An interesting... departure from Jozi

Before the sun woke up, we set off from Johannesburg and began negotiating our way through the roadwork-infested Gauteng highways with the famously beautiful Eastern Cape our objective.

It always amazes me just how interesting our country is to look at – even eyesores like Sasolburg must fascinate visitors to the Highveld, and that’s a mere blot on the stunning landscapes located outside just about any city in the country. Johannesburg seems to roll on forever, but finally we felt like we were making journey progress, and soon after we reached the Free State which often fields accusations of the most boring, flattest, straightest roads ever – almost an art class in perspective.

I, for one, think the Free State is beautiful. After spending time in London, one is constantly aware of how one should appreciate space, and the Free State offers plenty of it. I still love the barren expanses between cities and towns and can gaze forever at the horizon which seems further away in this province than at sea.

Should you ever tire of the constant farmland, fear not. Just short of Colesburg we headed off to drive along the wall of the country’s biggest dam. In what seems like nanoseconds, the flatness of the terrain becomes hilly around the Gariep Dam, and this is where we begin getting excited about our arrival in another province, the Eastern Cape.

Cradock is our final destination, and we will explore the areas around the town properly from the Fish River’s perspective with a canoe marathon going on. The river bisects Cradock and, before reaching the town, it swirls around farmland, under thorn trees, beneath bridges, over rocks and rapids and carries a load of excited canoeists down a stretch of South African water which has views which are enjoyed by so few so rarely.

One can fully value the beauty of South Africa with a journey from Johannesburg to this quaint little town.

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