Blue mountains of the Karoo

There is an Afrikaans folk song made famous by Johannes Kerkorrel that starts off mentioning the blue mountains. "Al lê die berge nog so blou,al lê die berge nog so blou,al lê die berge nog so blou,haar woorde sal ek steeds onthou."Whenever I see the blue silhouette of mountains on the horizon this song always pops up in my head and it was no different while driving through the Eastern Cape's Karoo Heartland on my way to Graaff-Reinet. This time…

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The Windpomp

The windpomp is one of the icons of the Karoo Heartland and as part of the landscape as Karoo koppies, sheep and Angora goats and a good ol' farm gate.  But have you ever wondered where the windpomp came from and how long they've been around?The first windpumps were used to pump water since at least the 9th century in what is now Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.  They later became widespread across the Muslim world and also spread to China…

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Karoo windpomp

Two birds with one stone.  In this case two Karoo icons in one shot.  A windpomp and a couple of Karoo koppies.  In this case the Koffiebus and Teebus outside Steysnburg.

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The good ol’ windpomp, from underneith

We all know what a windpomp looks like.  Don't know what a windpomp is? NO! Really? Hahahaha...  Ok, so perhaps you've heard of a windpump or windmill?  To most of us its just a windpomp, doesn't matter if you say it in English or Afrikaans.  Or perhaps even Xhosa.  I should ask one of my Xhosa friends what they call it.  Anyhow, we all know what a windpomp looks like.  One of the icons of the Karoo.  An object standing in…

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Free State flats

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not dishing the Free State. It has some stunningly beautiful areas... but not on the N1. Driving the N1 between the Eastern / Western Cape and Gauteng is like pulling teeth.  The land is flat and the road just goes on forever.  After miles and miles of flat you go up a bit of a ridge and think there would be something interesting on the other side, just to be rewarded with more road stretching towards the horizon.The only…

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Windpomp

One of the iconic rural countryside objects of South Africa is the windpomp (wind pump).  Windpompe is used to extract water from boreholes and can be found (working or not) on all our highways and byways around South Africa's countryside.  This one I photographed on one of the game reserves just outside Port Elizabeth.

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Windpomp and church tower

Two of the most typical things that you would associate small towns in the platteland (countryside) with are churches and windpompe (windpumps). They are to small towns as Aston Martins and girls are to James Bond. In this scene in Nieu Bethesda in the Karoo I got them both in one shot. James Bond driving with the top down and a beautiful girl next to him.

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Windpompe and Karoo Koppies

Today's post basically follows up on yesterday's post about Karoo roads. The Karoo is generally a flat and dry area with a couple of hills and mountains. This means that driving through the Karoo there are very few features that are distictly "Karoo". The land in the Karoo is farming country with farmers farming mostly with Angora goats (for mohair), sheep (for the most divine Karoo lamb chops... I mean wool) and cattle (how about toasting that juicy t-bone with…

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