Desolation is the only word to describe how lonely it is here. If you lived on a farm out here you would need to be completely self sufficient as trips to the supermarket would be a once a month excursion taking an entire day to do so.
If you ever wanted to know where the ‘middle of nowhere’ was then Tankwa tops the list! The are just mountains as far as the eye can see and we were booked into a little cottage called De Zyfer which was previously restored in 2009 for guests to use in the park. It dates back to the early 1900’s and was previously owned and lived in by the first teacher in the area, Visser, who later married one of his students when she left school in grade 8! Interesting…
It is however a gorgeous little 2 bedroom house with nothing but romantic candlelit chandeliers to illuminate the rooms and a roaring fireplace to sit and drink copious amounts of red wine whilst reminiscing in the silence and listening to the crackling fire. It was also a new experience for the kids having to light the ‘donkey’ boiler outside to make hot water for their evening shower and I think it humbled them a little to what life must have been like out here 100 years ago.
We woke the next morning and made bacon and eggs to eat on the old stone patio whist overlooking the towering mountains in front of us and then headed off for a 100km game drive round trip through the park.
We spotted a number of eland, gemsbok, springbok and red hartebeest along the way and settled at a huge man made dam for lunch. As we drove around we came across a number of old abandoned homes which we read about in the local little guide we purchased and read about the people who used to live in them and a bit about their history. I honestly have no idea how any human being could possibly survive out here not only with their sanity but also their health? You’d have to be a special kind of special to stay here… Make no mistake, the silence is golden and most times deafeningly beautiful but I think it could really make one over question your life to the point of making you crazy.
Back home after our long drive and dinner was snoek cooked over an open fire with apricot jam and garlic sauce with a backdrop of golden,pink sunlight setting across the mountains. As the icy wind picked up and the stars came out we prepared for a roaring fire inside and some quality family time…