Random Rural Routes

This is real travel. Adventure is what births the traveler. You get people who fly across the globe without being travelers, you see. Travel is ingrained in the bone marrow from an early age.

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It was back in the 1960’s and we wore safari suits & sandals. Randomly, we siblings would be summoned to bath, comb the cropped Nr 4 haistyles and get into the car.

A big car with tiny fins at the rear and a star on the hood. Lots of space inside, which was cool. A cavernous trunk that could swallow a platoon of Trojan invaders. And a kosblik.

We have this thing called padkos in South Africa. It usually consisted of cold boerewors, hard boiled eggs, sandwiches, frikkadelle, lamb chops, karringmelkbeskuit. (Google the unknown terms!)

We would lock up and go and before the car was in top gear, someone would ask: “Where are we going to?” Dad would usually answer: “We are following the car’s nose.”

This is real travel. Adventure is what births the traveler. You get people who fly across the globe without being travelers, you see. Travel is ingrained in the bone marrow from an early age.

So we would stop somewhere under a tree, at a hongertafeltjie – I coined that term for the concrete tables and benches by the roadside.

Padkos would be enjoyed al fresco. At the grave between Tweedside and Matjiesfontein, or in Bain’s Kloof, or somewhere between two Free State dorpies. Once, we had melktert in the middle of the Karoo, between Britstown and Strydenburg.

Such random travels took us to the Kruger National Park or the Big Hole in Kimberley. We camped where the two oceans meet at Agulhas, ate dried fruit in Montagu and swatted muggies at Gouda.

In this spirit of adventure, we crossed the Breede at Malgas (Malagas, really) and helped the wiry Oom Moksie Dunn haul the heavy pont across the river.

We saw the secretary bird kill a snake near Kimberley and blue cranes in wheat fields. At Roedtan, we ate putu-pap and lamb for breakfast.

High up in a tower we could overlook the entire smokey Johannesburg. And went into a studio where a livebroadcast was being done. I was six years old.

We saw weird and wonderful animals in zoos and visited Cape Point, went up Table Mountain.

We ate bokkems at Gouda and quinces at Halfmanshof. And we ate mebos. Passing through little dorpies, we always had our Thermos flask filled with sweet, black coffee – and consumed it at a suitable outlook or hongertafeltjie somewhere between Rondomverdwaal and Halfverskrik.

So we discovered the Tsitsikamma, rode ostriches, ventured into the Waenhuiskrans at Arniston.

This is just a taste of travel. Real travel, not the plastic kind you get at thirty thousand feet.

One must have it in your bones. Thanks, Dad, for making a real traveler out of your son before he was seven years old. As Awethentiq is it gets.

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