Friday, 27 August 2010

Colesberg, South Africa

I couldn't talk about my trip to South Africa without giving the town of  Colesberg, where I spent a good deal of my time, it's own entry.

Colesberg is a town of about 20,000 people in middle of South Africa located in what is referred to as the 'Karoo region'. At first glance - and really at second and third glance - the Karoo seems like a pretty dismal and harsh terrain, but Colesberg is a surprisingly colorful and vibrant community in the midst of it all.

My hosts had arranged for the SADSA head vet, Dr. Sheila Morrisey and myself to get a tour of the town while they were busy getting everything organized for the Nationals. 

Our guide was a very nice local young man. I'd love to tell you his name, but despite his repeating it about a half dozen times for me, I still couldn't get it! Probably something to do with the clicks that are incorporated into the local language, but regardless, we were able to understand each other well enough for Sheila and i to be able to ask questions and get wonderfully detailed answers!

I think that perhaps the tour our guide did with us was alittle different then what our hosts envisioned - we certainly got to see all sides of town - and it was very interesting! 

After a hike over one of the hills we dropped down in the local cemetery.

Apparently the ground is too rocky to dig a more 'traditional' grave, so hundreds of these grave mounds dot the landscape.Very different from the cemetery in England I wandered through with Richard and Kim earlier in the week!

Next we went through what I guess you could call the 'industrial area' of town and watched some brick makers at work. 

Interesting stuff!! A very primative, but obvioulsy effective technique!

Then we stopped to watch a few woman searing hair off a sheep's head over something that looked alot like my trail cooker for dog sled races!

Our guide said that when you then boiled the head it make an excellent meal  - in fact, it was what he had had for dinner the previous night. He sort of hinted that he could us some to try if we were interested. Sheila and I were very comfortable in letting the hint slide. 

Colesberg has a unemployment rate in excess of 60% and an fairly low standard of living, but you can't help but being taken with the good attitude and general friendliness of everyone.
We strolled through town, exchanging 'molos' (hellos) and visited with a few more locals before hitting the 'main street' of town. 

It was pretty 'normal' for a small town, well, except for a few goats that were wandering the street!! 

After lunch our tour guide and another guide took us for a drive out to local dam and reservoir about 45 minutes out of town. It was a huge dam and the locals were obviously very proud of it. We got a nice tour of both the inside and outside of the dam plus the hydro plant. 

All and all it was a fascinating look at a lifestyle and way of living that is about as far from mine as you could imagine. 
My sincere thanks to my hosts for making the trip possible, our guides and the locals of Colesberg for making it so memorable. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing, eye-opening experience!