|Karoo National Park|
So here we are in the Karoo National Park, at the tail end of our three weeks away. So nice that we have such a big family - always someone to stay with all over the country. We began with a week with one sister-in-law on the East coast - a place called East London. That was where we had the bee stings. Then onto the Natal South Coast - four days with good friends who go way back. That was lots of nice eating, jawing and sight-seeing. Then a long journey through the Transkei (all day), (now part of South Africa and much improved since apartheid days), although one still has to watch out for livestock dawdling across the highway at every turn. Further down the coast we then spent a week at the beautiful Hole-in-the-Wall with more family. Then another six-hour trip to the middle of the country for an overnight stop at a nephew's farm and now this huge park. Our chalet is at the end of the line with a great view of the mountain and scrubland (zebras, antelope mostly - and 22 pairs of black eagles). The thing is - compared to our other stops - it is amazingly quiet here. It is night-time, we are sitting outside, sipping our drinks, not talking, totally calm and relaxed, watching the crescent moon and the North star. You can hear a pin drop. Well, not quite. The wind is blowing relentlessly but we have our backs to it. The info says that Beaufort West (the nearest town) holds the record for the strongest wind in the country - about 120 mph. I can believe it: I can hear it whistling round in my wine glass. Soon we will eat in the restaurant, dinner and breakfast, then home at last. Another six-hour drive. About 500 miles. Such a big country, such a good trip, such good company.