Where Will You Sleep Tonight?
go! - South Africa|August/September 2021
On a long drive from the Kalahari to Cape Town, Toast Coetzer counts his blessings.
Nicolene Louw

After a wonderful week spent in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, it’s time to head back home. I’m cutting it fine. It’s Friday morning and I’ve promised an old friend that I would be at his farewell lunch in Cape Town on Saturday. He’s moving to the Netherlands and I want to say goodbye properly. But that leaves me with just one day to drive 1127km from Twee Rivieren.

It’s a job that gets done one way, and one way only: Wind up the window and drive. The automatic Mahindra shifts gears and I can feel the bakkie accelerating. It’s a good feeling, after the past few days of slow sand driving on the Nossob 4x4 Eco Trail.

I notice a couple of men working with livestock in a kraal and I lift a hand to wave. A little further, the narrow tar road sweeps through a beautiful patch of camel thorn trees. In the crown of one tree I notice two white-backed vultures: They’re getting their nest ready for the coming breeding season.

Close to Molopo Kalahari Lodge, I spot something so unusual that I almost drive off the road. This is Khomani San country, and a couple of Bushmen are plying their trade to passing tourists. Noticing my out-of-province number plates, one guy jumps up and starts a dance to draw my attention. But that’s not what floors me: Save for a pair of underpants, the only item of clothing he’s wearing is a bright blue face mask!

If ever there was a sign of the times…

Covid cases have been rising in the Northern Cape, so I suppose it’s not that surprising. But I don’t have time to stop, have a lekker chat and so on. I have to drive.

From Askham, the R360 pulls itself straight as an arrow and I set cruise control to 120km/h. I’m listening to a lecture series about the pre-history of mankind, playing off my phone, so part of my brain is in ancient Crete with the Minoan civilization, while another part pays attention to avoiding sociable weavers flashing across the road.

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