16 Aug 2019 811 views
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photoblog image Little house on the Tankwa
Little house on the Tankwa|

Little house on the Tankwa


The house where I stayed in the Tankwa Karoo National Park.  The buiilding looks very much like it did, when it housed the farming family. It has 3 bedrooms, a big entry hall that served as lounge, a huge living kitchen and a bathroom that are all still in use. The floors are polished mud/dung and on the other side of the house there is a verandah that is the length of the house - where people have shade all day. One can see that they had quite a big open hearth for cooking, etc. in the kitchen. I can imagine in the winter, with snow a foot deep, that a good fire in the hearth would keep the house warm. Modern amenities that I had at my disposal are a fridge/freezer and a wall plug running on solar power. The cooking hob run on gas. Warm water comes from a wood fired donkey boiler. I didn't use the wood, because the water was warm enough from the boiler standing in the sun, for half a day.


The family history is contained in a pamphlet for visitors to read. If I remember correctly, two-and-a-half generations eked a living here and the farm was abandoned around 1970 and the building restored around 2004 for use by visitors. The story is about dreams, hardship, etc. The first owner worked as a labourer on a neighbouring farm and dreamt about owning this farm. He opened a general dealer that served the people in the area. The shop operated during the times that he was off duty. He married the daughter of the farm where he worked and 5 years later, bought this farm. There is a little graveyard about 500m from the house, that also elaborate on the family history.


One of the things I picked up, was that if a child made it through birth, the next milestone was 3 years. Those who lived to see 3 years, had a more than average chance to reach the ripe old age of 20. Births were seldom registered before 3 years, as it would save you from travelling to register the death. The people in the area knew about births and deaths, but the authorities did not.


The picture was taken in the late afternoon. See how the mountains change colour, the further they are from the observer. If far enough, they would look blue.



comments (15)

I like your composition Louis. Interesting info.
Louis: Thank you, Frank. It is an interesting place.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 16 Aug 2019, 04:36
This is a wonderful composition, Louis.
Louis: Thank you, Ray. The stark features of the Tankwa area makes it a photographer's paradise.
What a terrific image, Louis!
It sounds like a really wonderful place!
Louis: It is a hard place, but I appreciate dry landscapes as well - so I think it is wonderful - somewhere in the next few weeks I will show you the next day's sunset. Truly, amazing.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 16 Aug 2019, 06:13
Everything about this place looks simple and dignified Louis. The landscape seems to be unfortunately devoid of any plant life
Louis: Oh, there are lots of plants, but they look different from what you are used to. And then some are dead...
I can just imagine the memories from such an idyllic place, Louis.
Louis: If love was one of your strong motivators, it would be idyllic, Ginnie. Otherwise a person would just experience hardship.
A tale of hardship and determination. Boy do we have it cushy by comparison
Louis: So it is, Bill. I had a few days of this place, but that was enough.
  • Chad
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 16 Aug 2019, 08:46
This is a superb picture in my opinion, and if I knew how to likey I would likey.
Louis: Thank you, Chad. To likey: (it only works when you are viewing the picture that you want to likey). Go to the top right corner and click on "My Account". The likey option will become visible, with and orange + sign. Click on the + and the picture will be added to your likey collection.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 16 Aug 2019, 09:13
It sounds like a great place to stay. Thank you for all of the other information. What I can remember from elementary school when we were taught about "Africa". Of course I had no clue about seize etc. us was told that often families would have 10 children, the chance that after 10 years they were all alive was 0, most of the families might end up with only 2 or 3 children and they are needed to provide also for the mom and dad on elderly age....
I really like your picture. That mountain view is beautiful.
Louis: Although most African families have had their contact with western ways, there are still those that live in far-off or hidden places. Out of reach of medical assistance and not really understanding the relation between a big family and having to scrape by. Your description is not wrong, but it doesn't happen so much anymore.
I had to look to see what country you were in. That is an amazing story, especially about the births and deaths.
Louis: There are still isolated places like this one was, in Africa.
A fine shot, I like the shapes of the mountains.
Louis: Thank you, Brian. They are beautiful.
I love the light in this image Louis.....a great composition too! smile
Louis: Thank you, Martin. Yes, that late afternoon light is special.
you framed this little old house perfectly Louis... that was a good explanation describing the the inside of the building and its history....petersmile
Louis: Thank you, peter. It was quite an experience for me.
i cannot imagine the polished mud floor. but the rest of your description is vivid. engaging text and it shows a little bit more of how we are not that dissimilar across the planet.
Louis: It works somewhat like screeding a floor. Only, you don't use concrete and cement, but cow dung and mud, or a clay like mud. Once dry, you can start polishing it; to beautify.
  • Anne
  • Europe
  • 17 Aug 2019, 07:47
Louis: Thank you, Anne
i'm trying to imagine snow in this region ... mind boggling! great story
Louis: Thank you, CrashRyan.

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camera Canon EOS 7D Mark II
exposure mode aperture priority
shutterspeed 1/500s
aperture f/8.0
sensitivity ISO200
focal length 150.0mm
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