12 Aug 2019 563 views
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photoblog image Tankwa windmill
Tankwa windmill|

Tankwa windmill


I have now arrived in the Tankwa Karoo National Park. It is an area that has previously been farmed by people who must have loved hard times and isolation. Or maybe just didn't know of any other way to make a living. But they did (make a living). Rainfall is low, the earth is hard and slaty, it gets hot in summer and bitterly cold with snow in winter. The nearest 'civilisation' would be 100+ kms away and didn't necessary include medical assistance of any kind. The farmers were not so much clued up about farming methods and overgrazing happened. In such dry areas, recovery will take very, very long. As time went by, people moved away to surrounding towns and further; de-populating the Tankwa Karoo. 


The Tankwa Karoo National Park (just a part of the Tankwa Karoo) was proclaimed during the 1980's in parts that were mostly idle, as far as human activity goes. Through the years that followed, some more farms were bought out and the population of the park with suitable animals started. Because of the erstwhile human activity, relics remain in the park area. Even a few farmsteads that were restored as accommodation for visitors. Aha, photo opportunities!


The Karoo concept is mind boggling and few South Africans understand it. The Karoo is a dryish area in the Western and Northern Cape provinces. The main division is between the Great Karoo and the Little Karoo. There are further divisions of these two; that are identified according to altitude, biome characteristics, etc. No clear borders exist for all these Karoo-named areas. The Tankwa Karoo is known as the area with the lowest rainfall within the SA borders. The mountains in the background are actually the drop-off from the inland plateau, which is known as the Upper Karoo and still is part of the Great Karoo.


In the picture: a windmill that drew brackish water for (mostly) sheep, when this part was still farmed. Where the khaki colours end, you can see a dust cloud that was kicked up by a passing car on a road that is just out of view. All gravel roads, with the nearest tarmac about 150kms away. I saw less than 10 cars during my 4 day stay in this park.



comments (16)

  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 12 Aug 2019, 01:49
So much to like here, Louis...the layers of color, The windmill/tank that are just like I am familiar with in Australia, as examples.
Louis: I can imagine that the Outback is somewhat like this. Thanks, Ray.
C'est un endroit vraiment sauvage, les gens étaient courageux d'habiter là .
Louis: Ces personnes ont été courageux ou stupide.
I love these windmills they are a favourite subject. they seem to convey an image of isolation...Nice shot Louis.
Louis: Thank you, Frank. I think of them as lone sentinels, sometimes.
  • Beth
  • United States
  • 12 Aug 2019, 02:28
The windmill gives a good sense of how immense the area seems to be. I agree with Ray that the layers work well here.
Louis: Thank you, Beth. The lack of civilised life seem to increase the immense feeling.
that is quite a view, Louis. i imagine that water was not too good for the sheep?
Louis: Animals don't have an issue with the water. They just take in what their bodies need.
What a photo - what a place!
Have you actually captured the heat rising up?
Louis: Thank you Elizabeth. No shimmering pictures.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 12 Aug 2019, 05:29
I guess if you don't like people but do enjoy unrelenting hard work this might be the ideal spot Louis..
Louis: Yes, Chris. Total lack of imagination is also a requirement.
First of all, I love your image, Louis, of this lone windmill (the kind I grew up with in America).

Secondly, I just heard yesterday that in the years to come there will be mass immigration from parts of Africa that will increasingly become uninhabitable because of climate change. It's quite sobering!
Louis: Thank you, Ginnie. About Africa - I think people are rumour mongering. The simple question to ask, is where will these people go? To Europe, where they also experience droughts, increasingly? To Asia, where there is an increase in monsoons, tsunamis and earthquakes? To the Americas, that also experience traumatic weather patterns? Climate change is hitting the whole world and in the end, everyone will want to move elsewhere. It is also a fact that Africa is very much underutilised. That is the result of political instability, which in turn is the result of colonisation and other forms of greed.
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 12 Aug 2019, 07:23
What a place, Louis. Great picture. You talk passed sense. Is the windmill not in use any more or is the water all gone?
I think rule #1 in this area is, come prepared or stay out....
Louis: That rule is a good one, Astrid. As far as I can see, the windmill is not being used anymore. Apart from the visible rust, there should be a pipe connecting the windmill and the dam and that is gone.
A hostile environment in which to eke out a living Louis. Hopefully nature will reclaim it
Louis: Nature is working hard on reclaiming, Bill.
  • Chad
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 12 Aug 2019, 08:31
Interesting stuff Louis. Visit Karoo, it’s divided in two.
Louis: Well said, Fred smile
That certainly looks pretty bleak!
Louis: Bleak indeed, Tom.
What a fascinating picture Louis, I really enjoy reading all you tell us about your country, as I said once before we learnt little about it at school.
Louis: Well, you did make it to 75 without that knowledge smile I learn a lot about the UK from you lot. Although the UK was in our history and geography syllabi, it was from the detail that the same subjects would have been for the average British pupil.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 12 Aug 2019, 18:32
I wonder about the golden ground!
Louis: It is more like khaki, Philine. No chance to become rich from it.
Love the bold layers Louis....a really pleasing image! smile
Louis: Thank you, Martin.
It looks fairly hot still.
Louis: Maybe 3 hours past noon, but still hot as you guessed.

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