I’ve never had a formal Afrikaans lesson, but I’ve lived here long enough to (as with my German and French) learn just about enough to not quite get by.
We’re heading into Mikey’s Fontane today. That’s what the locals call Matjiesfontein, when they’re not calling it home.
With a name like that, you wouldn’t expect that the town was founded by a Scotsman, but it was. He wasn’t even called Mikey – he was James Douglas Logan. In fact, Matjiesfontein means the fountain (or spring) of the little reeds: the sedges used by the original inhabitants to make mat flooring for their huts.
Steeped in colonial history, it’s allegedly like stepping back in time, back to the days when it was a popular Victorian spa town, and sprang up mainly as a stop off on the main railway line across the Cape.
The town also has connections to the Jameson Raid and the Anglo-Boer War. Plenty to fill our eager minds, then.
It’s road trip time, and there’s a busy weekend between us and it, with birthday parties at opposite ends of the age scale. And those will be a lot of fun, not least because a lot of planning and organisation has gone into them, but there’s still loads to sort out before we head off out and about, around the Western Cape. A scary amount.
(And then don’t even mention the punishing 5 day trip up North the following week, which makes this road trip look like a quick visit to the local shops.)
But I’m looking forward to next week. I’m not taking a laptop, so expect a) some pre-written posts, plus whatever else I get the chance to fit in. b) the occasional unedited photo, and c) plenty of instagramming.
I know for a fact that there will be a couple of days where I won’t have wifi or cell signal, but I can’t imagine that there will be a lot in many of the deliberately chosen, sparsely populated dorpies and nature reserves we’re planning to visit.
Night skies? Hopefully. Freezing temperatures? Obviously. Some proper family time? Surely, yes.