Beyond Lockdown – Day 9

Expedition: #BeyondLockdown
Timeline: Day 9
Distance: 3 491km
Province: Northwest
Region: #GrootMarico
Destination: #RiverStill#MaricoEye & Lotlamoreng

“There is no other place I know that is so heavy with atmosphere, so strangely and darkly impregnated with that stuff of life that bears the authentic stamp of South-Africa”

— Herman Charles Bosman

And Breathe… The dust-devil scrub land of the #NorthWest flickered into view after a near-1000km drive via the #FreeState flat lands, fuelled by mediocre Wimpy coffee and the decidedly retro lang-arm tunes of #OFM (as an Oom, this is sort of my vibes these days, so I’m not complaining).

I’m a huge fan of Herman Charles Bosman, which means #GrootMarico has been on my radar since I first read ‘Mafeking Road’ and ‘Cask of Jerepigo’ many a moon ago. This quirky little dorp is enveloped by the Marico Biosphere Reserve, including the Molopo and Marico river systems, and characterized by dolomite outcrops and an expansive deciduous montane bush veldt ecosystem.

One of our key adventures here was a sublime #freedive into the #MaricoEye sink hole, a crystal clear spring approximately 18 deep and secreted away on a farm where a 68kg boerboel by the name of Bwana is in charge of access control. Once you manage to slip past this Shcwarzenneger canine, what awaits is one of the most astounding aqua experiences you can have anywhere in southern Africa.

The spring itself is approximately 80m across and covered in giant green lilypads. And when you dip your head below the water surface, a wonder-world of blue and green hues will seduce you into the glorious, cool embrace. Schools of tilapia flock languidly within the glittering refraction of the midday sun’s rays as you fin into a surreal mindspace amidst the gentle sway of entwined lily stalks.

What really makes this region special are the characters, though, and what better way to be embedded in the culture than with a traditional #mampoer tasting! We were treated to this intoxicating varietal of moonshine by ‘Die Donkie Boer of Mareetwana’, who refers to this as a ‘tande-borsel’ exercise, as there is no ways plaque will survive the application of a liberal dose of this home-grown and downright lethal spirit.

A few slugs of mampoer set us up for lekker homemade bread and kudu potjie, before we settled in for some cultural storytelling in the school where Bosman himself taught as a young man. Our little cottage at RiverStill Guest Farm – set within a tranquil patch of Indigenous forest right on the edge of the Marico River – made for a superb escape to recover from the after-effects of the tande-borsel session 🙏🍃

The time is now to get out there and support tourism at grass-roots level; you can help change the lives of those thousands of people dependent upon your contribution to their local economy. The next leg of our ‘Long Drive to support SA Tourism’ takes us past #Lotlamoreng Cultural Village near Mahikeng, where we met the incredibly knowledgeable Galefele MatlhwăiMolema, but more on this later. We have to put foot to get to Brigitte Joubert at the The Fat Olive Country Restaurant for a Weber Braai SA food evening, and a dawn #graffitiride with Eelco Meyjes 🙌🏻

None of this would have been possible without the exceptional support of Isuzu South Africa and their kickass vehicles, or Dunlop Tyres SA – thank you 🙏

IHFProducts – Polar in SA Outdoor Warehouse Core Merino Pure Endurance Solutions – Pty Ltd SPOT Africa Front Runner South Africa Vagabond Kayaks Baleia Wines & Olive Oil

#IsuzuSa #WithYouForTheLongRun #DunlopTyresSA #TakeTheRoad #frontrunnerza #BornToRoam #SpotAfrica #GetLostStayFound #PolarSA #ListenToYourBody #BaleiaWines #BeyondExpeditions #NorthwestProvince #noordwes #oZoneAfrica #AndBreathe

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