Peace , Tranquility and A Great Place to 'Stoep-Sit'
NOORSPORT GUEST FARM
A Simpler Life
A welcoming site, this beautiful self-catering 150-year-old farm homestead. Near the settlement of Steylerville, located in the centre of the wool and mohair districts in the south eastern corner of the Great Karoo. A perfect place to relax and recharge.
Daniel & Batman
Host Extraordinaire ...Daniel is sixth generation on the homestead Noorsport. A major contributor to the enjoyment of our stay at the farm with his extensive knowledge of the land Having travelled to forty-seven countries during his life so far, I enjoyed conversing with him on the long veranda, regarding the history of the farm, the land it is built on, the adventure with date farming, the cattle and his 100 dorper sheep ...and his myriad adventures. The veranda with its comfy large chairs and sofas, a perfect place to curl up with a book on a sunny day. The railing holding a 3,500 year old lycopod fossil found on the farm.
Our Black Masked Guide "Batman"
Our Masked Guide on our Morning Hike
It was easy to get lost in another place and time on our visit at Noorsport. An easy and gentle life for a weekend was refreshing to the spirit and soul. The farm house felt alive with a welcoming embrace…filled with history and whispering stories of life lived long ago.
The weekend with like-minded friends (meaning we’re all photographic crazy) in the large homestead with seperate bedrooms and in-suite bathrooms allowed us to spend time in the evening getting to know each other with laughter over a fire in the common braai area…mornings we always seemed to end up in the large, shared kitchen with coffee and conversation around the central table.
Smoke, Fire and Bread
As an expat, I’m still becoming familiar with the traditions and customs of South Africa. Our first evening was an enjoyable experience watching the making of the South African traditional Roosterkoek, said “roor-stir-cook”. Loosely translated ‘grill cake’ …a tradition that started with the indigenous people from the Cape region centuries ago …it is said to be forged in the DNA of the South Africans.
How bread flour, water, yeast, and a little salt mixed and cooked over hot coals can produce such mouth tantalizing tastes, I have no clue…it may be the fresh air that adds that satisfying primeval taste…satisfying little breads, soft on the inside and impressively crunchy on the outside.
Perfect as it is, fresh of the coals…it is also an ideal carrier for many toppings – thick with butter, homemade apricot jam and cheese are possible additives to up the taste scale. Although I have not adopted all the traditional dishes , this is one that I embrace fully. Don’t tell my Mom, but even tastier than her homemade bread…still think it’s the fresh open air.😀
I am always humbled and in awe when I view these formidable rock formations. Formed over six hundred million years ago, the Draaikrans is within walking distance of the homestead.
Eons ago, the Karoo was under the Algoa sea and the warm temperatures caused the rock to be malleable to the movement of the earth’s plates over time.
“…granite blocks piled and poised by nature in some mood of fury. – Author: Isabella Bird
I have never been happier, more exhilarated, at peace, rested, inspired, and aware of the grandeur of the universe and the greatness of God than when I find myself in a natural setting not much changed from the way He made it. – Author: Jimmy Carter
Sometimes there are just enough words…you must stand in the presence of such grandeur and let it wash over and through you …know that we are also made of the same stardust.
With the pristine night skies without the city light pollution…our evenings were filled with entertaining and instructional photographic jaunts into the cold darkness with cameras and tripods. Although I had seen articles about light painting, this was my first experience in learning the technique. My photos were definitely not show worthy (more like trash bin), but the numb fingers were worth the experience. Our instructors went above and beyond expectations, walking back and forth in the dark with the large Darth Vader saber light, while we all adjusted our speed, apertures and ISOs to get some kind of image in the black of the night.
One member played with his red laser pen. 😅 while another gracious soul of our club volunteered to be a ghost in the family graveyard on the homestead. So much fun and hilarity ensued. Trying to hold a flashlight between her knees while everyone directed her on how to hold her hands for the best effect 🏆🏆🏆🏆 was deserving of many thank you’s.
The Bad and the Ugly
There is so much that I love about my experience living here…beautiful beach, majestic mountains, wildlife, the abundance of natural habitats, a more slow and relaxed life and ohhh the weather🌞. South Africa has captured my heart.
“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?”
Amid the beauty, there are the townships, the clusters of RDP housing among the older shacklands of people living in collapsing containers, and old wooden structures with no running water or electricity. Poverty is in every country in the world, yet in South Africa inequality is among the highest in the world and poverty estimated at 63% last year (3). Heart-wrenching scenes besiege the eyes and senses on every corner of every city in South Africa. There are no clear answers that assuage the issues for all those involved, including the whites who are now discriminated against, deprived of jobs, land and businesses taken away in recompense.
Reminiscent of government control, exploitation, and the segregation of the American Indians native people. (1) In the early 1900’s Apartheid segregated non-white from white. Black, Colored and Indians were forced out of their homes and moved to poorly constructed ‘townships’. “Any group considered non-white were not allowed to live in the city” (2). Although desegregated since 1994, townships for me are a visible representation of one of the most haunting and heart-rending aspects of the inhumanity of man to man…
I had seen ‘townships’ from the car, yet never experienced the day-to-day life of those who live there. This weekend that was remedied with a photographic outing. One of our group had photographed a family who lived in a township and arranged for us to take photographs and experience the lives of the same family in exchange for treats and fruit for the children. This was my experience …
If there is a piece of advice that I would like to pass on, summed up in a quote by Harsh Snehanshu…”Travel, not to see places but to meet people. They are the ones who make those places memorable. In one weekend, I meet amazing people that have persevered with a mental toughness, cultivating emotional agility…surviving and triumphing amid unthinkable circumstances. One of those that a group from the camera club visited in support was ..
I now, weak, old, diseased, poor, dying, hold still my soul in my hands, and I regret nothing. W Somserset Maughan
A Traditional Experience for Toursists and Locals Alike
Lizzy’s Khaya (translated a home or hut) specializes in serving with traditional Karoo foods such as roosterkoek, vetkoek and curry lamb stews…such dessert such delicious sweets as koeksusters, malva pudding and the South African creamy melktert . A warm hospitable culinary experience one must try when in Steylerville. A truly remarkable woman gives hope with her beautiful life example.
To sustain herself and her family financially, she spent many years as a housekeeper in Port Elizabeth. She wanted a simpler Karro life and choose Steytlerville to put her roots down and follow the dream that she had held tightly in her heart. She started simply with a small spaza shop. Now I had to look that up too..A spaza shop, also known as a tuck shop, is an informal convenience shop business in South Africa, usually run from home. They also serve the purpose of supplementing household incomes of the owners, selling small everyday household items (4) and expanded to include the restaurant. A phenomenal woman who stayed the course until she attained her dream. What beautiful inspiration…a picture of hope and love! (5)…☎ See what’s on the menu @ 049 835 0341
At 16 Victoria St in Steytlerville, another story of a plucky woman with fortitude. Mr. P & I have been looking for succulents to cover the bare spots in the garden. Succulents are always an excellent choice here in South Africa drought tolerant and cold hardy…With my less than ‘green’ thumb, easy to care for and long blooming.
Southern Africa is one of the most succulent rich areas in the world. Of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species, nearly half originate from Southern Africa. (6)
We were greeted by the sweetest lady and led through her spectacular garden back to the nursery. A wonder of a myriad colours, shapes, and sizes. She told us her story of when her husband died after 40+ years of marriage, she needed a reason to get out of bed…and began her nursery. I couldn’t pick just one or two, so many different shapes, sizes, and colours of blooms…every time Mr. P took a plant to pay for, I would find another that ‘I just had to have’…😂
And so much more...
- Pictures of Lizzy and the restaurant contributed by Sidney Truter