“Regardless, put me in a car and tell me to head for the hills and a cheesy grin is stuck on this face for at least three days. I just love being out there on the backroads. “
A second and bigger boom started after the war. It was during this period that “feather barons”, ostrich farmers who had become rich, built most of Oudtshoorn’s famously opulent “feather palaces”, their houses, most of them on the west bank of the Grobbelaars River. Ostrich feathers were outranked only by gold, diamonds and wool among South African exports before World War I. The market collapsed in 1914, according to , as a result of “the start of World War I, overproduction and the popularity of open-topped cars, which made ostrich-feather hats impractical.” 80% of the ostrich farmers were bankrupted, and the ostriches were set loose or slaughtered for biltong.
Followed by the historic passes through the Outeniqua hills and if you stand still and listen, you can perhaps catch the clanging of steel tools on rocks.
Blood, sweat and tears seeped into the ground of these forgotten dust tracks. Camera in hand I try and capture a few moments in time, place myself in the footsteps of ghost and wonder what it must have been like back then.
One day I might be brave enough to face this unforgiving history on a bicycle too, but for now the comfort of a car is bliss.Thanks to Mark and Amanda Dixon from www.gardenroutetrail.co.za and Juan Botes and Janine Swart www.chaingangevents.co.za for tagging me along, I loved it. #HowzitSouthAfrica