The Plains of Camdeboo.
by Palmer, Eve.
Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg.
The Great Karoo :
"Few people have the good fortune to be born in a desert. I was. All my life I have been conscious of my luck. Not, indeed, that we of the Karoo often think of our land as desert. It is the travellers who have crossed our plateau for two hundred years, and our visitors of today, who have called it this- and still do.
They are right - or almost so! And like other deserts and semi-deserts of the world, ours is a country of life. We have only to walk or ride into the veld to know this and be caught up in its pattern: the squat, fat, angled plants; the hunting spiders that flicker between them; the ground squirrels upright beside their burrows; the vultures; the pale wild gladioli; the cobras; the scorpions; the mantis coloured like a flower; the black beetles rolling balls of dung; the koringkrieks lurching on immense and crooked legs. Here moves a steenbok, a duiker, a springbuck, a lark clapping its wings above us; here are the tracks of an ant-bear in the soil; red dust and a mottled egg upon it; arrowheads; the smell of rain, karoo bush, wild asparagus, mountains and hills floating in a mirage of water, a white hot sky, the sound of cicadas and wings and wind.
This home of my childhood lies towards the southern tip of Africa, on the eastern fringe of a vast plateau, the Great Karoo. It is in the heart of the plains with mountains rising steeply to the north, and like a far blue rim to the east and west."