A rest day - The ninth step ... Somewhere in South Africa - CycleBlaze

December 3, 2020

A rest day

Resting in Rietbron.

Looking south over the village even before I had drunk my first cup of coffee.
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To the north of the village, the plains of the Karoo stretched out as far as the eye could see.
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Extracted from the regional information website:

"The little town of Rietbron, established in 1910, lies in the heart of the Karoo, almost halfway between Beaufort West and Willowmore.  It is the "Karoo dorp" of everyone's imagination, set as it is in Die Vlakte (the plains).  Its main attribute is the friendly folk who live there.

Established in 1910 due to the surrounding farming community's need for a church, school and other social facilities, over 100 years later Rietbron is still a settlement that provides to the most basic needs of its community.  The heart of the town is still the organisations that exist here namely the Church, the School, the Agricultural Association, the Womans' Club and the Tennis Club.

In 1973 uranium was discovered in the area, seen from an airplane on the rocks of a rock garden on the farm Ryskuil.  Options were taken on several farms in the district and in 1977, Esko Minerals purchased Ryskuil.  A test shaft was sunk, a village was laid out and an airfield was built.  But in 1984, Esko discontinued its search for uranium because the price of uranium had declined by 50%."

A description of the town in an advertisement for a guesthouse here read "'n piepklein dorpie tussen niks en nêrens" which translate as a "tiny town between nothing and nowhere".

That pretty much sums up Rietbron.  A place that almost became a mining town but thanks to a declining uranium price managed to escape and remain a sleepy little village.  It has the most amazing sense of ... nothing !  It's the perfect place for a self-disciplined person who has a lot of work to do or for someone who doesn't feel like doing anything at all.

My self-discipline might not be that strong but we managed to get a lot of work done today as well as having a good rest.

This is the river at the southern entrance. Groundwater is practically nonexistent in this area so water is mostly obtained from boreholes.
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Water tanks stand at both entrances to the town.
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The neat little cottage that has been our home during our stay here.
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Rietbron differs from many other rural towns in South Africa in that the demographics of the town population (as opposed to that of the township adjacent to it) is split almost equally between blacks, whites and coloureds (information based on the 2011 census).  The township seems to consist entirely on RDP houses (free housing built by the government) and may be a relatively recent addition (ie post apartheid but don't quote me on this because I could be wrong) and is almost entirely coloured.

The price on the petrol pumps suggest they haven't been used for at least fifteen years.
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About the only ugly building in the town - and it dominates the skyline. Most of the cottages and houses are quite cute, even those that are dilapidated. Similarly, it's a pity the RDP houses in the township couldn't have been styled on the cottages in the town. The size of the cottage in which we are staying is about 48 square meters which is the standard size of an RDP house.
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Today's ride: 2 km (1 miles)
Total: 357 km (222 miles)

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