We bid farewell to Charl and Jennifer at breakfast. On Ernest’s recommendations, we drive down to the village to buy a picnic at Kuiervreugde, the local padstal/café/post office/gossip platform and head towards the main park gate, 17 kilometers further up a dirt track from Kamieskroon.
We have been told this is a poor year for blossoms, owing to the enduring drought. Yet from the moment we enter the Namakwa National Park, we are blown away by the sheer amount of color that carpets its undulating meadows. A bright daisy dominates the landscapes and tints everything orange but once we abandon the Subaru to hike the short Skilpad trail, we notice an endless palette of unbelievable colour: pale yellow, gold, pink, purple, red, ochre, burgundy, violet, sparkly white.
While we eat our sandwiches in the wildflowers, Leanne overhears a conversation among regular flower-goers and suddenly decides the drought’s effects on the region’s fragile economy is worth a news story. She walks in to the office building and wraps up a fertile interview with the park manager in the time it takes Guy, Max and I to finish our picnic. Her intuition confirmed, she decides she wants to take this further and interview a few farmers in the village.
The kids are delighted to spend the afternoon swimming and row boating in the dam at Jeanrico farm so Leanne is free to pursue her journalistic instincts. By dusk, she has compiled and edited sound for four stories on the drought, in Afrikaans and in English. Bathed in the last rays of the day’s sun, she perches on a rock, phone aloft, to try to grab enough signal to send them down to her radio station in Cape Town. Meanwhile, Guy writes a few sentences in his journal, as has become his daily habit, and Max calmly draws a picture on the kitchen table of our stone cottage and boldly declares that “when I am big, I will live in Kamieskroon”. Life is productive on the BRICS road.