FOOD

THE RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE WORLD An hour’s drive from Kamieskroon, we come across it by chance, up a rough road in Namaqualand, as pitted as gorgonzola, in the middle of the Brokenveld – a real geological term for the rugged topography of this area – a place that has changed little little since the Jurassic period. The rocks here are between 600 and 1500 million years old. The sign reads, “Nourivier (Narrow River) – Traditional food, tea and coffee” Namaqualand in the Northwest Cape on the borders of Namibia is unknown and uncared about because like a butterfly its time of beauty is so fleeting, a springtime of flowers more beautiful than anywhere on earth, that rise after the spring rains in a crush of colours of neon intensity. The countryside, even in this short, lush season after the spring rains, is flinty and elemental, a semi desert, a dolerite escarpment with folds of limestone that look like pancakes, knobs of rock balancing one on another, veined with milky quartz arteries that shine like rivers. You can pick up a handful of stones that resemble rich jewels. It was in these Southern African coasts with its capricious, sometimes violent climate, that the first Portuguese explorers had their first glimpse of the people of the area. These people were wiry yellow-skinned who called themselves Khoikhoi which means men of men. They shared the land with a smaller, even wirier people whom they called San and from whom they were descended. It is with the San that human story of Southern African really starts. The descendents of these people still live in this part of the world, their style of living has changed little and because of frequent drought conditions poverty is often extreme. The menu at the restaurant at the end of the world is not for sissies or anyone worried about cholesterol. much of it is plucked from the veld and the flavours are fugitive and a little untamed which sometimes takes a bit of getting used to. The basis of the food is mutton, sometimes lamb, freshly slaughtered from the roaming flocks dimly visible on the escarpment. The menu changes according to what is available but we eat wildebrei, a mutton stew made with hotnoskool (a type of wild asparagus)

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