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A seriously beautiful country

That’s South Africa, our country. Seriously beautiful.

I had the strange pleasure of driving through it pretty much nonstop this weekend, and I was floored by how much natural beauty there is, in abundance, almost at every turn. We drove from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and back in three days — including visits to Jeffrey’s Bay and Cape St Francis, and a picnic on the old bridge in Knysna. It was for work (obviously, given the short time frame) and I was concerned that trying to cram so much into such a short time would make it all work and no pleasure.

I was wrong.

Interestingly, it wasn’t the much-spoken-about beauty of Knysna and J Bay and St Francis that really struck me. PE is very pretty, Nature’s Valley has some of the most natural, windswept beaches I’ve seen in a long time, and all the hype is (pretty much) true about the tourist destinations.

But then there’s the road in between. Road that cuts through fields of glowing yellow canola flowers and rolling hills dotted with sheep and cattle and our incredible national bird, the blue crane, which is really quite startlingly blue. There’s that distinctive Eastern Cape landscape — a little rugged, a little sparse, but so vast and so incredibly beautiful, in its own special way. There are those stretches of open sea that take your breath away as you round a corner. There is that wide open sky.

Yes, our country has many problems, politically and economically and socially. But I think sometimes we forget, holed away in our city and town lives, just how beautiful it is — how abundant and vast and beautiful South Africa really is. We’re a lucky people to live in this land.