Early Morning Joys in Prince Albert

The owl has noticed my approach long before I’ve seen it perched high on the electricity pole. I stop and stare at my good fortune. I love owls, and sightings are so rare. As I lift my camera to capture the moment, it opens its wings and flies off towards where the bright full moon is setting in a haze of candyfloss pink.

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The air around me is crisp and motionless. There are no cars on the road, and the roosters are doing their best to rise the inhabitants of this small town, but hardly anyone stirs. Gone is the searing heat of yesterday, and the howling wind of the late afternoon. Prince Albert appears to still be in a deep slumber, and I relish the solitude in this wide open expanse of Karoo veld and koppies (small hills).

I catch my breath after scrambling across loose rocks to the top of the hill behind town, and I have just enough time to take a couple of photographs, before the sun peeks over the horizon.

At the top I linger in the first warm rays of the sun, walk the labyrinth, greet an energetic runner, and engage in conversation with a fellow hiker, a tourist from Germany who enthusiastically tells me about how much he loves South Africa.

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During my four night stay the dusty streets of Prince Albert offered an excellent backdrop for my early morning walks, but it was walking on the Robert Gordon Koppie that brought me closer to this arid landscape that never fails to welcome me home.