An Ode to Nieu Bethesda

O Nieu Bethesda, thou breath of the Great Karoo

nourishment in this desert land

that lieth not far from Camdeboo

with roads made of endless sand

that leadth visitors along the compass–

cardinal points: four

to this, the place where owls kiss

leaving everyone wanting for more.

O Nieu Bethesda, thou art an artist’s muse:

the gentle lay of your land

where water and mountain doth fuse

‘Tis the place where poplars stand.

Helen and her Camel Yard

beneath the sky so blue

A mind marred:

and so off she flew.

Alas Nieu Bethesda, ’twas but a brief rendezvous,

My heart flowth as your Gats River

but I must bid thee adieu.

Warm winds your branches doth quiver

And winter bringeth blue cranes

Then late summer rains

Let this not maketh you vain,

But my longing to return I cannot feign.

Update: I wrote an article about Nieu-Bethesda for the January 2016 issue of Mango Airlines Juice Magazine.


I was hosted by South African Tourism, I maintain full editorial control of all content published on this website. You can find more of my photographs from this road trip on my Instagram account by using the #EagerJourneysSA hashtag and read more about it at my Meet South Africa post.

Iga Motylska

Iga Motylska is a Johannesburg-based freelance writer, photojournalist, sub-editor and blogger. She is published in numerous local and international publications, including: Forbes Africa, Forbes Woman Africa, Forbes Life Africa, CNBC Africa, Ventures Africa, Marie Claire, Sawubona, AA Traveller, Fastjet inflight magazine and Seoul Magazine among numerous others. Her editorial interests range from documenting the entrepreneurial spirit to women's and human rights issues, environmental affairs and of course travel writing.


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  3. this is my 2010 post, edited and republished
    Koos Malgas is forgotten – the man who created the sculptures from Miss Helen’s rough sketches.

  4. Love your images and poetry!

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