SA Country Life

Shepherd’s Delight

The last sun sweeps across the ironstone krantzes of Kasteelberg, Compassberg and Ouberg north-west of Graaff-Reinet as herder Chris Martins sings out commands to his dog Roxy. She jinks and darts behind a thousand sheep pouring steadily through the bossies.

As they walk and nibble fresh shoots, their hooves flatten moribund grass tussocks into mulch, exposing the growth points to sunlight again. They break up the crusted earth with their sharp hooves. Wherever they go, they leave their dung as a gift to the land and its seeds. When the rains come again, green grasses will spring up here.

It is time to kraal the animals. The sheep stream steadily into the temporary enclosure, made with interlocking gates. Her job done, Roxy heads off and flops down in her basket under Chris’ caravan. It’s been a long day. In dry conditions like these, sheep move further and faster.

This must be one of the most scenic workplaces in the world. Chris (25) sighs with

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