There must have been rains, recently. For although the earth is dust now, bone white and bone dry, there is evidence preserved within it: spindly three-toed bird tracks, a string of jackal prints. And hoof-marks, of blessbuck and springbok and red-hart wildebeast, like sectioned strawberries, like cloven flint spearheads, like arrows on a crumpled map, pointing this way and that. I like the crunch of them underfoot.
We walk on, past white thornbush and feather-edged cacti, not quite desert, not quite bush.
And then, just ahead, evidence made flesh: they stand, white-socked, curious on the path, horns pricking the empty sky. Then one shies, and suddenly they are all in flight, like the trickle of sand when it turns almost liquid, a golden stream flowing across the path, fleeing us.
One of my felow hikers pauses.
I stop too. There is a warm wind picking up across the Burntkraal hills.
"That's called a 'Berg wind. Comes down from the mountains. Hot."
I breathe it in, smell the land it's come from.
"It means change is on the way."
We don't say anything for a moment, feeling it play across our bare skin.
Then we walk on.