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"Rose's Round-up on Tourism" is one of the most sought after South African tourism publications. Rose Willis, the editor and publisher of this treasure, succeeded in turning the unknown semi-desert Central Karoo region into a tourism gem with these interesting news snippets unveiling the Karoo's tourism treasures to visitors.

Rose Willis het inderdaad 'n resep beet waar sy 'n wÍrelddeel soos die Karoo interessant, lewendig en aantreklik maak vir voornemende besoekers. Merk gerus hierdie bladsy en kom kuier gereeld hier om ingelig te bly oor al die Karoo-skatte wat Rose in daardie mooi wÍrelddeel uitgrawe en dan op 'n baie besondere wyse opdis.

Click on the month to go to that newsletter:
No. 74    January 2000 No. 75  February 2000 No. 76  March 2000
No. 77  April 2000 No. 78  May 2000 No. 79  June 2000
No. 80  July 2000 No. 81  August 2000 No. 82  September 2000
No. 84  Nov/Dec 2000 No. 85  January 2001 No. 86  February 2001
No. 87  March 2001 No. 88  April 2001 No. 89  May 2001
No. 90 June 2001    

Rose's Roundup  No. 74   January 2000

MERWEVILLE HOPS INTO THE FROG ATLAS

Besides being welcome in the Karoo to rejuvinate life, good rains during the festive season brought Merweville a strange fame. The steady downpours encouraged herpetologist Atherton de Villiers to visit and search for frogs. His research into reptiles and amphibians has led to him becoming the regional co-ordinator for the South African Frog Atlas project in the Western Cape.  He was accompanied by wife Rikki, a chief nature conservator at Jonkershoek, in Stellenbosch.  “We chose the Koup as no previous  records existed for the area,” said Atherton.  “As we drove into the tiny town at dusk we were delighted to hear an almost deafening frog chorus echoing from a nearby  stream.  We grabbed our torches and rushed off, staying in the veld and searching for  pools until late at night. The locals found this rather odd, and we got many a curious stare during our three-day stay. In general, the locals found it most unusual to see two city-dwellers searching the muddy veld pools by torchlight until the wee hours of the morning.  Explaining that we were searching for frogs only caused eyebrows to rise even further. But our efforts were most successful.” Atherton and Rikki found Cape sand frogs, Cape river frogs, common platannas, common cacos and Karoo toads.  “The last two have delightful Afrikaans names,” said Atherton.   “The caco is  the ‘gewone blikslaanertjie’ and the Karoo toad  the ‘skurwe of pispadda’.  None of the species are rare,  nor unusual, but we were excited because they helped Merweville hop into the Frog Atlas.  They also enabled us to appointed some new ‘paddasoekers’ in the Great Karoo.”

EINAARDIGE WATERDIERTJIES ONTDEK

‘n Karoo-besoek oor die feesgety het tot groot opwinding gelei vir ‘n man van  Mpumalanga. Op pad Kaap-toe het Gerrie Theron, van Blyderivierspoort Nasionale Park, besluit om ‘n draai te maak by neef Andrť op sy pragplaas Nova Vita in die Merweville distrik, en daar,  tydens  ‘n uitstappie in die veld,  het hy op heelwat eienaardige waterdiertjies afgekom.   Onder hulle was ‘n goudgeel vissie, ‘n paddavissie, ‘n skilpadagtige diertjie  “wat soos ‘n oerdier lyk” en ‘n snaakse klein mossel.  “Gerrie was so beÔndruk dat hy verdere ondersoek gaan instel om uit te vind of hulle nuwe of rare spesies is,” sÍ Andre se vrou Suzaan.  Sy vertel dat heelwat toeriste en joernaliste nadere kennis kom maak het met hulle nuwe asemrowende 4 x 4 roete.  “Almal was dit eens.  Die uitsigte is ongelooflik.”

NEW  BOOK ON KAROO BIRDS

The latest book on the birds of the Karoo has just been published. “Birds of the Swartberg and Gamkaspoort Nature Reserves,” written by Dave Osborne and Rob Little, costs only R40.  “This well-researched, affordable guide  will be  invaluable to those who enjoy birdwatching in this area,” said Japie Claassen, secretary of the William Quinton Wild Bird Society.   Copies can be ordered directly from Dave Osborne at 18 Uitsig Street, Still Bay, 7599.  “The Total CWAC Report, which includes details of annual water bird counts over the past five years,  is now available from Sue Kieswetter at ADU University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7701.  It costs R120 and is a wonderful acquisition for any birder’s library,” said Japie.

YOUNG TEXAN SALUTES HEART TRANSPLANT PIONEER

A nine-year-old Texas schoolboy chose a man on the other side of the world for a year-end project, “The person you most admire.”  Kyle Butler, of Bendwood School in Houston, Texax, chose heart transplant pioneer Professor Chris Barnard “because he has long been my inspiration.  He has filled me with desire to one day become a veterinary surgeon.”  The only problem facing young Kyle was how to gather sufficient information on this famous man in so short a time. “With my mom’s help, we browsed the Internet and found  a site for Beaufort West. We phoned the museum and they put us in touch with Rose Willis at the Central Karoo Tourism Office.  She and museum curator Sandra Smit couldn’t have been more helpful.”  Information and photographs were faxed to him  and he was easily able to meet his tight deadline and prepare a winning project.  “I gave a great presentation on Professor Barnard with your help,” he wrote. “ Now my friends at Bendwood, part of Spring Branch Independent School District,  know all about this famous man, the little Karoo town where he was born and the region in which he lived and where he today has a farm.   I consider Professor Barnard to have been a very brave man to have had the courage to do what no man had ever done before.  He set an example for many other doctors to follow, and through him many lives have been saved. He is   my inspiration. I only hope that I can follow his example and make an equal success of my  amibtion to become a veterinary surgeon.”

MUSEUM MAN OP SOEK NA SLAWE

Die eerste slawe het in 1658 in Suid-Afrika aangekom.  Van hulle het gevlug en in die wildernisgebied van die Groot Karoo skuiling gesoek. Met die noordwaartse migrasie van die trekboere het slawe saam gekom. Michael Jonas, van WesKaap Provinsiale Museumdienste, is nou besig om stories van slawe en slaaf roetes in te win en  het Round-up se hulp gevra.  Daar word melding gemaak van slawe  in die gedenkboek van Beaufort-Wes se Moedergemeente. In 1825 het ds Colin Fraser 25 slawe in die kerk gedoop,  aangeneem en hulle name in die kerkregisters aangeteken.  Dr Heinrich Lichtenstein, ‘n Duitser  wat in 1803 deur  die Karoo gereis het, het geskryf van  slawe op Hooyvlakte wat vrugte versigtig  op riet matte uitgepak het om in die son te droog. Talle ander reisigers maak melding van slawe en Robert Gordon, die eerste witman wat die Oranjerivier gesien het, vertel van ‘n slaaf, Goliat, wat  ‘n leeu in die Camdeboo met ‘n assegaai dood gesteek het nadat  die dier sy vriend doodgebyt het. Op Klipplaatsfontein, nou deel van die Karoo Nasionale Park, is daar glo ou slawegrafte. Die volle storie hieragter word nog ondersoek. Na die vrylating van slawe het Rev Guy Gething, van die Christchurch Anglikaanse Kerk in Beaufort-Wes, tot in Noord-Afrika gestap saam met ‘n slaaf  om die man weer veilig in die boesem van sy familie te besorg. Michael soek diť soort stories om die geskiedenis van die Karoo te verryk.

OLD WATER SYSTEM STILL A WINNER

The Karoo town of Beaufort West relies heavily on underground water.  Initially, water came from fountains and wells. Then,  on  June 17, 1892, the town council decided that a more modern and effective drinking water system was needed. The system they built stood the test of time so well that it is still in use and was recently  featured in a modern municipal engineering magazine. This “tunnel water system,” which   operates on seepage, came on stream  in 1895 at the cost of  £1 890, the fee for a consultant. The system consists of an underground shaft linked to a pipeline by a 358-metre tunnel. Water, gathered by seepage, is moved to town by  gravity. The system’s initial rate of delivery  is not known, but today its maximum  is 16 /sec.  Town engineer Louw Smit says: “Today Beaufort West’s water comes from the Gamka Dam and 19 boreholes.  However, because the town is still dependent on underground water, this ancient pipeline, which has had its pipes replaced many times in its long history, will always play an integral part in the water supply system.”

NAWEEK VIR MANNE WAT ‘N ROWWE RIT VERKIES (Tel  011-907-1904)

‘n Uitdagende naweek wag op 4 x 4 entoesiaste in Merweville vanaf Maart 30 tot April 1.    Francois Rossouw, van Radio Sonder Grense,  reŽl ‘n naweek van pret op twee plase, Nova Vita en Banksgate. Hulle roetes is reeds  met lof bekroon in die Desember uitgawe van Leisure Wheels.   Verblyf word  by Springbok Lodge gereŽl, waar daar ‘n volgrote snoekertafel en pragtige lapa braai is.

MAD DASH TO SAFETY PAST A FLOTILLA OF COFFINS

Heavy rains in the Karoo can conjure up some strange sights.  In the severe flood in Beaufort West in 1940, coffins floating about in New Street delayed a Beaufort man long enough for him to help save a young mother and her baby.   The story of the flood in the info sheet “Town Astride an Ancient World, brought memories of the incident flooding back to Almero de Villiers. He recalled the pouring rain and  rapidly rising waters of the Gamka River.   “I was hurrying along New Street in search of shelter. As I passed the premises of  Mr Deas, the local undertaker, near the the corner of New and Union streets, I was confronted by the wierdest sight.  His entire stock of coffins was bobbing and drifting about in his  yard like some macabre flotilla.  It was a rivetting.  I just  stood staring.   Then, as I turned to continue my dash to a dryer place, I saw  a two-and-a-half foot wall of water rushing straight at  me.  It was sweeping a tangle of  cardboard boxes, old tin cans, newspapers and assorted debris before it. Out of nowhere a young woman carrying a baby in her arms stepped on to the stoep of a New Street house.  She stared in horror, frozen and panic-stricken.  Then she began to scream. Above the roar of the storm and water I yelled: ‘Run, run to the Kingsley Hotel.’ The urgency of my voice penetrated her panic and she set off at record-breaking pace.  Both she and the baby escaped the roaring waters totally unscathed. Shaking, we stood at the hotel watching New Street turn into a raging river.” 

BBC TV SOEK INLIGTING OOR DIE KAROO

Richard Chambers van BBC TV se Natuurlike Geskiedeniseenheid het ‘n groot voorliefde vir die Karoo.   ‘n Paar jaar gelede het hy ‘n reeks in die gebied as deel van Aspects of Life verfilm.  Nou is hy op soek na inligting vir ‘n reeks oor droogland gebiede en woestyne wat tydens 2000 en 2001 geskiet gaan word.   Hy soek boesmantekeninge, sowel as inligting oor die sprinkaanswerms en springbok-migrasies. Richard  wil ook meer weet oor sneeu in ariede zones, so wel as van die verhouding tussen dassies en arende in die voedsel ketting.   Hy soek inligting oor die kwagga-projek sowel as enige eienaardige stories op Karoo plase.  Richard wil ook  meer leer van hans diertjies, struike en blomme  “Dis hoog tyd dat die res van die wÍreld die prag van die Karoo ontdek,” sÍ hy.

CHEEKY LITTLE SPORTS CARS FOLLOW THE GHOSTS

Of late, Prince Albert in the Karoo has been attracting some quite exotic examples of the car makers’ art. The main attraction, seems to be the awesome Swartberg Pass, a motoring enthusiast’s delight. First there were the magnificent  Rolls Royce Silver Ghosts  and just recently those quintessentially British sports cars, MG TD’s.  The MG trip to the town and over the pass was organised by Joan Parker, of Cape Town, who has tracked down 151 of these cars throughout South Africa. “Only about half are roadworthy, the remainder being in various stages of restoration. Not surprising, since the first of these vehicles rolled off  the production line on November 10, 1949. The tour of the Cape, Karoo, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal was so successful that I hope to make it an annual event.”

BOERE IN BEAUFORT-WES VEREER

Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog is Beaufort -Wes in die Karoo verdeel tussen die  pro-Boer en pro-Brit faksies op die dorp. Round-up leser John Sinclair, van Loxton, stuur die volgende brokkie uit Jan H Meyer se boek Kommandojare. So skryf Meyer: “Na die vrede was ek in die Kaap en het saam met Generaal van Deventer na Matjiesfonteinstasie gery. Hier haal ons die trein na Beaufort-Wes waar ‘n rebelle kolom onder ‘n sekere Kommandant Golding die wapens sou neerlÍ. Beaufort-Wesstasie staan geskaar met mense. Toe Generaal van Deventer en sy gevolg die trein uitklim word ons beet gegryp en hoog op die skouers gedra tot buite in die straat.” Daar het die skare die Boere kommandante so toegejuig dat Meyer skoon ‘n knop in sy keel gekry het.

AUSTRIAN STUDENTS STUDY KAROO SUCCULENTS

Two   students from the University of Innsbruck in Austria have just completed a research project in Prince Albert.  Andreas Schwarzenberger and Peder Sader spent three months in the village studying bird habitat resources  and shade succulents under the supervision of Drs Sue and Richard Dean.  “The bird project covered 16 sites in domestic gardens, fields and the veld.  The shade succulent project broke new  ground as so little has been recorded on these plants,” said Sue.

ARTHUR DAVEY, THE MAN WHO MADE HISTORY A DELIGHT

A great  supporter, contributor and friend of Round-up, historian Dr Arthur Davey, died at the end of last year at the age of 78. News of his death came as a shock to the world of South African historical researchers.  He seemed to be on the road to recovery after a fierce south-easter had flung him from his feet in Cape Town and landed him in hospital with severe concussion. Dr Davey was among the first callers at the Central Karoo Tourism Office shortly after it opened. He was searching for a British soldier’s grave.  From that day on this quiet, unassuming man with the twinkling eyes and keen sense of humour stayed in touch   by sending snippets of Karoo information, found in the course of his many research programmes, for use in Round-up. Each was written in his own curious, spidery handwriting, but all were  treasures  well worth deciphering. Many were amusing cameos that reflected his love for a story with a twist. Arthur Davey was that rarity that made a pleasure trip of  a journey into history.  His support over the years will be missed and not forgotten.

SPOKE, ‘n  SENDINGSTASIE EN GRAFTE OP DIE OU ROETES

Die navorsingsprojek om inligting in te win oor ou plase nou, binne die gebied van die Karoo Nationale Park, vorder goed. Tot nou toe het die soektog stories van bannelinge, spoke, slawe en sendelinge opgelewer, almal klein deeltjies van  ‘n kleurvolle verhaal. Die ou sendingstasie, op die plaas Kookfontein buite Beaufort-Wes het ‘n ryk geskiedenis. Dit was in 1818 gestig en twee uiters suksesvolle veeveilings is daar gehou. Na die eerste een het die Griekwas van Griekwastad  met 25 swaar gelaaide waens by die drostdy verby gery op pad huistoe.  Die volgende jaar se mark was nog meer suksesvolle en bygewoon deur  leiers soos Adam Tas. Erasmus Smit, later bekend as sendeling onder die Voortrekkers, het by die stasie opgetree, maar die moeilikhede wat hy daar ondervind het het amper sy moed en sy hart gebreek. Na twee jaar is die sendingstasie ontbind en die grond verkoop.  Daar is interessante ou grafte op die plaas en ‘n grillerige area bekend as Spookbos.

REGIMENTS SALUTE EACH OTHER IN KAROO

One man’s act of bravery during the Anglo-Boer War has resulted in the affiliation of a British and a South African regiment a century later.  When Major A E A Butcher, commanding officer of the 4th Field Battery, placed two 15-pound field guns on Cole’s Kop to shell Boer positions on the outskirts of Colesberg, he little realised  he was stepping into the pages of  history.  The Boers eventually won the day but the honour of the action fell to Butcher’s regiment, which eventually became the 14th Cole’s Kop Air Defence Battery. The remains of the last field gun in action that day can be seen at the Kemper Museum in Colesberg. With this field piece the Boers  were pinned down for a considerable time. Then the gunners pushed the gun over the edge of the koppie to prevent its capture. Members of this British regiment, now based at Woolwich, near London,  England, recently visited to commemorate the battle and become affiliated to the SANDF 6th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.

AN ESTATE AGENT, THE BOER FLAG AND THE TITANIC

In 1912, Cape Town real estate agent Thomas William Brown was faced with a major decision.   The  market was “in serious decline,” so he had to either extend his real estate and land speculation business into the hinterland and  Karoo or return to America.  Finally he felt his family would have a better future in Seattle.  So, early in 1912, he left for the United Kingdom with his wife, Elizabeth, and their 15-year old daughter, Edith, and then sail to the United States in style on the Titanic on its maiden voyage.  Brown was an affluent man, but he had to be content with second class berths.  By the time he booked, all first class accommodation had been   taken. The Brown family persished when the “unsinkable” Titanic went down  after striking an iceberg. One of the crewmen who  survived, Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller,  had a curious link with South Africa. The White Star Line’s management had transferred him to this new ship and “bumped him down to second officer” shortly afte he “contrived to fire a salute to the Boers and hoist a Boer flag on a company vessel in Sydney Harour.” It never became clear what Lightoller’s motive was. He later played a vital role at the inquiry into the Titanic disaster,  shedding  much light on what happened on that fateful night of April 14, 1912.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 75   February 2000

KAROO PARK GETS THE KEY

The ever-popular Karoo National Park, outside Beaufort West, will be 21 years old in September.   Special plans are being made to celebrate the big day. The park,  little more than a dream in 1950 when local farmer William Quinton started his campaign for a conservation area in the vicinity of Beaufort West, plays a vital role in the tourism mix of the Central Karoo.  Since its official opening on September 7, 1979, it has served the local and international tourism markets, as well as the local community. “Our aim  is to encourage visitors to experience the Karoo, feel its magic and hold on to its vitality,” says park manager Leighton Hare. “The  park’s popularity for brief visits, day trips,  overnight stays and short holidays is  proof that we are succeeding in our objectives.  The park was established to protect a representative area of the Great Karoo as part of South Africa’s natural heritage, to encourage visitors to enjoy the fauna, flora, scenic diversity and essential wilderness area of the Great Karoo, to protect the soil, vegetation, watershed and catchment areas as well as rare and endangered species and to preserve cultural history.  We are currently involved in a major research project involving all communities to capture as much of the cultural diversity of the area as we can.”  Children from  Nature Conservation groups at local schools are helping collect and document interesting snippets of information on the farms the park recently acquired. “We never lose sight of the fact that children helped to make this park a reality. They ceaselessly sold stamps as part of a fund-raising drive. We constantly  encourage their participation in nature conservation.”

REAKSIE LEI TOT  TWEEDE UITSTAPPIE

Merweville se uitnodiging aan 4 x 4 entoesiaste om hulle wÍreld in Maart te kom verken het goeie reaksie gelok.  Die uitnodiging word deur Kobus Rossouw  se program op Radio Sonder Grense gerig en omdat die roetes op Nova Vita en Banksgate al in die pers met lof bekroon is stel heelwat mense belang.  Maar daar is nogtans diegene wat net kans sien vir die Karoo in die winter.   Vir hulle reel Merweville ‘n tweede uitstappie in Junie. Volle besonderhede is verkrygbaar van Kallie le Roux, Tel No. 083-255-6931.

CRY OF THE FISH EAGLE ECHOES ACROSS THE PLAINS

Fish eagles have moved into the Great Karoo. There are already seven breeding pairs at dams in the central area.  For quite some time these raptors could only be seen at Anysberg Nature Reserve, 75 km from Laingsburg. Then, local farmer Murray de Villiers spotted a pair at Floriskraal dam, and another pair near the farm  La-De-Da, in the Beaufort West district. Birders have reported fish eagles at Gamkapoort Dam  in the heart of the Swartberg mountains, at Oukloof Dam and  on Herman Olivier’s farm Vrischgewaagt, near Prince Albert.   Fish eagles have also been seen at Leeu  Gamka Dam,  at the Karoo National Park, Gamka Dam and near the Sak River in the Beaufort West area.  Japie Claassen, secretary of the William Quinton Wild Bird Society, says: “The wild shriek of the fish eagle is a wonderful sound.   It’s a treat for tourists now to be able to see and hear the cries of these magnificent raptors at so many places in this arid zone.”

SEARCH IS ON FOR OLD REGIMENTS

A dual search  for information on two old  Beaufort West regiments has started.  Natie Greeff, curator of the Castle Museum in Cape Town, needs information on the Beaufort West Volunteer Rifles, also known as the Beaufort West Burghers.   Samuel van der Berg, of Port Elizabeth, wants to know more about  the Beaufort West Tigers.  “The Beaufort West Volunteer Rifles, were in fact K-Company of the Cape Western Rifles,”  says Natie.  “The regiment was raised on February 9, 1894, with an  authorised strength of 100 men.  Among  the first to be attested  was Surgeon Lieutenant P O’Callaghan.  Captain A N Krummeck and Second Lieutenant J H Bell were attested on July 1, 1894.   The regiment served in many major campaigns.   Two men received Basotuland Bars for their Cape of Good Hope General Service Medals,  and 10 were presented with Transkei Bars.  We need information and photographs, if possible, so that the men of Beaufort West can be included in a booklet we are compiling  on the Western Rifles.”  Samuel stumbled on the Beaufort Tigers while indulging his passion for old photographs. Rummaging at  a flea market stall he discovered a yellowed picture of 16 mounted men outside a house in  Donkin Street.  “They look as if they are setting off on an Anglo-Boer War campaign,” he said. “I’d love to be sure.”

DIE SELFOON DIENS WAT NOOIT SLAAP NIE

Beaufort-Wes het nou ‘n 24-uur selfoon diens. Onder beheer van  Marcello Viscardi van  Mike’s 24-uur kafee in Donkinstraat, is dit ‘n diens wat al met lof  bekroon is. “Toeriste het veel meer as koeldranke en etes nodig deur die dag en nag,” sÍ Marcello.   “Om in kontak te bly met hulle vriende en familie dwarsoor die wÍreld het hulle ook selfoon batterye en kaartjies nodig op die mees onmoontlike tye.  Ons het besluit om die belangrike mark sektor te dien.”

INVESTIGATING THE FRONTIER POLICE

Three Beaufort West men were once part of a crack frontier police force. Now, Mr J M J Leach, who is compiling the history of the Bechuanaland Border Police is searching for more information on Colin Albert Fraser, who served in 1893,  Meintjies Frazer and William Charles Daniel, who were members of the force from its inception in August, 1893,  until 1896. “This British Imperial military unit, considered one of the best frontier forces,  served the Bechuanaland Crown Colony and Bechuanaland Protectorate, now the Northern Cape and Botswana, respectively,” says Mr Leach. “In the Matabele War of 1893 Daniel, known as ‘a wild lad from Beaufort West’ and a Trooper Wilson, from England, earned notoriety by stealing the monetary token of surrender of  Lobengula, chief of the Matabele.”

VERSLANKENDE STOP IN BEAUFORT-WES

(Tel No. 0201-52063)

Beaufort-Wes het ‘n nuwe koffie-kuierplek en kuns gallery in Donkinstraat.  Eienaars Henry en Charlene van Schalkwyk bied smullekker kos, soos wafels, skons, muffins en wortelkoek aan met geurryke koffee en ‘n keuse van tees.  Daar is ook ‘n  spesiale spyskaart vir verslankers.  Op permanente uitstalling is werke van Christiaan Nice, een van die top vyf kunstenaars in die land. “Ons het hom gekies omdat hy hom vereenselwig met die Karoo en mense is gaande oor sy donkie-karre, karretjie-mense en landskappe.”    Christiaan Nice is ‘n self-geleerde kunstenaar wat al vir 40 jaar skilder. Sy werke is net by sy Hartebeespoortgallery en in Beaufort-Wes verkrygbaar.

TASTE THE KAROO IN CAPE TOWN

(Tel No. 021 797 8202)

A traditional Karoo dish tantalises the taste buds at a Cape Town restaurant.  Visitors to Parks Restaurant, in Constantia, are amazed to see Karoo ‘muise’ on the menu.  Head chef Christian Hale included this traditional liver, kidney and caulfat faggot on the menu so that gourmets “can savour the flavour of the  hinterland.”Christian says: “It’s mentioned in a review in Food and Home Entertaining’s January issue among other platteland pleasantries designed to encourage the epicurean elite to be adventurous.” Among the other delights of inland eating are a guinea fowl main course followed by sousklontjies for desert.  These are dainty dumplings that float in a rich butter and cinnamon sauce. Certainly not for dieters, but well worth the damage to the waistline, say those who’ve sampled this Karoo cuisine.

A SALUTE TO HORSE AND RIDER

The flags of the old Republics will once again be carried through the Great Karoo to Pretoria by horsemen.  This historic ride, intended as part of the Anglo-Boer War commemorative centenary, will salute the horses and riders of the Boer War.  Scheduled to start on June 3 in Stellenbosch, it will end with a mock battle at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 17, the day the South Africa rugby team plays England. In his book To Horse and Away, Jose Berman writes: “Horses were the true losers of the Anglo-Boer War. Of the 520 000 horses the British Army used in South Africa, 326 073 died of exhaustion and disease. No veterinary corps yet existed to supervise and destroy sick or maimed animals. This only came into being in 1903. Without the horse the Boers could not have fought the war, nor the British won it. Both sides took their horses for granted and used them ruthlessly, often driving them to the limits of endurance and beyond.  By the end of the war  the Cape Horse, once a prized cavalry mount, had virtually vanished. This horse bore the brunt of the war on the Boer side.  Basutoland had been drained of her ponies and it took years for the breed to regain its status. All stock on Karoo farms had been commandeered and many once famous studs never bred horses again.” Hennie Ahlers and Willem Heine, of Nooitgedacht Stud, who are organising the commemorative  ride,  agree with Robert Smit Surtees, who, in an 1883 issue of Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour, wrote: “There is no bond so close as that between a rider and his horse.”   Their cavalcade, carrying a variety of historic South African flags, as well as those from many countries that took part in the war, will travel from Stellenbosch, through Worcester, Beaufort West, Graaff Reinet, Colesberg, Kimberley, Bloemfontein, Kroonstad, Potchefstroom and Rustenburg en route to Pretoria. A programme honouring the horse will be presented at each town.   Messages of goodwill will be gathered along the route for presentation to the State President at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. There will be a commando ride and gymkhana events in Beaufort West on June 6, 2000.

TWEEDE DE BEER RE‹NIE BEPLAN

Al die De Beers in Suid-Afrika word weereens uitgenooi na ‘n groot familie reŁnie in Prins Albert.  Die eerste saamtrek wat laasjaar in die historiese dorpie gehou is, was ‘n reuse sukses    Die reŁnie sal vanaf 30 Junie tot l Julie gehou word en die program sluit in nostalgiese besoeke aan geskiedkundige plekke wat van belang sal wees vir familielede.   Verdere inligting van Trudie Nel by 023-541-1366.

BEAUFORT WEST SCHOOL PART OF WORLDWIDE HANDSHAKE

St Mathews School in Beaufort-Wes is part of the worldwide Flags and Friends project.  Under the guidance of English teacher Eugene Grant, they exchange information with schools in Argentina, Canada, the USA, the UK, Israel, Taiwan, Australia, Nigeria, Germany, Japan, Cyprus and Brazil by snail and e.mail. “The idea is to learn more about each other’s world in general,”   says Eugene “It’s an exciting and practical-awareness project.  Each child has to contribute to the programme by researching and writing about his town, a great deal of which is based on tourism. We recently received a package from Taiwan containing tourist information, a Coke, quite odd with its foreign lettering, a newspaper, pictures, postcards and a variety of unusual snack packages. We’re compiling information too. We’ve included  Western Cape tourism guides, Karoo   brochures and as much interesting information on Beaufort West and South Africa as possible.”

TORTOISE A HONEYMOON HIT

Honeymooners Jan and Minnie van Zyl accepted a 100-year-old mountain tortoise as an omen of happiness.  They arrived at the Karoo National Park.as Central Karoo District Council health inspector Danie van Rensburg was handing the ancient creature to the park’s tourism officer Sidney Witbooi. “We celebrated Minnie’s birthday, then Valentine’s day and   the next day we got married,” said Jan.  “Now, on the first day of our honeymoon, we see a magnificent tortoise.  We love these creatures as they appear to symbolise peace, tranquillity  and long life.”  They insisted on being photographed with it. The huge tortoise, in fine condition, was rescued on a busy road by   Central Karoo District Council executives John van der Merwe and Nikla Nortje.

FORESTS TO FUEL THE LOCOMOTIVES

When trains first steamed into the hinterland they ran on coal imported from Wales.   South Africa was considered deficient in coal. Small amounts were being mined at Cyphergat, Molteno and Indwe. The country’s major fields, the largest in the southern hemisphere, were still in the future. Dr Gustav Fritsch, a German traveller, in 1886 wrote: “There is probably no country where adequate deposits of coal would prove a greater blessing than in South Africa.  If cheap coal could be found the railways, so sparse at present, would boldly steam ahead.”  Imported coal was too expensive for the man in the street, so he used wood.  This prompted the Cape Colonial Railways to plant ‘fuel forests’. In 1884, an eight-acre blue gum plantation was started on Stolshoek farm outside Beaufort West.  Walker’s Dam was built to irrigate the trees. The intention was to harvest 11 tons of dry wood an acre and extend the forest if it did well. “At first the trees flourished, but droughts,  scarcity of water and ‘brak’ (saline)  soil forced the abandonment of the project within four years,” says Almero de Villiers, a former Beaufort West resident who researched these forests in 1952.   “The railways announced the failure of the project in the Karoo with great regret. Successful forests and nurseries were established at Tokai, Ceres,   Constantia, and Worcester, where an 80-acre forest met fuel requirements.”   Today,  scattered blue gums still dot the Great Karoo as a reminder the days when trains ran on wood.

BUFFELS HOU VAN DIE WANDELPAD

Buffels en kindertjies stry oor ‘n wandelpad in die Karoo Nasionale Park. Sewe nuwe buffels wat onlangs in die park gevestig is en sommer  gou by vier ander aangesluit het, het besluit dat die Potlekkertjie wandelpad net die lekkerste plek in die hele park is.  “Maar die heerlike, skaduryke, bebosde gebied is ook die area wat die jongspan verkies en waar ons gereelde lesings vir hulle aanbied,” sÍ toerisme beampte Sidney Witbooi.. “Dis vol van interessante diertjies, goggatjies en plantjies, maar ons moes die stryd gewonne gee en die Potlekkertjie tydelik sluit.  Park personeel is nou besig om ‘n alternatiewe area uit te soek waar hulle die natuur met kindertjies kan bespreek en wat miskien nie so ‘n groot aantrekkingskrag vir buffels sal hÍ nie.”

RHINO GOES WALK-ABOUT

The halcyon December days so affected a young rhino cow that she promptly left the Karoo National Park to explore the wider world.   On an idyllic Karoo morning Kurni decided the park was a titch too confining, so she pitted her powerful weight against the electrified fence and squeezed down into a dry riverbed.  From there it was a short trot to the Fraserburg Road.  The day was superb. The scorch of the Karoo sun was dampened by a cool breeze.  It carried with it all manner of tantalising smells.  Kurni increased her pace in excitement and expectation.  The same morning, Mrs Mavis Botma, of Losberg farm,  was quite at peace with the world as she drove along the meandering road to  Beaufort West. The day was  divine.  Then playful  fate stepped in and brought the two face to face at a sharp, blind bend.  Tranquility for both vanished in a puff. Kurni snorted in disbelief at the dust the acrid-smelling creature churned up as it braked and   skidded to avoid her. She blinked shortsightedly  in confusion as Mavis edged past and sped off to report her close encounter to the Karoo Park management.  Alone in the settling dust, Kurni was happy that the metal creature had fled in terror, but she decided perhaps the great wide world was not all it was cracked up to be. So she retraced her steps and squeezed back to safety and security at the same spot where she had escaped.   Rangers who arrived in more clouds of dust found her grazing serenely.   Suurkop, one of the park’s black rhino bulls, was killed by lightening during a recent heavy thunderstorm. He has been replaced  by R1.

UNUSUAL FEATHERED FRIENDS

Beaufort West  birders have been happily surprised by unusual visitors.  Japie Claassen, secretary of the Wild Bird Club, says a pair of crowned cranes have been spotted on a farm just outside town,  and marabou storks have been seen on the Oudtshoorn road and near the golf course. “These are   unusual visitors to this area,” Japie says. Farmer  Murray de Villiers reports first spotting a marabou on his farm La-De-Da in 1976.  He saw them regularly for a few years, and then they just  vanished.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 76   March 2000

PARKING NOW SAFE AT HISTORIC SITE

The historic Monument Cemetery, 10km south of Matjiesfontein, now has a safe parking area. It was recently constructed by the Central Karoo District Council with assistance from Western Cape Tourism Board. "Our aim was to provide visitors to the cemetery with safe parking away from the busy N1 highway," said district council chief executive John van der Merwe. "Formerly, tourists had to park at the gate, climb over a stile and walk almost lkm to the graves. Most visitors were concerned about leaving their vehicles unattended so far away. Also, there was room only for one or two cars and buses could not park there. We are delighted that Western Cape Tourism Board has made it possible for us to create this new, bigger car park." The cemetery is a popular stop for Anglo-Boer War enthusiasts and history buffs. The two obelisks on the koppie encourage many other tourists to stop and explore. One was erected in memory of George Maxwell Grant, killed in a rail accident, and the other is a British Army memorial in honour of Major-General Andrew Wauchope, affectionately known as "Red Mick." A hero of Scotland, he was killed at the Battle of Magersfontein, near Kimberley, during the Anglo-Boer War. Wauchope’s grave in the cemetery below is marked by a simple sandstone memorial erected by his wife Jean. Nearby are the graves of James D Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein, and his wife Emma. Their daughter, Catherine, son, Daddy Jim, and several other family members lie nearby. In the cemetery are many historic graves, including that of English cricketer Edward Alfred Lohmann, considered to have been one of the world’s greatest all-rounders ever.

BEAUFORT-WES GRAFTE WORD HERSTEL

Die Rapportryerskorps van Beaufort-Wes het onlangs fondse ingesamel om alle Anglo-Boere-oorlog grafte in die dorp se ou begrafplase te herstel. Die werk word deur Goodall & Williams behartig. Hulle is tans besig met die herstel van sement en baksteen graf-omheinings en maak die marmer kopstene skoon. Nuwe grafmerkers word ook opgerig. Die oorspronklike merkers is in die tagtiger jare deur vandale verwyder. Hulle het ook die prag graf van Kaptein George Parker Bull, eens die Britse bevelvoerder op Beaufort-Wes, geruÔneer. Dit het gebeur net voor aansoek gedoen sou word om die graf as nasionale gedenkwardigheid te laat verklaar. Oor die jare is heelwat pogings aangewend om hierdie graf te restoureer, maar alles wat beoog is om die helm en swaard te vervang altyd te duur. Nou gaan daar net ‘n gedenkplaat op die graf geplaas word.

THOUSANDS VISIT ONLY TO SEE THE KAROO

Every year thousands of German tourists arrive in the Cape and all they want to see is the Great Karoo, says author and businessman Clem Sunter. While discussing his new book "Winning in the New Millennium" in a recent Readers Digest, he says: "You have to be a fox to come out on top. The Karoo is marketed as a unique area to German tourists, and each year thousands of Germans arrive in Cape Town with the specific aim of visiting places such as Beaufort West, Graaff Reinet and De Aar, to experience the world class, personalised service offered by some of the B&Bs."

RADIO LURES LISTENERS TO THE KAROO

A recent interview on the SA fm radio programme "Women Today" kindled renewed interest in the Karoo. Compiler Nancy Richards had hardly finished an interview with tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis when the telephone lines began to buzz. The diversity of calls stretched from the Uruguayan Embassy to 12-year-old Justin McLean, of Klerksdorp Primary School, who needed help with a project on heart-transplant pioneer Chris Barnard. Listeners enjoyed hearing about fossils, frogs and colourful history. Many requested back copies of Round-up and wanted to join the regular mailing list.

‘N WEEK VAN DASSIES, AKKEDISSE EN ARENDE

Die wÍreld van die goue-mol, pantser-gordelakkedis, rooiklip konyn, ystervark en witkruis arend is onlangs deur 77 Graad 6 leerlinge van Nico Brummer PrimÍre skool in Beaufort-Wes betree. Hulle het ‘n weeklange veldskool by Moutain Viewkamp in die Karoo Nasionale Park bygewoon om meer te leer van die ekologie van die Groot Karoo. "Ons het ‘n spesiale staproete waar hulle meer oor die diertjies se lewenswyse en habitate kan leer sowel as die wÍreld van dassies en arende beskou," sÍ toerisme beampte Sidney Witbooi. "Gedurende die week het ons ook van grond, rotsformasies en die belangrikheid van water, veral in droeŽ gebiede, gesels. Toe kom die reŽn en ons moes huistoe haas."

IN HONOUR OF HORSE AND HORSEMAN

The planned commando ride through Beaufort West, part of the commemorative commando ride from Stellenbosch to Pretoria to honour the horses and horsemen of the Anglo-Boer War, has drawn wide response. The steering committee has received many inquiries from horsemen wishing to ride with Piet Ellis’s Commando or with David Pickard-Cambridge’s British Brigade. The ride through Beaufort West takes place on June 6. A message of goodwill will be handed to the leader of the commemorative ride to pass on to the State President in Pretoria. Then, many of the horsemen will demonstrate their skills.

SKOLE NOU DEEL VAN TOERISME

Ten minste een skool in elke dorp van die Sentrale Karoo neem nou deel aan ‘n nuwe toerisme projek wat deur Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad ondersteun word. Die belangrike projek is deur Hennie Bester, Minister van Besigheidsbevordering en Toerisme, en Helen Zille, Minister van Opvoedkunde, by ‘n primÍre skool in Kraaifontein bekend gestel. In die Karoo is die projek tydens ‘n voldag seminaar in Beaufort-Wes deur Lorraine Bryant, besigheidsbestuurder van Tourism Education Trust en Mthethelene Hugo, van WKTR se ontwikkelingspan, geloots. Benewens die kursus het deelnemende Graad 1 onderwysers ‘n staptoer deur die dorp, gelei deur toerisme beampte Rose Willis, geniet, sowel as ‘n besoek aan die museum en die Karoo Nasionale Park se Ou Skuur Toerisme Projek.

TOWN CLEAN-UP PAYS HANDSOMELY

A tiny Karoo town has declared war on litter, and the result has been a major tourism boost. The pristine surroundings of Hanover recently caught the eye of Iris Bester of SATV, so she stopped to investigate. Iris then found Willie Mathee of the local tourism committee. Tired of seeing kilometres of plastic bags littering the veld, he and his committee offered to swop a bundle of firewood for a municipal rubbish bag of full of litter from the veld. "Everyone from township dwellers to school children instantly began to pick up paper, plastic bags and litter," says Willie. "Within short, Hanover was the cleanest town in Africa." Iris was so impressed that she featured the project in her programme Focus. Then Getaway editor David Bristow praised Hanover’s effort in an article. Soon many other local and international journalists trooped in for a look. Next, a TV crew arrived to do a feature. All this publicity has attracted many more tourists to stop and overnight in Hanover’s spotless guest houses.

PARK BEPLAN UITBREIDING

Die uiters populÍre Karoo Nasionale Park is van plan om sy geriewe uit te brei. "Ons beoog om nog 10 drie-bed chalets by die Stolshoek Ruskamp te bou, die restourant area uit te brei en verbeter, en veranderings aan te bring aan vier van die huidige agt ses-bed chalets," sÍ bestuurder Leighton Hare. "Insette word nou ingewag van alle rolspelers en belangstellendes."

ENGLISH-SPEAKING BOER’S GRAVE REPAIRED

The grave of an English-speaking Boer soldier is among those being repaired in an old Beaufort West cemetery by the local Rapportryerskorps and Goodall & Williams. He was John James Bester Watson, 22, who joined General Wynand Malan’s commando with his two brothers William Henry and Charles. The Watson brothers came from Barkly East where they were well-known and liked. One day, while at Juriesfontein, near Nelspoort, Malan’s commando was surprised by the British. The Boers scattered. John hid in a stable, but someone on the farm, whom locals had labelled a "hans-kakie," pointed out his hiding place. He tried to escape, but was shot in the back. The farmer’s wife undertook to nurse him, but the army decided to move him before his wounds had healed. During the bumpy trip to town on a mule wagon (scotch cart) his wound opened and he bled to death. He was buried in the Dutch Reformed Church cemetery. During the symbolic Great Trek of 1938, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) erected a memorial on his grave. Later, a second stone was erected by Murraysburg friends. In 1904, Mrs De Villiers, the wife of Reverend De Villiers of Carnarvon, who was deported to Beaufort West during the war, tried to obtain Watson’s army pay for his parents. In a letter to the authorities, she wrote: "Young Watson was a fine specimen of a South African. I still deplore his untimely death brought on by the treachery of a Colonial Dutch-born Boer." Watson’s brothers were taken prisoner and when peace was declared they decided they did not want to live in a land ruled by the British, so they emigrated to Argentina. William’s wife and Charles died there. William returned to South Africa in 1939.

OORWELDIGENDE BELANGSTELLING IN MERWEVILLE

(Tel No. 083-255-6931)

Onlangs is Merweville uit die veld geslaan deur die oorweldigende reaksie van mense wat ‘n naweek in hul dorpie wou deurbring as gevolg van ‘n radio program. "Ons het omtrent 25 voertuie verwag, maar die uitnodiging op Franscois Rossouw se Radio Sonder Grense program het 96 aansoeke gelok," sÍ Kallie le Roux van Springbok Lodge. "Ons asem was weggeslaan. Uiteindelik is ‘n uitstappie gereel vir 46 voertuie en hulle het die dorpie uit sy nate laat bars. Almal het die geselligheid van Merweville en die uitdaging van ons puik roetes geniet. Diť wat hierdie keer nie kon kuier nie is genooi om later te kom. Daar is reeds groot aanvraag na ons winter uitstappie."

WILD OUTLAW CUTS A SWATHE ACROSS KAROO

Frontier outlaw Coenraad Buys, a huge, powerful man, was an adventurer and smuggler who left a dash of wildness in the story of Beaufort West and the Nuweveld farms recently acquired by the Karoo National Park. Buys, also known as Coenraad de Buy or Buis, was born of Huguenot stock in Montagu in 1761. He clashed with the law and took refuge among Xhosas on the eastern frontier. He also traded in cattle with them, illegal in those days. His treatment of these people is said to have contributed to the outbreak of the Second Frontier War. Buys developed a passionate hatred for the British who declared him an outlaw, banished him from the Colony and put a price on his head. Buys wandered through the Karoo in the late 1700s. When Graaff Reinet burghers chased their magistrate out of town and declared a republic, Buys tried to persuade the Xhosas to join these burghers in an uprising against the British. He failed. For years, Buys lived among the Ngqika people. Then, with his Thembu wife and numerous children from that marriage, as well as from a liaison with Maria van der Horst, a woman of Black\Khoi-khoi descent, he moved to the area of present-day Beaufort West. There he disrupted the mission work of Erasmus Smit on the farm Kookfontein, raided cattle herds and generally created havoc. By 1821, he had moved across the Vaal and settled in the Soutpansberg. When his wife died in 1823, he was so grief-stricken that he wandered off into the veld and was never seen again.

REUNIE BY ‘N NASIONALE GEDENKWAARDIGHEID

Tagtig lede van die Marincowitz-familie het op 25 Maart, op die ou familie plaas Vrolikheid, naby Klaarstroom, vir ‘n reunie bymekaar gekom. By die herehuis wat in 1834 deur hul stamvader Gerolm, van TriŽst in KroasiŽ, gebou is en wat vandag ‘n nasionale gedenkwaardighied is, het hulle druiwe gepars, witblits gestook, kranse op familie grafte gelÍ, en heerlik gekuier.

RIDDLE OF THE LILY AND THE BEETLE

An ancient poem telling of a beautiful lily and a noisy beetle, called the sonbesie in the Karoo, puzzled Greek scholars for centuries. Then in the 1930s, a South African solved the riddle. The great Greek poet Homer mentioned "the lily-like sound of the cicada" in one of his poems and dumfounded his followers. Eventually, learned men decided "lily-like" was an error of translation, and that explanation was accepted for 3 000 years. But, in the ‘30s, Professor Kolbe, of Cape Town University, discovered when picking chincherinchees that when the stems of these lilies rubbed together a shrill sound was emitted. It was just like the shriek of the cicada. Thus the ancient mystery surrounding these beautiful lilies and the tiny beetle was solved. The cicada, known as the sonbesie or Christmas Beetle in arid zones such as the Karoo, uses his shrill shriek as a serenade, a love song sung only by the males. The females do not have voices. Which is why the ancient Greeks quipped: "Happy are cicadas’ lives, as they have silent wives!"

STOKSIEL ALEEN IN DIE HEL

(Tel No 023-541-736)

Swaar reen in die Karoo het Gamkaskloof, Die Hel, heeltemal van die buitewÍreld afgesny. Vir ‘n week was Zannie van der Walt , van Natuurbewaring, stoksiel aleen in hierdie afgeleŽ vallei. "Na die rivier gesak het was die stilte asemrowend. Dis nou eintlik hoe mens die prag van die berge moet geniet, in die eensaamheid." Toe die rivier begin styg was daar ‘n werkspan oorkant van die rivier. Zannie het hulle op die radio geroep en opdrag gegee om dadelik terug te keer. "Hulle het onmiddelik gery, maar die rivier was al klaar te hoog. Hulle het omgedraai en die bakkie bo die 1981 vloedmerk geparkeer. Teen daardie tyd was die water al so hoog dat hulle te bang was om die rivier aan te durf. Ek het deur die waters gestap om hulle tot veiligheid te help. Die rivier het so sterk afgekom dat dit tot twee meters bo die 1981 vloedmerk gestyg het. Takke en ontwortelde bome wat die vloedwaters saam gesleur het, het die telefoondrade afgeruk en ons van die buitewÍreld afgesny." Later was Zannie en sy vrou Anita genoodsaak om die ou roete langs Die Leer aan te durf om voorade en medisyne te gaan haal. "Dis ‘n groot klim," sÍ Zannie. "Dit het ‘n uur gevat om tot bo op die berge te kom. Op plekke is die roete ontsettend steil, en dit was boonop glibberig en modderig. Ons moes versigtig wees op die nat gilbberigge rotse. Dis ‘n ervaring wat ons nie gou sal vergeet nie." Flip Esau, ‘n natuurbewaring diploma student, wat hulle op die kruin van die berg sou ontmoet, het ‘n avontuurlike reis gehad om by hulle uit te kom. Vanaf Oudtshoorn het hy Calitzdorp toe gery maar die Huisrivier het die pad en brug beskadig en hy moes via VanWyksdorp en Ladismith oor die Rooibergpas na Seweweekspoort ry en toe na Bosluiskloof om aan te sluit met ‘n pad na Die Leer. Anita is saam met Flip na Oudtshoorn, maar Zannie het omgedraai en die steil afdraend huis toe aangepak. "Ek het rustig gestap en op pad terug ‘n pragtige skulpfossiel ontdek," sÍ hy.

SWARTBERG LODGE WINS WINE LIST AWARD

(Tel No 023-541-1332)

The Swartberg Country Lodge in Prince Albert has once again come up trumps in the Diners Club Wine List Awards. For the second year in a row it is the only Karoo establishment on the list. Merit Certificates were awarded to 64 establishments throughout the country, and Blackie Swart, owner of the Swartberg Country Lodge, received one of the 32 awarded in the Western Cape Province.

OLYFFEES VOL PRET WORD BEPLAN

(Tel No. 023-541-1366)

‘n Program vol pret word vir die Prins Albert Olyffees 2000 saaamgestel. Vanaf Vrydag, 28 April, wanneer die straatmark open tot Maandag, 1 Mei, is daar volop vermaak. Op Saterdag is daar pret van vroeg tot laat. Die dag begin met ‘n eg Karoo-ontbyt. Daarna word die feestlike atmosfeer behou met parades en kompetisies by die stalletjies. In die aand is daar die "Karoo Kabaret en "Dans in die Dam." Ook op die program is gholf, ‘n trekker rit, ‘n "Milky Way" toer, ‘n half-maraton en ‘n veiling.

LAINGSBURG BEPLAN GROOT KAROOFEES

(Tel No 082-920-11240)

‘n Groot Karoofees gaan in Laingsburg gehou word vanaf Oktober 20 tot 22. Daar sal interessante stalletjies wees, heelwat uitstappies om die natuurprag te besigtig, ‘n 4 x 4 vloedroete, ‘n mini Boeredag met veteraan trekkers en heelwat oudtydse Boeresport en ‘n braaivleis en dans.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 77   April 2000

AUSTRIA HONOURS BARNARD

A son of the Great Karoo, Professor Chris Barnard, is to be honoured by the Austrian Government this month. In an international poll, the world heart-transplant pioneer emerged as the most popular of seven international leaders in their fields. He will receive the first My Way award. "Polling was conducted by Internet to gain as wide an international response base as possible," said Eric Bruckberger, a director of the Tatum Media Group, organisers of the gala function in Vienna at which the award will be presented. The media group, which has negotiated the loan of a large portion of the Barnard exhibit from Beaufort West Museum to mount a display in Vienna from May 20 to June 20, will also donated R30 000 to the museum for the loan of the material. Included is a selection of memorabilia from Professor Barnard's childhood home and early life as well as the simulation of the original heart-transplant theatre, awards presented to him, paintings, as well as many photographs. Professor Barnard recently visited Beaufort West with Eric Bruckberger and Primo Zogg, an architect representing the Austrian Government, to select items for display. Professor Barnard conducted them on a tour of his boyhood home and the old mission church in which his father preached. "It was sprinkled with many anecdotes of a warm family life," said Eric.

TOERISME VRIEND VAN DIE MAAND

Prince Albert het 'n toerisme vriendelikheidsprojek geloots. Die buro soek nou persone wat op 'n vriendelike en hulpvaardige wyse optree teenoor kuiergaste in die dorp. "Nominasies vir die maandelikse toekenning kan by die Toerismeburo ingedien word," sÍ toerismebeampte Trudi Nel. Die dorp se eerste toerisme-persoon van die maand is Burgemeester Dawid Rossouw. Volgens toerismeburo voorsitter Andrew Tudhope is hy eenparig deur dorpenaars gekies "vir die tyd, moeite en energie wat hy met soveel toewyding aanwend om die dorp te bewaar, bekend te stel en te bemark." Andrew sÍ: "Hy steun elke toerisme projek wat ons aanpak en woon alle moontlike toerisme verwante vergaderings by."

SCHOOLBOY'S PROJECT NETS TRIP TO HONG KONG

A schoolboy's project on Gamkaskloof in the Karoo has brought him international recognition. Henning Burden, a grade-10 pupil at Paul Roos in Stellenbosch, last year won first place at the Western Cape Expo for his environmental and ecological project on The Hell, as the kloof is commonly known. He was one of two pupils in the Western Cape and 60 country-wide presented with gold medals for their work in a nation-wide competition that drew 30 000 entrants. This year, the SA National Expo organisers adjudged Henning's project one of the top four. He has now been invited to travel to Hong Kong to enter it in the International Expo from July 22 to August 1. Its standards are extremely high. Henning's project evolved from a visit to the valley in 1998. Its natural beauty, plants, animals, birds and history so impressed him that he felt he had to share it with others.

"LITTLE GENTLEMAN" STILL REMEMBERED

Beaufort West's Central High School head boy of 1930 died shortly after leaving school in December that year. But Max Bayer has not been forgotten. Now, 70 years later, his niece, Dr Freda Freeman, of Cape Town, has appealed to the Central Karoo Tourism Office to help find information on him. "Max died of blood poisoning after being bitten by a horse fly," she said. "In those days, there were no antibiotics and despite being rushed to hospital, nothing could be done. He is buried in Kimberley." In 1931, the school decided to honour Max by erecting a remembrance plaque. It was unveiled by his good friend Eric Lusty. Originally placed in a classroom, close to the seat he once occupied, it is now in the main corridor, near the headmaster's office. At the unveiling ceremony, one of the masters, Mr J J Nel, said Max Bayer had been "more than a top pupil, of exemplary character and conduct. He was a little gentleman. A lad full of promise, his consistent efforts achieved a first grade pass, made him Dux Student of the year."

BELANGRIKE BESPREKINGS OOR TOERISME

Belangrike besprekings rakende toerisme ontwikkeling het onlangs in Beaufort-Wes plaasgevind. Jurgens Schoeman, ontwikkelingsbestuurder van Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad het lede van die toerismeburo en ander rolspelers in die bedryf op hoogte gebring met WKTB planne vir toerisme in die provinsie. Hy het melding gemaak van die nuwe konsepwet wat eersdaags sal verskyn en wat gemik is om toerisme in die provinsie te versterk. Die beoogde nuwe benaming vir die raad, die korporatiewe benadering tot bemarking, regulasies rakende die akkommodasie-bedryf en akkreditasie van toerismeburos sowel as befondsing en lidmaatskap het alles onder die soeklig gekom. "In die toekoms sal munisipaliteite verantwoordelikheid moet aanvaar vir buros, streekstoerisme organisasies sal verdwyn en klem sal geplaas word op gesamentlike bemarking van streke sowel as toerisme roetes," het Jurgens gesÍ. Hy het ook melding gemaak van toerisme kursusse wat WKTR deur die provinsie vir skole borg, en van nuwe bemarkingsmateriaal en webblaaie wat eersdaags sal verskyn.

MORE ON THE JURIESFONTEIN DRAMA

Considerable drama surrounded the incident at Juriesfontein which led to the death of John Watson, a young Boer soldier (Round-up No 75). Boer War researcher Taffy Shearing says Watson was a member of that small party of men from the commandos of Wynand Malan and Gideon Scheepers who travelled from the Aberdeen district in July, 1901, to the Free State to hold talks with General Christiaan de Wet and President Steyn. Led by Malan, with Henry Hugo, the party had an easy, trouble-free journey, but its mission ended in disappointment. Steyn and De Wet only issued a toothless proclamation declaring Cape Rebels to be Free Staters. Unable to find recruits, the party returned to the Cape. It reached Juriesfontein in October, 1901. "This farm lies in a secluded spot and the Pienaars had no clear view of anyone approaching," says Taffy. "On the day of the incident, young Dauphin Pienaar was out in the veld. The Boer party rode up and asked if the coast was clear It had been when he left home, but unbeknown to him, a British patrol had slipped in. The Boers rode to the farm. As they were about to knock on the front door it burst open and shots rang out. They fled. But young Watson had led his horse around the back for water. He was just taking the saddle off when he heard the shots. As he tried to pull the girth up with his teeth he was shot in the stomach and collapsed." Watson was carried into the house for treatment, but the British decided not to leave him there. They clearly remembered the young Boer Corney Hoffman escaping after being wounded at another farm. So Watson was put in a wagon for transport to hospital. He died en route to town. "The Boers blamed Dauphin for Watson's death, so he joined the District Mounted Troops for protection. When General Wynand Malan captured the DMT at Uitspansfontein in February, 1902, Ben de Villiers told Pienaar to act deaf and dumb. He did so, and with other members of the DMT denying he was Pienaar this probably saved his life." Taffy will be in Beaufort West on June 9 for talks on Boer War events in the area at a VLV meeting and the museum.

KURSUS VIR JAGTERS

(Tel Peter Eayrs 083 703-3185)

Die Kaapse Jagters en Wildsbewaringsvereniging bied 'n spesiale kursus vir senior jagters aan te Robertson op Mei 20 en 21. Die program sluit bio-diversiteit, die wet, probleem diere en fotografie in.

DESPERATE DASH TO FREEDOM

Languishing among the memorabilia of Prince Albert's Fransie Pienaar Museum is a swordstick, once a part of high drama. Sadly, the name of the Bulgarian who originally owned it has been forgotten, but his story has survived. "One can only imagine that, whoever he was, this man loved the beautifully-crafted weapon. It seems to have been the only possession of value he took when fleeing from Bulgaria, never to return," says researcher Helena Marincowitz. When the swordstick's owner refused to join rebel forces in his country, he was captured and imprisoned. He escaped and dashed back to his house to snatch a change of clothing and his swordstick. He then headed for the Greek border. Once safely across, he snatched a rest alongside the road. Robbers attacked him but he beat them off with the swordstick. One of the robbers managed to grab it and pulled the wooden sheath from the rapier. He made off with this in his hand. Badly shaken, the Bulgarian wrapped his rapier in an old newspaper and continued his jourey to Athens. There he joined a Greek freighter bound for the West Coast of Africa. He eventually disembarked in Durban. He roamed South Africa for months, unable to settle. Then, one day, he found himself at Prince Albert Road station. There the adventurer left the train and hopped aboard a donkey cart bound for the Swartberg Hotel. He fell in love with the Karoo and stayed at the hotel until he died. He bequeathed his rapier to hotel owner Benjamin Klein, who became a close friend. In time, Bernard gave it to his friend Jimmy Oosthuizen, a Zeekoeigat farmer. Jimmy crafted a sheath for the blade, fitted a wooden knob to the handgrip and, in 1946, gave it to his son, Eric, who donated it to the museum in 1985.

WIL U SAAM RY?

Boesman en Bessel vorder goed met onderrig om 'n kapkar te trek tydens 'n Boereoorlog herdenkingsrit Hulle is die twee spog swart Vlaamse perde wat eregas Herman de Wit, voorsitter van die Sentrale Karoo Distrikraad en van Beaufort-Wes Toerismeburo, na die verrigtinge sal bring tydens die Herdenkingsrit ter ere van die Perde en Ruiters van die Anglo-boereoorlog. Die Kommandorit deur die dorp sal op Junie 6 plaasvind. ReŽlings vir die geleentheid vorder goed. David Pickard-Cambridge (Tel No 023-417-1691) en Piet Ellis (Tel No 023-415-2205) nooi plaaslike ruiters wat wil deelneem om hulle so gou moontlik te kontak. "Dit behoort 'n feestige dag op die dorp te wees," sÍ Dawie Uys, voorsitter van die organiseerderskomitee. "Alle skole word uitgenooi om kinders 'n tydjie af te gee sodat hul iewers langs die roete die perde sal kan sien. Dit behoort 'n pragtige groot optog van meer as 50 perde te wees."

IN SEARCH OF GRANDPA'S FIGHTING TRACKS

Thomas Frederick Mortlock, who died in 1973 at 96 years, once bravely rode the Karoo plains as a member of Gorringe's Flying Column. After the Anglo-Boer War ended, he often told friends and family of those exciting times. Frederick then recalled that the unit had once set a British Army record by travelling 100 miles in 24 hours on horseback. Everyone enjoyed his stories, but no one recorded them. Now his grandson, Mike Mortlock, is trying to find out more about this unit which Leo Amery in The Times History of the War in South Africa calls "the oldest of all the columns" and Athe original Colonial Defence Force. "Colonel C F Gorringe raised the unit in Graaff Reinet for general service and many well-known men of the Karoo served with it," says researcher Taffy Shearing. "Among them were Abe Bailey, Evert Collett, who rose to the rank of Colonel during World War One, and Douglas Featherstone." When most troopers of the original unit had served their time, it was broken up, but Gorringe immediately organised a fresh force of Tasmanians, Cape Police and Nesbitt's Horse. Mike Mortlock would welcome any further details.

AANDAG ALLE DE BEERS

(Tel No 023-541-1366)

'n Landwye uitnodiging word gerig aan alle De Beers. 'n Familie-reunie word beplan in Prins Albert, tuisdorp van stamvader Zacharias de Beer, vir die naweek van 30 Junie tot 1 Julie. Volle besonderhede is by Prins Albert Toerismeburo verkrygbaar.

YESTERDAY'S AIRCRAFT IN KAROO SKIES

Two vintage De Havilland Tiger Moth aircraft recently provided a rare aeronautical treat above Prince Albert. They were part of the Great SABC 2 Aerial Roadshow, which focuses on festivals and national sports events. The aircraft called on Prince Albert, their first rural venue, to promote TV 2 and its programmes. "The idea is to create a higher visibility for our service and to generate support for local charities," said SABC2 Brand Manager Jackie Motsepe. "Funds for charity are generated by passengers who pay for a 30-minute flip across their town. We create a great deal of excitement by offering free lucky tickets and having well-known TV 2 celebrities join the fun." The team, which comprised pilots Tim Keaton, Frank Rehrl and Bob Ewing, as well as engineers Frank Strecker and Peter Upfold as well as administrators Patty Photong and Lee Rehrl all enjoyed a few days relaxation in the Karoo at the Swartberg Country Lodge.

MUSEUMS EN SKOLE BEWEEG NADER AAN MEKAAR

'n Baie geslaagde en insiggewende werkswinkel oor die gebruik van 'n plaaslike museum vir uitkombaseerde onderwys is op 4 April, 2000, by die Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prins Albert gehou. Aanbieders Sigri Howes en Myrtle Edwards, van die Sentrum vir Bewaringsopvoeding in Kaapstad, het die sinvolle beplanning van museumbesoeke vir leerders bespreek. Praktiese voorbeelde van hoe dit toegepas kan word is uitgelig. "Deur goeie voorafbeplanning kan museum-besoeke by heelwat leerareas, leerplanne en temas ingewerk word," sÍ Sigri. "Skole behoort as lede van Die Vriende van Museumorganisasies aan te sluit om sodoende in voeling te bly met ontwikkelings op kultuur gebiede." As 'n bonus vir die dag het afgevaardigdes 'n staptoer deur Prins Albert onder leiding van Helena Marincowitz geniet.

HOW TO CAPTURE THE KAROO ON CANVAS

(Tel No 023-541-1492)

There are plans for two art workshops at Prince Albert this year. The first, entitled Karoo Art, is designed to extend experienced landscape artists working in oils or acrylics. It takes place from May 22 to 25, costs R600 and will be conducted by well-known artist Erik Laubscher. The second, entitled Spring Art Week, is designed to cater for all levels of experience and will have a variety of programmes to enable participants to choose one best suited to their individual needs. For this workshop, from August 21 to 24, the course fee is R450. Tutors are Christine Thomas, BA Fine Art (Rhodes), Mary Ann Botha and Ann Kerr, both with BA Hons Fine Art degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand. The workshops are being arranged by local artists Christine Thomas and Elzane Steynberg. "The landscape around Prince Albert offers artists unsurpassed painting opportunities. Lighting effects are dramatic, and the expansive vistas of the Karoo provide inspiration and challenge," says Christine. Elzane agrees, and adds: "The Swartberg Pass alone, with its magnificent, awe-inspiring rock formations is worthy of hours of study."

MERWEVILLE FROGS WORK THEIR MAGIC

Frogs not only helped put Merweville on the map, they also rekindled many long-ago memories of the village. Among those delighted by this unusual publicity for the town was Elsje van der Linde (nee Deetlefs), a former teacher. She writes from Velddrif: "I was thrilled to see Merweville hitting the headlines (Round-up No 74). I'll never forget my first glimpse of this isolated village. I arrived there in 1962 to take up my first teaching post. Being a city girl, I had serious reservations about moving into the hinterland, but my fears were groundless. The townspeople made me more than welcome. In those days Kallie le Roux, who is now doing so much for tourism in the town, was one of my pupils. I later bought a cottage from him. My husband, Martiens, who is an artist, and I spent many unforgettable hours wandering in the veld. We studied platannas and skurwepaddas basking on the picturesque stone dam walls through our bird-watching binoculars." The unusual items found on Nova Vita, mentioned in the same Round-up, also interested Elsje. "As an aspiring botanical artist, I made several trips to this farm. I found a beautful Hermannia filifolia, or bergrosie, here as well as a giant pincushion protea sprawling on a geophyte ledge. I am still trying to identify this superb plant."

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 78   May 2000

KAROO DUCHESS GETS A FACELIFT

Matiesfontein, that grand old duchess of the Great Karoo, has been given a facelift. Four self-catering cottages, each with accommodation for six, and nine extra rooms, at the Garden Mews, formerly the Boarding House, have been brought into the tourism mix. A station has been added next to the old train at the cricket field, and a motor museum is to be created on this site. To enhance the village’s aura of history and romance, a brandy and cigar room, plus a library, is being created on the second floor of the old station building. Artisans are refurbishing 15 more rooms. A special motel-type section is being created so that guests can park outside their rooms. "Revamping and upgrading the village has been exciting," said manager John Seems. "An archaeologist on a visit with the national monuments team found a layout of roadways near the old cricket pitch which seems to indicate that the founder of Matjiesfontein, James Logan, once also had plans for expansion. We have also found some ancient invoice books dating back to the 1890s listing details of all those who ordered mineral water from the plant Logan once had near his house. A great deal of work is also being done in the gardens to eliminate any damage by workmen." A large screen TV is also being installed so that guests can view special events and study the village’s huge, highly-acclaimed website.

KAROOKOS OP SY LEKKERSTE

Tel No 049222 ask for 1231

Diegene wat tipiese Boerekos geniet sal ‘n nuwe resepteboek, "Karoo Family Favourites" nie wil misloop nie. Die is saamgestel en uitgegee as deel van ‘n fondsinsamelingprojek van Union Voorbereidingskool in Graaff Reinet, waar baie kinders van Murraysburg skool gaan. Die boek is deur Janet Kingwill, van Grand View in die Murraysburg distrik, geillustreer. Twee ander boervrouens van die gebied, Lynne Minnaar en Annatjie Reynolds het gehelp met die insamel, toets en uitleg van die resepte. Die boekie is nie net vol van heerlike resepte nie, maar ook nuttige wenke vir huis en kombuis.

BIRTH OF TOURISM ADVERTISING IN THE KAROO

Today tourism advertising is big business. But this was not always so. The wide spectrum of modern-day advertising opportunities in newspapers, magazines, television, radio and the web often seems quite mind-boggling to most accommodation vendors in the Karoo. Yet less than a century ago this type of advertising was unheard of. In fact, in 1902, when a Beaufort West guest house advertised its facilities in Worcester, it was so unusual that it prompted the then editor of the Courier, the Beaufort West weekly newspaper, to mention it in a special article. He wrote: "The proprietress of one of the boarding establishments here has hit on a happy idea. She is now meeting visitors to Beaufort half way up the line by advertising the merits of her house in the Worcester Standard. This is an excellent idea which other hotels and boarding houses in the town should certainly follow up. We will be glad to promote the practise by receiving advertisements intended for other papers and arranging for their insertion without any extra charge." It appears to have worked. A subsequent issue comments on "the number of Beaufort advertisements in the Standard."

COUNTRY LIFE LENS FOCUSES ON MURRAYSBURG

A traditional Xhosa song of welcome recently resounded in Beaufort Street, Murraysburg, for Country Life photo-journalist Alex Cremer. Sung by 40 children of the Murraysburg Intermediate Primary School, under the leadership of their teacher, Shelley Tsoba, it was followed by a specially-written song of welcome. To the strains of "South Africa, We Love You," the children sang: "Mr Cremer, we love you, thank you for coming to Murraysburg," at Five Roses Guest House, where he was photographing the handiwork of local crafters. "I have been warmly welcomed in many towns I’ve visited throughout South Africa in the course of my job," said Alex, "but, I have never been received quite like this. It was so touching, it will live with me forever." At Rooipoort, a Sneeuberg farm 22 km from town, Alex photographed the handiwork of local farmers’ wives as well papier machť items made by farm workers at Poplar Studios. Country Life intends publishing a special feature on Murraysburg and its talented residents later this year.

LESSE IN JAG EN PERDRY

Tel No 049222 vra vir 1803

Jag en perdry lesse gaan by avontuurkampe in Murraysburg aangebied word. Peet de Klerk, ‘n boer van Brandkraal, leer seuns om te jag, en sy dogter, Maryka, ‘n Springbokruiter, gee perdrylesse. "Die kampe word in vakansietye op ons plaas Swartbosch gehou," sÍ Peet. "Seuns wat wil leer skiet en jag moet deur hul vaders vergesel word. Ons neem ‘n maximum van vyf jong mans op elke kursus. Hulle leer om te skiet, jag en vleis te bewerk. Die plaas lÍ in ‘n waterryk gebied op die walle van die Buffels- en Kleinriviere. Die samevloeiing van die riviere vorm ‘n yslike dam wat ‘n ideale piekniek, swem en braaiplek is. Ons gaste kan ook visvang of heerlik in ‘n bootjie of kanoe rondvaar. Self-versorgende akkommodasie is beskikbaar in ‘n tenvolle toegeruste ou plaashuis."

KINDERS MAAK KENNIS MET EIENAARDIGE DIERTJIES

Die blinde goue mol met sy puik reuksin en dieet van wurms en insekte, was net een van die eienaardige diertjies wat Prins Albert skoolkinders geleer ken het tydens ‘n veldskool by die Karoo Nasionale Park. Omtrent 30 kinders van Zwartberg PrimÍreskool het onlangs ‘n paar dae by Mountain View ruskamp in die Nuweveldberge buite Beaufort-Wes deurgebring. Daar het toerismebeampte Sidney Witbooi en Jan Jacobs van die Sosio-ekologie-departement die diertjies van die gebied aan hulle bekend gestel. ‘n Gunstelling was die rooiklipkonyn met sy maklik herkenbare rooi agterbene. "Hy grou nie gate soos ander hase nie, maar bly in rotskeure in bergagtige plekke," sÍ Sidney. "Die kinders het ook kennis gemaak met die Karoo se grootste knaagdier, die ystervark. Die diere stamp hulle agterpote as hulle bedreig word en laat hulle penne regop staan. Dis ‘n mite dat ystervarke hul penne uitskiet. In gevaarlike situasies hardloop hulle agteruit sodat hul penne aanvallers in die gesig sal steek." Die kinders het tydens uitstappies ook van mosse en legene geleer.

LIBRARY LENDS TOURISM A HAND

Prince Albert’s librarian, Reinie Smit, has established a permanent tourist information display in the library. "As so many visitors to the town pop in to the library seeking background details and historic information I have been collecting material for years. Then, when Johan Cornelissen, who wrote a book on the gables of the village, donated his background material, photographs and postcards to us we had a good basis on which to work." It will be a key feature during Library Week (June 5 - 9).

GROOT LOF VIR NUWE BARNARD UITSTALLING

Sandra Smit, kuratriese van Beaufort-Wes Museum, en haar span het ‘n nuwe Barnard uitstalling geskep wat met lof bekroon is. Hulle het ‘n reeks skilderye van Professor Chris Barnard uitgestal waar die operasie toneel voorheen gestaan het. Hierdie uitstalling is deel van die Barnard versameling wat op tydelike uitstalling in Oostenryk is nadat Professor Barnard met daardie land se eerste "My Way" toekenning bekroon is. Sandra het die nuwe uitstalling "Barnard uit die oŽ van sy vriende" gedoop. Gereelde besoekers, soos die gidse van die Shongololo-trein wat maandliks die museum besoek, het dit met lof bekroon omdat dit Chris Barnard deur sy hele lewe uitbeeld.

BEAUFORT WEST A PIVOT IN HOBHOUSE SAGA

The important role Beaufort West played in the life of philanthropist Emily Hobhouse was highlighted during a recent talk by Maxie Kritzinger, who lives in the town. Addressing the monthly meeting of the "Dames 14 Klub," she highlighted the fact that Emily found the Karoo a dull and dreary place when she first set eyes on it, but ended up loving this stark, arid territory. Emily stayed in Beaufort West on several occasions during the Anglo-Boer War on her way to visit concentration camps in the Free State. It was in Beaufort West that she first met lifelong friends Olive Schreiner and Betty Molteno. She also formed an undying friendship with Tibbie Steyn, wife of M T Steyn, President of the Free State. Tibbie (her name is a Scottish endearment for girls named Isabella) was the granddaughter of Beaufort West’s beloved dominee, the Reverend Colin Fraser. Maxie’s talk poignantly covered Emily’s hardships and heartaches. One of her great disappointments took place in Beaufort West when illness forced Emily to abandon her journey to deliver the keynote address at the opening of the Vroue Monument. In 1913, on her way to Bloemfontein, Emily became too ill to travel beyond Beaufort West. In a very weakened state she was taken from the train to the home of Dominee Johan George Steytler, where she was nursed until she was well enough to travel back to Cape Town for her return trip to England. During the time she spent in Beaufort West she met many local people who made lasting impressions on her and who are fondly mentioned in Emily’s letters.

BELANGRIKE GESLAGSREGISTER SIEN DIE LIG IN KAROO

‘n Geslagsregister, "Die De Beer-familie - drie eeue in S A," gaan in Prins Albert bekend gestel word. Die 1 030-bladsy register word by ‘n buffet-ete op 30 Junie, tydens die De Beer familie reunie in die dorp, vrygestel. Die boek is nagevors en geskryf deur David en Jalene de Beer. Hulle sÍ dat dit ‘n belangrike deel van Prins Albert se geskiedenis sal uitgemaak omdat feitlik alle De Beers deur die hele Suid-Afrika afstamelinge is van drie broers, Zacharias, Matthys en Johannes de Beer, wat in ongeveer 1768 hulle in diť deel van die Karoo gevestig het. Alle De Beers word genooi om die reunie in Prins Albert by te woon en te sien waar hul voorvaders gewoon en gewerk het.

RESEARCHER STRIKES IT RICH

A search for information on an old mine has unearthed a mass of information on coal mining in the Karoo. Researcher Arnold Hutchinson has been trying to trace the history of the abandoned mine at Leeurivierspoort for years. His efforts have led him on a tour of the archives and into the libraries of the major mining houses. He has discovered that a great deal of mining took place in the Karoo in the mid to late 1800s. Talks with Dr A Jordaan, of Anglo American, who at one time wrote a thesis on mining in the Karoo, and with Mr Nok Frik, of Anglo’s Geo Science Department, have revealed there were also coal mines in Laingsburg and Prince Albert. "The exact site of the Prince Albert coal mine remains a mystery," says Arnold. "The experts tell me that the coal of the Karoo emits a curious bitumen-like odour when burnt. They say this unique pungent reek indicates the presence of oil." This fact led him to the oil explorations at Kareebosch in Murraysburg in the 1960s. "The height of the coal seam, which protrudes right out of the cliff face about 1 000ft above the riverbed at Leeurivierspoort, also intrigues experts," says Arnold. "They also tell me that the miners of the Karoo were drawn away by the prospects of greater wealth at the diamond and gold mines. Scarcity of labour, poor quality coal and the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War led to the abandonment of the Karoo coal mines. Many were blown up to prevent the British Army from using the coal to run the trains. My research also reveals that in 1899 coal was sold in Beaufort West at ‘tickey a bag.’ It was secretly brought into town hidden in wagons under other supplies, such as wood."

GAMKASKLOOF WEEREENS ONDER DIE SOEKLIG

Die toerisme potensiaal van Gamkaskloof, die Hel, gaan deur ‘n firma van konsultante van Kaapstad ondersoek word. Grant Kessel Feinstein is onlangs deur Kaap Natuurbewaring getaak om hierdie ondersoek in te stel. Die Hel was ook ‘n hoogtepunt van besprekings by die onlangse Suid-Kaap museums vergadering in Knysna toe Anita Holtzhauzen van die CP Nel ‘n lesing daaroor gelewer het.

TRUE GOLF IS WHERE GREENS ARE BLACK

Stewart Hutton, a Scottish journalist who freelances for FGF, a Finnish golfing magazine, was amused by Prince Albert’s golf course. It prompted him to write: "Prince Albert has a golf course which by most standards is unusual. The only grass in sight is on the first and ninth tees and in front of the clubhouse. Fairways are brown (earth and grit). The greens are black (sand and oil) and the rough, designated by a border of white painted rocks, consists totally of stony desert. The horizon seems a million miles away. There are nine holes, played twice from different tees. Players are provided with pieces of astroturf to play off the fairways. Presumably they use well-scarred irons for recoveries from the rough. Special ‘rollers’ are used to smooth the ‘blacks’ before putting. An extra hazard appears after the occasional July and August rains. Then the fairways are temporarily carpeted by colourful wild flowers." Steward added: "Henry Longhurst, one of the world’s greatest golf writers, once described golfing in the desert with affection in a piece entitled ‘Golf Without Grass.’ He called it ‘true golf,’ and now, having played at Prince Albert, I agree with his view." Prince Albert Golf Club was founded in 1928. It has 24 playing members. Women are welcome, but none have joined since 1952, according to secretary Das Olivier.

JAARLIKSE JAGKOMPETISIE ‘n GROOT SUKSES

Spanne van dwarsoor die land het vanjaar in Murraysburg saamgetrek vir die groot jaarlikse jagkompetisie wat deur Seady Guns van Port Elizabeth geborg is. Skutters van so vÍr weg as Pretoria, Kaapstad en Bloemfontein het meegeding om prag pryse soos ‘n jaggeweer, teleskope en verkykers te wen. Jacques Theron, plaaslike organiseerder, sÍ: "Die kompetisie is uiters gewild, maar ons kan nie meer as 25 spanne, d w s 100 skuts, per jaar inneem nie. Vanjaar was ons lank voor die tyd al vol bespreek." Elke span kry twee ure om twee bokke per skut te skiet. "Die bokke word geweeg, hul horings gemeet en daar word na elke skoot gekyk. Punte word vir alles toegeken en in ‘n rekenaar gevoer om die pryswenners te bepaal," sÍ Jacques. Vanjaar het Neil Seady, hoof van Seady Guns, die pryse kom uitdeel en ‘n heerlike "steakhouse" braai saam met die manne geniet. Almal was eens dat dit ‘n opwindende dag was. Hulle sien glo al klaar uit na volgende jaar.

ADVENTURE PLANS FOR SPRING

Tel No. 049222 ask for 1811

Phillip Maasdorp of Murraysburg is already planning this year’s popular Spring Commando Ride. He arranges three of these a year in April, September and December over two full days with one night spent out in the veld. "The rides takeplace during school holidays as many youngsters are keen to be part of these adventures," says Phillip. "Riders must have reasonable competency levels. Our routes vary greatly and cover river, plains and mountain country, taking in many historic, rock art and general interest sites. Everyone enjoys sleeping under the stars and cooking on open fires. We arrange fodder and stabling as well as mounts for those from far afield who’d love to explore our countryside."

FIND THE PRINCE ON THE WEB

Tel No. 023-541-1366

Prince Albert now has its own website. Designed and launched by Alisa Tudhope, editor of the Prince Albert Friend, it can be visited at http://home.intekom.com/patourism. The site focuses on tourism, and its earthy colours have been specially chosen to ensure that it captures the feel of the Karoo.

DIE OORBEL WAT PRAAT

In ‘n Beaufort-Wes systraatjie is daar nog ‘n negosie winkel waar die wÍreld se probleme gereeld ter tafel gelÍ word. Die grysbaarde vergader nou juis daar om oplossings to vind met behulp van koffie, dik en swart soos ou trekker olie. Onlangs dwaal een soos gewoonlik in en, na sy eerste slukkie boere troos, verklaar hy: "Julle moet nou net sien hoe drom die lot toeriste daar by die bank om die blik brein masjien saam om geld te trek. Dit druk net knoppies en klou vas aan Gauteng oorbelle." Een van die ander ooms krap sorvulding sy pyp skoon en vra: "Nou sÍ vir my broer, wafferse mode is dit nou met diť oorbel?" "Jy weet ook niks nie. Dis die nuwerwetse telefoon sonder ‘n draad."

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 79   June 2000

BOER WAR GRAVES RESTORED

The graves of British soldiers buried in Beaufort West in the Great Karoo during the Anglo-Boer War have been restored by the local Rapportryers organisation. The work was undertaken by Goodall and Williams, and cleaning and washing of gravel chips provided short-term employment for the jobless. Goodall and Williams personnel repaired and rebuilt all curbings and recemented all surrounds. Marble crosses and memorials were all thoroughly washed and cleaned and metal Guild Crosses were repainted. Then markers, with details of the soldier's name, rank and number were fixed to each cross to ensure that the graves could once again be easily identified. Brass roundels originally marked each grave, but over the years vandals removed these.There is only one Boer soldier buried in Beaufort West cemetery. He is John Watson, whose grave was also located and restored. A sketch-map detailing the whereabouts of war graves in the old Anglican, Wesleyan and Catholic cemeteries will soon be available at the tourist information offices and museum.

LAINGSBURG BLY VARS IN SY GEHEUE

Een van Suid-Afrika se top advertensieskeppers, Peter Gird, sal nooit vir Laingsburg vergeet nie. Hy is die man wat die skreeusnaakse Vodacom advertensiereeks met akteur Micheal de Pina en Adom-blondine" Lauren Davey geskep het. "Niemand kan glo dat Lauren eintlik 'n uiters bekwame, top senior sekretaresse by 'n assuransie maatskappy is en glad niks soos die 'bimbo' van die advertensie is nie," sÍ Peter. In 'n artikel in Leisure Life vertel Peter dat hy jare gelede besig was om 'n advertensie vir 'n karavaan maatskappy in die Karoo te skiet. "Ons het 'n pragtige area langs 'n dam in 'n bergagtige gebied gekies. Dit het absoluut aanloklik gelyk en ons het hulle mooiste en duurste woonwa langs die dam parkeer. Soos die geluk dit wou hÍ het dit begin reŽn. Ons was nie bekommerd nie. Met 'n sug van 'more's nog 'n dag,' het ons opgehou werk. Ons het die karavaan nooit weer gesien nie - dit was die dag van die Laingsburg vloed."

KAROO MOHAIR MAN AMONG WORLD'S BEST

The severely physically handicapped Jan Sarels, of Prince Albert, has been adjudged one of the top mohair classers in the world. He was rated second in South Africa at the recent prestigious Mohair Growers' Miyuki prize-giving ceremony in Port Elizabeth. Jan broke his legs and back in a fall from a trailer as a child. Despite spending three years in hospital in Port Elizabeth, his injuries never healed properly. Eventually, with a severe limp and dropped hip, he returned home. His father, a shearer, taught him the craft. Despite the agonies he suffered while working, Jan strove for perfection. He managed, but he wanted to know more, so began learning how to class the clip. Clive van Hasselt, for whom Jan works, says: "Jan is like a sponge. He literally soaks up knowledge. He always wants to know more. We are all immensely proud of his achievements. Getting one of the five top awards in the country has crowned his dedicated efforts." Jan, of course, is aiming at the No 1 spot. "No one can ever know it all, one must never stop learning," he says.

JUST FOLLOW THE AROMA

(Tel No.023-541-1345)

The new owners of Sampie's Farmstall in Prince Albert, Kevin and Barbara Ellison, plan to start an open-air braai restaurant next to this little shop. "Braaivleis is so much a part of platteland life, yet it's a difficult meal for tourists to find unless they are staying over in a typical South African home," said Barbara. "We aim to incorporate braais in our mix to encourage casual visitors to enjoy traditional culture against the magnificent backdrop of the Swartberg Mountains."

DIENS IS DIE SLEUTEL TOT SUKSES

Goeie kliŽntediens is die kern van suksesvolle toerisme. Dit was die boodskap wat die Weskaap se Toerismeraad buro-ontwikkelingsbeampte Veronica Jooste tydens 'n reeks werkwinkels in die Sentrale Karoo oorgedra het. Die werkswinkels was gemik op almal wat met toeriste te doen het en afgevaardigdes het van die akkommodasiebedryf, restourante, die polisie, museums, banke, kafees en groot- en klein sake-ondernemings gekom. Die opleiding het hulle geleer hoe om toeriste op 'n beleefde en professionele manier te behandel. "Onthou, jy kry nooit 'n tweede kans om 'n eerste indruk te maak nie," het Veronica gesÍ. Werkswinkels in deur die streek in Laingsburg, Prins Albert, Beaufort-Wes en Murryasburg aangebied en besoek is ook afgelÍ by alle inligtingspunte.

POPULAR FARM REOPENS

(Tel No 02062 ask for 1331)

The popular guest farm Wilgeboschkloof in the Merweville district is once again open to the public. This farm has both 4 x 4 and hiking routes along which fossils and even a Bushman grave can be seen. Up to a change of ownership, all these routes were heavily booked. But considerable restoration was required, so the new owners, Tolie and Alida Victor, closed all facilities until upgrading could be completed. It's now back in the market and back in demand.

MOTORHAWE GLO IN GOEIE DIENS

(Tel No 023-541-1797)

Die nuwe eienaars van National Garage in Prins Albert, Colin en Carol Campbell, glo in gehalte diens. Colin voel dat 'n motorhawe met goeie diens 'n sleutelrol in toerisme speel. Hy dring aan dat sy werk-nemers net die beste lewer. Hy was voorheen 'n senior bestuurder in die Woolworthsgroep, waar kliŽntediens 'n prioriteit is. Die tegniese sy van die motorhawe is oorgeneem deur Hannes Louw, 'n werktuigkundige van Kimberley. Hy voel ewe sterk oor gehalte diens aan die reisende publiek. Carol, voorheen 'n joernalis by die Argus in Kaapstad, geniet die rus en vrede van die platteland na die gewarboel van die stad. Sy wil ook graag betrokke wees in die wÍreld van toerisme.

OU SCHUUR PROJECT ONE OF THE BEST

(Tel No 023-415-2828)

The Karoo National Park's Ou Schuur Project is a winner. It was recently adjudged one of the best community projects of its kind, and tourism officer Sidney Witbooi was invited to present details of its progress and future development plans at a Best Practices Conference held at the Berg-'n-dal Conference Centre at the Kruger Park. "It was an exciting experience to share ideas with representatives from other tourism development projects at sister parks and to discuss our ideas with international ecologists, representatives of world wild life organisations and investment advisors," said Sidney.

MURRAYSBURG DOGTER MAAK 'n PLAN

Die onder-18 meisies hokkiespan van Herschelskool in Kaapstad gaan nou ook optree as amabassadeurs vir Murraysburg eko-toerisme by die inter-provinsiale toernooi in Port Elizabeth. Leshane Luscombe, een van die spanlede, het haar moeder Lusan, wie op vryskutbasis optree as Murraysburg Toerisme Assosiasie se skakelbeampte, met 'n plan genader om haar tuisdorp tydens die toernooi op die toerisme- kaart te plaas. Haar idee om die dorp se toerisme embleem op hulle hemde te vertoon is deur Herman de Wit, voorsitter van die Sentrale Karoo Distrikraad en streekstoerisme-organisasie goedgekeur en hy het besluit om dit te borg. Murraysburg sal bekendheid verwerf elke keer as die span op die veld draf.

Don't forget : Laingsburg Karoo Festival - October 20 to 22 - Full details from Tel No 082-920-1240

RESTORATION OF ALBERT'S MILL PLANNED

(Tel No 023-541-1366)

A group of Prince Albert residents has formed an association with the aim of restoring the town's historic mill. They feel that a working Albert's Mill, the only one of its kind left in the Karoo, could be an important tourist attraction. Mayor Dawid Rossouw still remembers playing at the mill as a child. "There's nothing quite like the creaks and groans of a working mill," he said. "These sounds were an intimate part of my childhood. The wheel rattled and sighed as the stream trickled by. The water gurgled and cascaded over the wheel, spilling sunlit and sparkling water into a whirlpool below. The gears whispered and whined as they set the grumbling grindstones in motion. Then came the rush of grain to be slowly milled into flour. In my childhood it was a patchwork world of strange sounds, filtered sunlight, crystal clear water, strange odours and dark, gloomy shadows. I would love nothing more than to make these sights, sounds and smells part of the world of today's children," he said. The committee, chaired by Derek Thomas, is involved in a huge research programme and is seeking advice of experts such as Mr Ficinous, who restored the mill at Elim, wheelwright Carel Alberts and Johanna Marx of the S A Heritage Resources Association. She was involved in restoration of Mostert's Mill in Cape Town.

MEER AS NET BESOEKERS

"Toerisme is meer as net die besoek van mense aan 'n land of plek ter wille van besienswaardighede. Dit is die mense van daardie land of plek se gesindheid en leefwyse wat toerisme bevorder en wat as sodanig onthou word," sÍ skrywer Paul Cronje. Die beskrywing het Marie Bothma van Merweville so beindruk dat sy vir streekstoerismebeampte Rose Willis genooi het om 'n plaaslike VLV-vergadering te kom toespreek. "Ek voel Karoo mense leef in 'n paradys wat nie raakgesien word nie," sÍ Marie. "Ons moet net meer bewus word van die feit dat ons 'n bestaan moet maak uit toerisme." Rose het oor die markpotensiaal van die Merweville-gebied gepraat, die analiseering van die mark en bemarkingsgeleenthede, sowel as beter benutting van geriewe en die uitbreiding en ontwikkeling van fasiliteite.

ROCK ART DECOR FOR GUEST LODGE

(Tel No 049222 ask for 2011)

Before even stepping outside to explore, guests at Kareebosch farm can experience the enchantment of the Murraysburg area. Farm owners Willem and Carissa Smuts wanted to share the magic of their environment with guests, so they asked local artist Janet Kingwill of Grand View to create typical Karoo Amurals" for their accommodation lodge. "Exactly what to do was a challenge. Eventually I decided to develop designs with local rock engravings as central theme. Creating the designs involved considerable research as I wanted to be sure that everything was typical of the Murraysburg area," said Janet. The designs have been highly praised. Kareebosch lies in a beautiful area on the banks of the Buffels River and is an ideal venue for birders, veld and nature study groups.

GAMKASKLOOF TAKEN INTO THE SKIES

Two photojournalists recently visited Gamkaskloof to capture its atmosphere for in-flight magazines. D A Bloomer was taking photographs for an article to appear in British Air's magazine, while Daleen Botha, a freelance journalist, had been commissioned to prepare a similar feature for the SAA magazine. Other journalists who recently explored the Hell, Swartberg Pass and little towns of the Karoo were Heather Robertson, Andrew Donaldson, Andrew High and photographer Ruvan Boshoff. This team is working on a series of features entitled "Rediscovering South Africa" for the Sunday Times Lifestyle magazine. The Karoo generally did not captivate them, but they loved Prince Albert so much they almost did not want to leave. And, Beaufort West was given a boost when Tourism Bureau information officer Wendy Anthonie discussed the town and its surrounds with Terrence April during a special Saturday morning tourism programme on Radio Sonder Grense.

NUWE BOEK 'n BYBELTJIE VIR DIE JAGTER

(Tel No 02082 vra vir 4311)

Skrywer Herman Jonker sÍ idees vir artikels kry hy ooral, meesal oor brandewynwaterjies, maar die saadjie om 'n boek oor jag te skryf is oor tuisgebakte brood en konfyt op George Stegmann se plaas op die oewers van die Dywka geplant. Na die werk klaar was is Kennis vir die Jagter sommer deur 'n ieder en 'n elk met lof bekroon. Top tydskrifte het die boek as "die beste wat ooit vir leke geskrywe is" beskryf. Herman is 'n ou vriend van Tobie en Andťne Gous, eienaars van North en South Hotel by Prins Albertweg, en die hotel word dus sommer ook deel van die verhaal. Die boek kos R90, plus posgeld, en kan van Tobie bestel word.

THE DOMINEE WHO HELPED CHURCHILL ESCAPE

A man with strong ties to Prince Albert played a key role in Winston Churchill's dramatic escape from prison during the Anglo-Boer War. The story also has a modern-day link with one of Prince Albert's most elegant guest houses. After the Boers captured Churchill, who was then the war correspondent for the Morning Post, he was imprisoned at the State Model Schools in Pretoria. One of his fellow prisoners was Adrian Jacobus Louw Hofmeyr, "Attie" to his friends, who, as the second dominee called to Prince Albert, served the Dutch Reformed community there from 1883 to 1895. This suave, good looking and gifted preacher was a known political agitator. His friendship with Cecil John Rhodes and Lord Alfred Milner drew him deeply into politics and cost him his ministry. Suspended in 1899, he was banned from preaching for 25 years and was 70 by the time he was restored. Hofmeyr, who was once investigated by the church for a "romantic indiscretion," is the grandfather of Tessa Collins, owner of Collins House. Attie Hofmeyr officiated at her mother's wedding in 1935, and Sheila Collins, who now also resides at Collins House, has many stories relating to this colourful, much-loved and multi-talented man. It was the renegade Attie Hofmeyr who gave Churchill the slouch hat he used to disguise himself and slip past the prison guards to freedom. His escape is described in Churchill - Wanted Dead or Alive, the recently published book written by Sir Winston's granddaughter Celia Sandys. "Churchill scrambled over the fence," she writes, "put on a slouch hat he had acquired from Adrian Hofmeyr and had adorned at the last moment with a puggaree of the Transvaal colours. He casually walked through the gardens, passing within five yards of the sentry and out into the street. There were plenty of people about at that hour, but no one paid any attention to a man humming a tune as he walked down the centre of Skinner Street." In his book The Story of My Captivity, Adrian Hofmeyr wrote: "Churchill's escape was a great to do. It stopped the whole machinery of State. It paralysed the officials. It seemed to me that the war was forgotten."

SPOG MUSEUM HET BANDE MET KAROO

Bloemfontein se pragtige herehuis, Freshford, wat in 1986 gerestoureer en in 'n museum omskep is, het 'n skakel met die Karoo. Die huis, wat vernoem is na sy vrou se geboortedorp, is ontwerp en laat bou deur John Edwin Harrison, 'n Britse argitek wie in 1874 weens tuberkolose uit Engeland na 'n droŽr klimaat moes verhuis. Hy het hom in Hanover gevestig maar daar was min moontlikhede vir 'n argitek op so 'n klein Karoo dorpie. In 1875 het hy na Bloemfontein verhuis en die oprigting van Freshford het die volgende jaar begin. In Junie 1897 is hy terug Engeland toe om met Kate Caroline Marchant in die huwelik te tree. Hulle het in November die spogwoning betrek. Met die uitbreek van die Anglo-Boereoorlog het die Harrisons met dogtertjie Alice Julia Karoo toe gevlug en vir 'n kort rukkie was hulle in Prinse Albert woonagtig.

GUIDE HELPS READERS DECIPHER THE ROCKS

(Tel No 023-541-1366)

A reader-friendly guide to the geology of the Prince Albert area has been written by local resident Albert Theron. "Most tourists marvel at the spectacular rock formations of the Swartberg and wonder how these came about. Quite some scientific information is available, but it is beyond the understanding of the layman. I thus decided a down-to-earth, easy-to-read approach was needed," said Albert. The booklet, Prince Albert - Paleozoic to Present, covers the formation of the Cape folded mountains, rock formations, minerals and geological development of the Swartberg. It is obtainable from Prince Albert Tourist Bureau at R40 plus postage.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 80   July 2000

NEW MINISTER HAS DEEP ROOTS IN TOURISM

Mr Leon Markovitz has taken over responsibility for tourism in the Government of the Western Cape Province. He replaces Mr Hennie Bester, who has taken over the portfolio of Community Safety. In a recent cabinet reshuffle, Mr Markovitz was appointed Minister of Finance, Business Promotion and Tourism. He is also Minister in the Office of the Premier, and his responsibilities include the Gambling Act. Mr Markovitz’s is a director and shareholder in hotel, restaurant and tourism related companies and has a keen interest in tourism in both the private and public sectors. He served as a city councillor in Cape Town from 1980 to 1998 and was mayor of the Mother City from 1985 to 1987. He served as Minister of Finance and Development Planning (including responsibility for Gambling) in 1998. Mr Markovitz, 63, is married to Anthula and there are six children.

DIS GROOT SKOONMAAK OP MURRAYSBURG

Skoolkinders, sportgroepe en ander belangstellendes het onlangs ingespring om Murraysburg te verfraai, herstel en verbeter vir toeriste. "Die dorp is op ‘n hoofroete na Oos-Kaap oorde en behoort ‘n belangrike rol in Karootoerisme te speel," sÍ Alida Vermeulen, een van die organiseerders van hierdie groot gemeenskapsprojek. " Ons het besluit om die dorp te verfraai deur alle plastiesesakke, papier en rommel te verwyder en die omgewing skoon te hou. Ons maak ook ‘papierblokke’ om die afkap van bome te verminder. Mense wat die vullis in die veld en langs die paaie optel kan dit verruil vir hierdie blokke of vir bondeltjies hout. Heelwat boere help met die projek en voorsien ons van hout. Saad van veld- en lente-blomme is ooral gesaai. Bome en rose is in die middedorp geplant. Die dorpsnaam, wat op die koppie in klippies uitgespel is, is weereens wit geverf. Van die kinders het eko-toerisme-tonele op geboue deur die dorp geskilder. Ons het ‘n gemeenskaptuin begin om inwoners meer te leer oor inheemse plante. Ons publiseer ‘n maadelikse nuusbrief om belangstellendes op hoogte te hou oor die vordering van ons projekte."

PLEA TO PRESERVE SWARTBERG PASS

A man who has crossed the magnificent Swartberg Pass every week for the past 60 years joined a group of engineers, architects and tourism promoters who met recently to discuss the preservation of the internationally famous pass. In a plea to restore the pass, Pat Marincowitz, a veteran farmer in the area, said: "I was a small boy when I first crossed this pass with my dad. I’ll never forget the excitement of that experience. Since 1946, I have driven my own car across it once or twice a week. I know the pass, its ecology and ‘moods’ very well. In its 117 year life it has seen all kinds of weather, a great variety of vehicles and many kinds of people. Much has been written about it, but in the final analysis, I feel most of the problems are caused by poor drainage in a 3 km section from just below DroŽ Waterval to the Zig Zags. Four major storms hit this pass every year and tear the road to pieces there." Pat paid tribute to the Central Karoo District Council in maintaining the pass as a major tourist drawcard.

BUSINESS BOOMS IN THE SHADOW OF WAR

At the end of the 1800s the Karoo was brimful with entrepreneurs despite the country being embroiled in the Anglo-Boer War. Businessmen had sufficient confidence in the economy of the hinterland to launch new ventures and carry extensive stocks. Newspapers of the day contained advertisements of seasonal sales and announcements of "huge new stock" arrivals. The local plumber in Beaufort West, C A Heyne, advertised in 1900 that he was extending his business and had imported machinery to "bend iron for 50 to 400 gallon water tanks and to form single and double bend veranda roofs." Among the bigger entrepreneurs were Bayer and Davidoff, general merchants, who opened a huge new store in Beaufort West in November, 1901. They advertised an "enormous stock" which included "2 350 pairs of boots and shoes, 2 800 shirts, 375 pairs of trousers, 150 suits, 300 dozen ties, 100 dresses, corsets from 2/6 to 15/-, 200 pieces of muslin, 50 pieces of silk, 50 different kinds of hats for gentlemen from 3/6 to 35/-, a huge variety of sailor hats for men, women and children, and sunshades and umbrellas from 3/6d." Bayer and Davidoff also stocked linoleums, carpets, table cloths, curtains and groceries. Among their special opening offers was coffee at sixpence a pound.

PRINS ALBERTTER AS AMAKROKOKROKO GEKIES

Von Zeuner KŲhne van Prins Albert is gekies as die eerste skut vir die Suid-Afrikaanse nasionale Amakrokokroko span wat in Oktober vanjaar by die Paralimpiese-spele in Sydney, AustraliŽ, gaan deelneem. Hy is tans lid van die WP-span en het al in 1998 sy nasionale kleure in pistoolskyfskiet verwerf. Sy vader, Hansie KŲhne, self ‘n Springbokskut, is aangewys as spanbestuurder.

PAT ON THE BACK FOR LAINGSBURG

Tourists who recently visited the public cemetery in Laingsburg praised the neatness of British soldiers’ graves. Several buried there were wounded during a skirmish between British and Boers at Driefontein in the Seweweekspoort area in 1901. The wounded were brought to town by Dr Morris for medical care. A report in the Courier of September 19, 1901, states that one Boer died on the way. The article mentions that Col Crabbe’s column received news of the enemy’s whereabouts late one night. "The ninth column marched until two in the morning while Marshall’s Horse under Col Corbet proceeded towards them along a winding road. Col Crabbe’s column included a squadron of Imperial Yeomanry and some men from the Prince Albert Guard. They came up behind the enemy, completely surprising them and driving them into the hands of Marshall’s Horse. Col. Corbet and his men were holding a kloof and thus completely blocked the enemy’s egress. The Boers fought rather feebly. Two guns of the fifth battery of artillery shelled them as soon as the light permitted. The prisoners in gaol include about ten local rebels."

WAARDEVOLLE BOEKE AAN MUSEUM GESKENK

Heelwat waardevolle boeke is onlangs aan die Fransie Pienaar Museum op Prins Albert geskenk. Onder hulle is die eerste eksemplaar van die volledige geslagsregister en geskiedenis van die De Beer gesinne in Suid-Afrika. Die spesiale afdruk wat in leer gebind is is aan museumkurator Lydia Barella oorhandig deur mede outeurs David en Jaleen De Beer. Die twee het vir meer as 28 jaar op hierdie register gewerk en vir die eerste 11 jaar was hulle nie eers bewus van mekaar nie. Lydia het ook ‘n afskrif van Oom Koos Vertel van skrywer J J Nel (Oom Koos) gekry. Dit is die storie van sy kinderdae in die Laingsburg en Prins Albert omgewing. Colin Macrae het ‘n eksemplaar van sy boek "Life Etched in Stone" aan die museum geskenk. Heelwat melding is in die teks gemaak van oorlede Roy Oosthuizen en sy versameling. Graham L D Ross het ‘n eksemplaar van sy werk "Mountain Passes, Roads and Transportation in the Cape" aan die museum geskenk. Dit is so te sÍ ‘n lewenswerk wat handel oor elke pas in die Kaap Provinsie. Graham het die werk begin terwyl hy nog met die padingenieurs gewerk het.

HEIGH-HO, HEIGH-HO, ITS OFF TO WORK WE GO

South Africa’s new Basic Conditions of Employment Act, recently passed by Parliament, has drawn much comment. The main focus has been on overtime and the prescribed 45-hour working week. A glimpse into the past century underscores just how much things have changed. In January, 1901, Alf Munton, proprietor of the Queens Hotel in Beaufort West, wrote to the local newspaper, saying: "Employees get very little time for recreation. Many local businesses commence work at 6 a.m. and do not closing before 7.30 or 8 p.m. Granted staff get all day Sunday off and from l o’clock on Wednesdays. The former thanks to the law and the latter to employers. But, I ask, can anyone take sufficient exercise and recreation in their time off to fit them for the arduous duties imposed upon them by the 80 hours working week?" Alf Munton then pleaded for an amiable solution: "We do not want to work every hour that God sends us. So I propose the establishment of a Union and the payment of fees so that holidays can be advertised for farmers in particular to plan their shopping days. At present a holiday is suggested only a few days previous to the day it is granted." Six months later, an official notice appeared in the Courier stating that as from June 15, 1901, Beaufort West Municipal offices would close from 1 p.m on Saturdays instead of Wednesdays.

MANIE MARITZ, DIE VURIGE REBEL

Die tweede Boer om oorlog teen Britanje te verklaar en een van die vurige karakters van Suid-Afrikaanse geskiedenis was die onderwerp van ‘n praatjie wat deur Nicla Nortje van die Distrikraad aan Beaufort-Wes Rapportryers gelewer is. Manie Maritz, Boere-oorlog soldaat, generaal en rebel, het omtrent alles in sy lewe aangepak," sÍ Nicla. "Van ‘n nederige begin as kapkar of ‘taxi drywer’ het hy deur militÍre range tot bekende Boereleier beweeg. Maritz was amper 20-jaar oud toe hy vir die eerste keer ‘n perdekommando gesien het. Die Vrystaatse burgers was op pad na die oorlog in die Transvaal en hulle het ‘n onvergeetlike indruk op hom gemaak. Hy is dadelik terug Johannesburg toe waar hy by die verdedigingshoofkwartiere vir vrywillige diens aangemeld het. Dit was die begin van ‘n lang, interessante militÍre loopbaan vol kleurvolle episodes tydens die Boere-oorlog." Maritz, ‘n direkte afstammeling van Voortrekkerleier Gerrit Maritz, was fisies en geestelik ‘n sterk, onverskrokke man. Hy was ‘n kort, breed geboude man met vol gesig, massiewe kakebeen en opkrul snor. Sy sterk domineerende persoonlikheid en kort geknipte hare het mense laat dink dat hy van Duitse afkoms was. Sy eiewaan, opvlieŽnde humeur en patalogiese rasse oordeel het hom baie vyande besorg en sy vriende van hom vervreem. "Maritz het alles wat Brits of Joods was gehaat," het Nicla gesÍ. "Na die Boere-oorlog wou hy nie as Britse onderdaan leef nie en het in Europa rondgeswerf. ‘n Franse miljoenÍr, Jacques le Baudy, het Maritz versoek om hom te help om ‘heerser van die Sahara’ te word en die Russiese Regering het hom ‘n aanstelling in die Russiese leŽr aangebied. Vir beide het hy nie kans gesien nie. In 1914 het hy het teen Suid-Afrika gerebelleer, na die Duitsers in Suidwes-Afrika oorgestap, homself tot Generaal bevorder en oorlog teen Engeland verklaar Die rebellie was ‘n mislukking. Hy is terug na Europa waar hy ‘n aanhanger van die Nazisme geword het. Manie Maritz is 1940 op slag gedood in ‘n motorongeluk voor die Sentrale Gevangenis in Pretoria."

ECOLOGISTS HEAD FOR COPENHAGEN

Head of socio-ecology at the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West, Stephanus Jooste, has been invited to attend a short environmental ecology course in Denmark. He is one of six National Parks Board socio-ecologists invited to Copenhagen by Dansard, a Danish organisation sponsoring community projects in South African parks. They will complete a ten-day course covering environmental education, the establishment and operation of specialist committees, the preparation of funding applications and communications with best practices committees outside South Africa.

BEAUFORT-WES SE HART KLOP NOG STERK

Tel No. 023-415-1488

Gemeenskapsorganisasies in Beaufort-Wes en die plaaslike toerismeburo gaan vanjaar saamspan om ‘n mini-hartfees te reel. Dit sal vanaf 12 - 14 Oktober gehou word. Die program sluit heelwat plaaslike kunstenaars, dans- en sang-groepe in.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 81   August 2000

FARMERS LINK UP TO SAVE RIVERINE RABBIT

Three farmers in the Krom River area near Beaufort West have established a conservancy for the riverine rabbit, one of South Africa’s the most endangered species. "A recent three-day seminar in Stellenbosch, sponsored by the Pennsylvania Zoo and other USA organisations, prompted this action by Monty Truter, David Jack and ourselves," said Hillary Steven-Jennings, of Hillandale. "Research by Cape Nature Conservation has revealed many potential habitats for these nocturnal creatures on Booyskraal, Bokpoort and Hillandale." Riverine rabbits are only found in the Beaufort West and Victoria West areas of the Great Karoo. They are severely endangered due to loss of habitat and hunting. "We have already started education programmes," Hilary said.

SHOPRITE SPAN SAAM OM TOERISME TE BEVORDER

In ‘n gees van samewerking het die bestuur van die Beaufort-Wes tak van Shoprite besluit om die dorp se bemarkingsprojekte vir die komende fees te ondersteun met ‘n spesiale reeks kompetisies. "Toerisme is die lewensbloed van die dorp," sÍ Shoprite bestuurder Otto Goede. "Ons borg dus ‘n banier om toeriste in die dorp te verwelkom, sowel as heelwat pryse vir die straatmyl wedloop. Ek en die ander 78 personeellede van die Beaufort-Wes tak gaan ook werk daarvan maak om kaartjies te verkoop vir ‘n kompetisie waarin R1 500 kruideniersware, ‘n Weber-braai of R500 gewen kan word. Dit is deel van die toeristeburo se groot fondsinsamelingprojek om ‘n professionele volkleur-brosjure vir die dorp te laat druk."

MAJOR FUNDING FOR PARK PROJECTS

Community-based tourism projects at the Karoo National Park near Beaufort West have recently been granted major funding. This is as a result of a cultural history research project conducted for the Karoo National Park by Rose Willis, of the Central Karoo District Council’s Regional Tourism Office, in collaboration with the park’s socio-ecology department, honorary rangers and representatives from all communities in Beaufort West. The project, which has a firm tourism and job-creation base, resulted in a possible funding of over Rl,5 million from the Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism’s Poverty Relief Fund as well as R50 000 from Danced, a Danish government organisation. The Ou Schuur project was also recently adjudged one of the best of its kind at a Best Practices Congress at the Kruger National Park.

SWARTBERG LODGE DOES IT AGAIN

The wine list at the Swartberg Country Lodge in Prince Albert has won a Diners Club 2000 Platinum Award for the third year in a row. It is one of only eight winners in the Western Cape and 14 in SA. Owners Blackie and Lorraine Swart are delighted. The Diners Club merit awards were introduced to raise the standard of wine available at accommodation venues and restaurants.

KAROO’S FAMILY OF EAGLES GROWS

The magnificent booted eagle, once believed to breed only in the northern hemisphere, is now also breeding in the Karoo. Raptor researchers Rob Martin and Dawn Tyler recently discovered five nests between Three Sisters and Beaufort West. "These are near Travalia at Three Sisters, in the Swartkloof area on Montana, near Nelspoort, and on Lemoenfontein outside Beaufort West. There are nests in the Karoo National Park, at De Hoop and near De Jagers Pass in the Beaufort West area as well," said Rob, who works for the Department of Forestry at Stellenbosch University and conducts raptor research as a hobby. "Before 1973, the booted eagle was thought to be a rare, non-breeding migrant from Europe. In August of that year, my late father, John Martin, saw a pair near Nieuwoudtville. They seemed to be aggressively chasing other birds away from a nest. Experts were sceptical, but my father confirmed the nest. It was the first ever found in the southern hemisphere. Since then we have recorded 183 nesting sites and we estimate there could be about 700 pairs in South Africa.

Although we now know that the booted eagle is a reasonably widespread breeding bird in the Western Cape, we continue the project because it gives us so much pleasure." Rob and Dawn are no strangers to the Karoo. They compiled the birding lists for Gamkapoort Nature Reserve and the Karoo National Park. "Farmers interested in assisting should look for these eagles in wooded areas where there are pillars of rock," said Rob.

KURSUSSE VIR TOERGIDSE

‘n Kort kursus vir toerleiers word deur Prins Albert Toerismeburo aangebied. "Ons wil inwoners meer bewus maak van wat in hul dorp aangaan sodat hulle dit met toeriste kan deel," sÍ ontwikkelingskomitee voorsitter Marie du Toit. "Toeriste vra dikwels die eerste persoon in die straat om vir hulle te help. Ons wil graag hÍ dat elke inwoner ‘n ambassadeur vir die dorp sal wees in sulke gevalle." ‘n Soortgelyke projek word ook in Beaufort-Wes aangepak. Busi Nkosi-Radebe, voorsitter van Velela Tourism Training, het onlangs ‘n praatjie in die dorp gelewer oor die belangrikheid van plaaslike toergidse.

WANTED: DETAILS ON A MAN WHO BORROWED BARROWS

In 1865, Irishman Joseph Michel Gilligham, borrowed five wheelbarrows from the Beaufort West Municipality to celebrate the birthday of "our most gracious majesty" Queen Victoria. Just over 30 years later his eldest son, Solomon William, helped form the pro-Boer Irish Brigade that fought against the British during the Anglo-Boer War. Then, in July 1900, Solomon and Lieutenant Tossel, of the Transvaal police, tried to blow up the Pretoria magazine. They were caught and deported to Ceylon. Hearing of these happenings was all Maurice Bennell of Bloemfontein needed to search for more about this side of his family. The wheelbarrows especially piqued his interest. He was not able to find out what his great grandfather, a staunch Irish Catholic, and his friends, J Ferguson, J Clench, C V Fraser and B Morse, had in mind. What he did discover was that Beaufort West Municipality agreed to loan them five barrows in "good repair" so long as they "bound themselves to return them in the same order and if they ‘injured’ the barrows to repair them at their own expense." Shortly after Joseph Gillingham arrived in Beaufort West he set up business as a house painter, baker and butcher. He was a kind hearted man who died penniless through allowing too much credit. After the Anglo-Boer War, Solomon returned from Ceylon with a bride, Olive Stainton. Maurice is now trying to trace the story of their lives. He would appreciate any information.

DIE GEHEIME BOME BLOM WEER

Elke lente pronk ‘n klompie bome naby die waterval buite Beaufort-Wes met die pragtigste rooi blomme, en jaarliks vra toeriste watter soort bome hulle is. Toe plaaslike voŽlkykers Ann Mocke en Madeleine van der Merwe vanjaar in die gebied gestap het, het hulle ook oor die bome begin wonder. "Ek het eens gehoor dat die bome amper ‘n honderd jaar oud is,"sÍ Ann. "Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog was daar glo ‘n Britse kamp in daardie omgewing. Ou mense van die dorp vertel dat die bome se saad met die voer van die perde in gekom het en omdat die perde daar kos en water gekry het, het die sade ontkiem en begin groei. Ek sal graag wil weet of iemand hierdie storie kan bevestig, en miskien vir ons kan sÍ watter soort bome dit is."

THE SWINDLER WHO PLAYED A CHARMING TUNE

An amiable man of science, whom legendary policeman Colonel Ulf Boberg described as the cleverest criminal he’d ever met, once charmed Beaufort Westers with his piano playing. This refined man was Dr Thornton, a doctor of science, analytical chemist, world traveller, swindler and international confidence trickster. In the 1930s, Colonel Boberg caught up with him in a small Free State town. He writes in his book, The Boberg Story: "Thornton, then just past the prime of life, was a tall, suave, well-built man with silvery hair. Polished and refined, he dressed immaculately. His educated speech and impeccable manners inspired confidence. Names of royalty, the rich and famous peppered his speech. Thornton also played the piano excellently, as I learned during the preparatory hearing in Beaufort West. His cleverness lay in the fact that he was satisfied to take a little from everyone. Few realised they had been swindled. No one complained to the police." The FBI picked up Thornton’s trail when he swindled a rich American woman out of thousands of dollars. Before they could trap him he vanished, only to turn up in London involved in similar crimes. With Scotland Yard hot on his heels, Thornton disappeared. Then an advertisement in leading South African newspapers caught Boberg’s eye. It offered "£10 000 for immediate investment." He investigated and picked up Thornton’s trail. Eventually he caught up with him in the Free State. At first pleading innocence, Thornton later admitted: "Mr Boberg, you’ve got me." Thornton skillfully handled his own defence, but was found guilty on all counts. The Supreme Court sentenced him to 4Ĺ years in prison for fraud. As he walked out of the courtroom he tapped Boberg on the shoulder and said: "I regret coming to South Africa and getting caught by a local detective when neither the FBI nor Scotland Yard could trace me. I congratulate you." People called him a liar, charlatan and cheap trickster. But Boberg disagreed. To him Thornton remained an enigma. "That he had a distinguished career I could not doubt. And I wondered what else was true when I found an old newspaper photograph showing him standing next to King Alfonso of Spain." Thornton died in prison.

MEER AS ‘n MILJOEN SOEK INLIGTING

Die Wes-Kaaptoerismeraad se webblaaie is ‘n groot sukses. IT-bestuurder Faye Reagon sÍ meer as ‘n miljoen kykers het die WKTR-webtuiste besoek na dit in Mei gelanseer is. "Die grootste belangstelling kom van die VSA, gevolg deur Frankryk, Duitsland en ander Europese lande. Ons is verheug met die vinnige en groot reaksie. Ons weet ons is op die regte pad," sÍ sy.

DREAM CATCHER UNITES TWO PRINCES

A strange device in a window has brought two princes together in cyberspace. Said to have magical properties, the device, a Canadian Indian dream catcher, hangs in a window at Prince Albert Tourist Bureau. It set Ailsa Tudhope thinking, so she began to browse the web in the hopes of finding out more about dream catchers. She found a site for Prince Albert in Saskatchewan, Canada, and sent them an e.mail. Cheryl Lavoie, Tourism and Convention Bureau Administrator, replied: "It was wonderful to hear from you. I had not realised there was another Prince Albert." The Princes are now exchanging brochures and information. Cheryl also explained the purpose of the dream catcher. "The Indians believe that the night air is filled with natural and supernatural thoughts. Some manifest as good dreams, others as bad. These dreams all get caught up in the dream catcher. The good ones slip through the centre hole and waft down to the sleeper, but the bad ones don’t know the way, so they stay tangled in the webbing and perish at first light."

KAROO BLOMMEPRAG BEKOOR LUISTERAARS

‘n Onlangse praatjie oor die blommeprag van die Karoo met uitsaaier Leslie MacKenzie op Fine Music Radio het groot belangstelling gelok. Beaufort-Wes toeristebeampte Wendy Antonie het luisteraars vertel van die rooi en oranje alwyne wat stokstyf staan soos kerse in die veld. Sy het die heerlike reuk van die aandblom beskryf, en vertel van vygies wat soos lappieskomberse lÍ. Dan het sy vertel van die rooi klokkie blommetjies van die kankerbos, die giftige blou tulpe en die goud-geel donsies van die acacia karoo, die inheemse doringboom. Luisteraars het dit so geniet dat hulle amper onmiddellik begin bel het om meer uit te vind.

WOMAN WITH A FRAGRANT VISION

(Tel No 049-845-9006)

Fragrant fields of lavender in the Karoo is no more the stuff of fantasy. A little over a year ago, Annemarie Kroon planted a thousand English lavender bushes in the Camdeboo Valley. This spring she will plant another thousand on the farm Klipdrift near Graaff Reinet. "My vision is to eventually create rolling fields of lavender. This will be a delight to see when they flower and the scent will be heavenly on gentle Karoo breezes." Annemarie, with three children under four, said starting the project was a hectic experience. Nevertheless, her lavender products are already on shelves of up-market gift shops. "The range is small, but its success has taken me by surprise. As yet there is little to see, but within a year I hope to conduct tours around our farm to share the facts and fantasies of lavender with visitors."

ONTMOET DIE ‘MENSE’ VAN DIE VOňLW RELD

Na die vroegoggend roep van ‘n piet-my-vrou het voŽltjieliefhebber Manie Malan onlangs die wÍreld van sy vlieŽnde vriende uit ‘n nuwe hoek bekyk. "Ver weg, voor daglig en lank voor die meeste mense oorweeg om op te staan het ek ‘n piet-my-vrou hoor roep. Sy stem was vol angs en spanning," sÍ hy. "Wat is so dringend wonder ek? Is hy miskien ‘n sinode lid wat deur die nag wakker gesit het en besin oor verrigtinge? Bid hy dat die spookbeelde terug gedryf moet word in die donkerpoel van onderbewussyn? Of was dit maar net ‘n slang in die tuin, wat hom onrustig gemaak het?" Manie sien talle menslike karaktertrekke in sy geveerde vriende. "Die muisvoŽl is ’n vandaal in ‘n manelpak, ‘n egte fariseŽr, skelm, maar mooi. Die geelvink is ‘n konsertinaspeler in ‘n boere-orkes, die hadedah is ‘n doemprofeet, wat sy ontevredenheid in ‘n dik stem uitspreek, en die witkruisarend is die engel van vergelding. Die tarentaal ‘n neulkous wat aanhoudend kerm met ‘n stem soos die droewige skreeu van ‘n ou kruiwawiel. Die spreeu, met sy opvlieŽnde persoonlikheid, is die skinderbek, raser en vloeker van die voŽlwÍreld. Kraaie is narre, en tortelduiwe geesdriftiges wat in hul sagte stemmetjies al die liefde en leed van hul wÍreld vertel. Swaeltjies is, soos die Engelse sÍ, ‘poetry in motion,’ en windswaels getuig van stille water, diepe grond. Die kransduif is ‘n trotse koning wat tot die hoogste sfere verban is. Die laksman is ‘n leierouderling met ‘n geestelike magshonger. Hy dra ‘n manel, tree soos die predikant op, maar daar is geen liefde in sy oŽ nie. Kwikstertjies is deugsames wat weet van genade. Hulle is verbasend eg. Die uil is die begrafnisondernemer, stilswygend en ernstig. Die stille rooiborsduiwe getuig net van goed. Mossies is parasiete, plakkers van die agterwerf, oppervlakkige bedelaars. En, daar is kinders, die meelogies en tinktinkies, weerloos, en klein met piep stemmetjies."

MEIRINGSPOORT ONCE ALMOST ON THE RAIL

In the 1930s, entrepreneurs planning economic development of the Karoo proposed building a railway line through Meiringspoort to link Beaufort West and Mossel Bay. This, they felt, would create new markets for the south-western districts of the then Cape Province and so develop the infrastructures of settlements on both sides of the Swartberg. A conference, attended by all public bodies, businessmen, farmers and other interested parties was held at Mossel Bay in September, 1934. Delegates heard that the plan had been proposed a few years previously, but was abandoned due to lack of finance. It was again under consideration. Approaches were to being made to the Railway Administration and the Government to build a line from Le Roux Station in the Klein Karoo to Beaufort West in the heart of the Great Karoo. Chambers of commerce, farmers associations and local government organisations all supported the idea. It was reported that the route for the line had already been surveyed. Cost of construction was estimated at £400 000, or £7 000 a mile. Experts felt this was greatly over-stated as "there were only six miles of Meiringspoort where hard rock may present problems." Despite support and enthusiasm for the project, which all agreed would open up "the most picturesque part of the country," the scheme was again abandoned due to shortage of money.

FIETSRIT NA DIE HEL

(Tel No. 023-541-1736)

Die tweede "Na Hel en Terug" fietstoer word op 11 en 12 November vanjaar gehou. Op diť gewilde uitstappie kan deelnemers hulle verlustig in die prag van die Swartberge. Die roete begin bo in die berge op die Swartbergpas en eindig in Gamkaskloof, of Die Hel, soos dit alombekend staan. Akkommodasie in die Kloof is beperk en net 250 inskrywings kan aanvaar word."

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 82  September 2000

FOOTPRINTS IN CYBERSPACE

An illiterate who uses a sophisticated scientific system as an everyday tool has presented the Great Karoo to Dutch TV viewers. A TV crew from the Netherlands recently visited the Karoo National Park to film the ultra-modern CyberTracker wildlife management system for the popular Jules Unlimited series broadcast by VARA. "Each 25-minute broadcast, designed to keep viewers abreast of the latest scientific developments, has well over a million viewers," says researcher Julia Greiner. "The programme relies on active hosts and good camera angles to make viewers feel part of what they see." The man who uses the CyberTracker and who put it through its paces for the TV team was Pokkie Benade, an illiterate but expert game tracker. Pokkie's first contact with the park was 23 years ago when he worked as a labourer on one of the teams contracted to clear the area so that it could be proclaimed a national park. Once the park became a reality, Pokkie joined the permanent staff. As the park developed, so he moved up through the ranks to become a field ranger. "His keen eyesight and superb powers of observation made him an ideal choice," says park manager Leighton Hare. "Pokkie has never learned to read and write. At first he tracked the animals on foot. Later he used a vehicle to reach specific spots and then flitted from tree to tree like a shadow, recording the movements of various species. Now he uses the CyberTracker, a computerised, satellite-linked system which makes use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) to record the movement of individual animals, their grazing patterns and footprints for a databank."

MEIRINGSPOORT WEER OOP

Meiringspoort, die gewilde roete tussen die Groot en Klein Karoo, word op 20 Oktober heropen. Dertig maande gelede is die poort so erg beskadig tydens 'n vloed dat dit gesluit moes word. Vir twee en 'n half jaar was eenrigting verkeer moontlik en daar moes lank gewag word by verskeie versperrings, Maar dis nou alles oor. Die pad is herstel, herbou en verbeter en hierdie pragtige toerisme roete deur die prag en natuurskoon van die Swartberg kan weer ten volle benut word.

GRAND DUCHESS GETS A FACELIFT

Matjiesfontein, the grand duchess of the Karoo, has been given a facelift. Owner David Rawdon recently completed a major revamp and refurbishment of the village and the Lord Milner Hotel complex. This included the provision of new riverside accommodation, the creation of a conference centre and motor museum. To celebrate the completion of the project he invited a small party of friends to "an opening weekend." On arrival, they were transported into the elegant world of Old England. They were required to "dress for dinner" before being conveyed in a red London bus to a 1940's railways dining car to enjoy cocktails. A splendid dinner in the Lord Milner's Victorian dining room followed. Much later, nightcaps to the music of a minstrel group in the traditional pub set the folk dancing, some almost until dawn. "It was wonderful. Gave us a taste of what Matjiesfontein must have been like in its heyday," said one.

MATRIC PUPILS LEARN ABOUT TOURISM

Tourism is an exciting world with a wide variety of job opportunities. This was the message given to matriculation pupils at Mandlenkosi High School in Beaufort West by Central Karoo regional tourism co-rdinator Rose Willis and Western Cape Tourism Board's co-ordinator of the Tourism Education Trust programme Msi Nxele. Their talks were designed to create an awareness of the wider world of tourism. "All too often people see a jobs in tourism as only guides, tour and travel organisers, ticket booking services or information dissemination." said Rose. " We tried to show them that there is wide scope with many exciting possibilities in the world of tourism."

TOERISME WORD HERSKEP

Die Suid-Afrikaanse toerismebedryf gaan omvattend herskep word deur nuwe wetgewing wat in die Parlement ter tafel gelÍ word. In 'n artikel in Sake Burger skryf Hein Swart dat Satoer en die toergidsstelsel herstruktureer gaan word. Dit beteken dat enigeen wat voortaan as gids wil optree geregistreer sal moet wees. Die transformasie vind plaas teen die agtergrond van nuwe beleidsontwikkelings met betrekking tot toerisme, onderwys, opleiding, arbeid, geslagtelikheid, menseregte en omgewingsbestuur. Satoer sal suiwer 'n toerisme bemarkingsorganisasie wees.

LEARNING TO HELP

Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Murraysburg delegates said they were given fresh impetuous by the Tourism Help Desk workshop recently presented at the Karoo National Park by Charles Langdon and Bruno Dusman of Empower. The programme, backed by the Department of Tourism, is designed to establish Tourism Help Desks to assist with development of small, tourism-related businesses throughout each region of the Western Cape Province..

BEDREIGDE SPESIES OP WILGEBOSKLOOF GEVIND

Gerry Theron, parkhoof van Blyderivierspoort, was verheug om onlangs seldsame diertjies op 'n Karooplaas te sien. Hy het verdere ondersoek gaan instel en vir Andrť en Suzaan Theron van Wilgeboschkloof later laat weet watter eienaardige diertjies op hul plaas te sien is. "Een is die Namaqualand panser akkedis Gerrhosauris typicis wat in die rooi data boek as bedreig aangedui is," sÍ hy. "Dan was daar 'n mosseltjie, of 'fairy tadpole,' wat net in die Nuweveldreeks voorkom, en 'n dikkop gelemijntjie Barbis anoplus wat totaal by sy omgewing aangepas het. Hierdie vissies is normaalweg silwerkleurig, maar hier het hulle goud geraak en lyk nou presies soos sonstrale op water."

OUTA LAPPIES GETS TOP AWARD

Jan Schoeman, better known in the Karoo as Outa Lappies, recently received the Tourism Personality of the Year award in the Western Cape Tourism Board Premier's MTN Cape Tourism Awards competition. It was presented to him by Western Cape Premier Gerald Morkel. Outa Lappies built a "Wall of Culture" on the farm where he lives, Botterkraal, about 20km from Prince Albert. He is often seen along the byways of the Karoo pulling his strange rickshaw which has attached to it a line of rattling little "lighthouses" of dwindling size. This conveyance, his colourful patchwork clothes and the wall of glass and shards intrigue tourists and encourage them to stop for a chat on the road between Prince Albert and Prince Albert Road.

DAMES HOU GROOT GHOLFDAG

Daar is normaalweg net ses dames in Laingsburg wat gholf speel, en jaarliks sien hulle uit na die Dames Gholfdag op die plaaslike baan. Maar vanjaar is dit vol bespreek. "Die geleentheid het so populÍr geword dat laat inskrywings nou weggewys moet word. Dames van regoor die Wes-Kaap sal op 20 Oktober meeding vir 'n trofee en groot pryse," sÍ Francis van Wyk een van die organiseerders. "Die Laingsburg Dames Gholfdag is baie meer as net nog 'n gholfwedstryd. Ons gebruik die geleentheid om toerisme in ons gebied te bevorder en besoekers 'n heerlike Karoo ontbyt by Laings Lodge, een van die hoof borge van die geleentheid, aan te bied. Gaste word ook ingelig oor Laingsburg se

RABBITS GO 'HOME'

The riverine rabbit in-pen breeding programme at the Karoo National Park has come to a successful end. As agreed when this programme was started almost seven years ago, four adult rabbits, three females and one male have been returned to Jan Human, of Sandgat near Victoria West, who contributed breeding stock to the original project at De Wild Research Centre, near Pretoria. "These were the only rabbits still in the pens when we closed them down," said park manager Leighton Hare. "We are thus confident a small colony has settled and are breeding naturally." The two experts, Ken Coetzee of Conservation Management Services, and Dr Rod Randall, of S A National Parks, recently completed phase one of a research project to identify rabbit habitats in relatively flat terrain and on the edges of the escarpment. They combined their expertise with remote sensing devices and digital satellite imagery to identify habitats," said Leighton. "This clearly demonstrates how modern technology can be used in conservation."

GEHEIM VAN PRAGTIGE ROOI BOOM ONTRAFEL

Tussen Johanna Spann van Beaufort-Wes en Sydney Witbooi van die Karoo Nasionale Park is die geheim van die pragtige bome naby die waterval buite die dorp ontrafel. Na Johanna die storie in Round-up No 81 gelees het, het sy 'n stuk van die boom vir identifikasie doeleindes gaan haal. Sydney het dit nageslaan en uitgevind dat die Schotia afra var.angustifolia is. In Afrikaans word dit dit Karooboerboon genoem, in Engels die Karoo Boer-bean en in Xhosa die umQongci. "Daar is nie eers een van hierdie pragtige bome in die park nie," sÍ Sidney. "Ons vermoed die bome by die waterval die enigstes in die gebied is. Karooboerboonbome kom normalweg voor langs riviere en teen heuwels in die Klein Karoo en Oos-Kaap. Dit is wel moontlik dat die bome naby Beaufort-Wes gegroei het van sade wat ingekom het saam met perde voer tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog ," sÍ Sydney. Boerbone is wonderlike blombome met soet nektar wat voŽls lok. Die volksnaam "boerboon" verwys na die sade wat vroeŽr jare deur die boere fyngemaal was as a plaasvervanger vir koffie. Argeologiese ontdekkings bewys dat sade deur mense benut is sedert die Laat Steentydperk. "Bome kan maklik van vars saad gekweek word," se Sydney. "Hulle groei egter baie stadig."

TREES FOR TOURISTS AND A KING

Members of Murraysburg's tourism committee are beautifying this Karoo town by planting trees and flowers at strategic spots. "We hope that by Christmas our village will be beautiful enough to encourage tourists to stop," said project organiser Alida Vermeulen. Research reveals that the town once before held a festive-tree planting day. This was back in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. An article in the Courier of August that year states: "Notwithstanding the great trials Murraysburg has had during the years of war, there was a good attendance of local residents and farmers from the district for the coronation celebrations. With few exceptions there was a hearty show of goodwill. Rev Perold of the Dutch Reformed Church preached a stirring sermon calling for loyalty to king and country. After this an oak and acacias were planted and New Park was renamed Coronation Park. Speeches were made by the Rev Perold, the mayor, Mr van der Merwe, the magistrate, Mr Hudson, as well as Mr Sackville-West and Mr D Theron. The health of the king was drunk at noon to great applause. In the afternoon horse races and other events were held and in the evening a display of fireworks wound up one of the brightest days the town has seen for years."

GEOLOOG GEE MENING OOR STEENKOOL

"Ek was bly om in Round-up van Junie te lees dat mnr Arnold Hutchinson van Beaufort-Wes die pseudokool laag van die Karoo bestudeer," skryf Johan Loock, geoloog van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat. "Ek het ses jaar gelede die pseudokoollaag van Leeurivierspoort se 'myn' gesien en ek koop nie die storie dat die myne toegeskiet is om die Britte te verhoed om die kool te gebruik tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog nie. Die pseudokool kom voor as 'n dun en nie 'n dik laag nie. Die storie van die Prins Albert myn is vreemd. Ek sal graag meer wil weet. Daar is wel swart skalie naby Klaarstroom, wat gemyn was. Daar was wel 'n myn noordwes van Laingsburg."

MAYOR TO THE RESCUE

When Laingsburg mayor Mike Gouws heard of German tourists stranded outside the village he personally sped to the rescue. This greatly impressed Professor Wolfgang Mitter and his wife, who were on a conducted exploration of the Karoo with Keith van der Schyff of Redwood Tours. Their vehicle broke down a short distance from Laingsburg and Keith, a former resident, telephoned the village to see if anyone would collect his passengers and take them to tea. "We were greatly honoured and surprised to be told our good Samaritan was the mayor. He did us proud." said Professor Mitter. "Not only did Mr Gouws show the visitors Laingsburg and its surrounds, he entertained them with tales of its history and delivered them safely to the farm where they were to have lunch. This is top class service," said Keith. Professor Mitter, an expert in comparative education, met with tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis in Beaufort West to discuss the Western Cape Tourism Board's Schools Training programme and the Karoo National Park's Ou Schuur Information Centre and Community Project, which he pronounced as impressive.

GASVRYHEID BEINDRUK ATLEET

Twee jong mans wat tydens 'n kragonderbreking in Prins Albert beland het was baie beindruk met die gasvryheid van die dorp. Hulle was langsafstand atleet Frikkie Cornelius en sy bestuurder Fanie Stanton. "Voor ons in die donker verdwaal het was vriendelike inwoners byderhand om akkommodasie en kos aan te bied," sÍ Frikkie wie elke dag 50km hardloop op 'n vondsinsameling veldtog vir Transoranje Skool vir die Dowes. Sy mikpunt is R200 000. Frikkie en Fanie was by The Views gehuisves, die Swartberg Country Lodge het hul etes geborg en Valentine Retief van Bijlia Cana het Frikkie se bene gemaseer voor hy weer die pad gevat het.

GUERNSEY BREEDERS TO MEET IN KAROO

The Karoo forms part of the programme for international Guernsey breeders attending a congress in South Africa next year. They will explore the Karoo and Swartberg Mountains from Prince Albert from March 11 to 13. Their programme includes drives through Meiringspoort and across the Swartberg Pass, a stroll along the Koppie Bossie Trail, a historic tour of the village and a visit to the museum. They will also enjoy safari drives, bird watching, a traditional braai and a breakfast at Gays Dairy.

ROSE VIR GEDAGTENIS

Prins Albert Tuinbouklub het die tuin van die Fransie Pienaar Museum onder hulle vlerk geneem in 'n poging om die dorp vir toerisme op te kikker. Heelwat inwoners het stamrose ter nagedagtenis aan geliefdes geborg om langs die paadjie na die voordeur geplant te word. Die idee is om 'n prag tuin te skep wat toeriste se aandag sal trek en meer besoekers na die museum lok.

NEW GUIDES PASS THE TEST

Eighteen Prince Alberters recently attended a special training course arranged by Mari du Toit of the development committee. Thirteen passed the tests. "The reason for this is that some people attended only to gain more information about their town," said Mari "One of these was eight-year-old Lance van Niekerk, who wanted to find out more about the cannon in the church grounds." Badges and certificates were presented to these new info guides at the Tourist Bureau's Annual General Meeting. These people will assist the bureau during major events such as the Olive Festival.

KAMPVUUR KUIER 'N GROOT SUKSES

Kuier om 'n kampvuur is 'n heerlike ervaring en 'n egte erfenis van die Karoo sÍ Prins Albert se toerisme ontwikkelingskomitee. Hulle het dus 'n kampvuur kuier in die Swartberge vir Erfenisdag gereŽl. "Dit was 'n reuse sukses," sÍ organiseerder Mari du Toit. "Ons het in die agtermiddag met 'n piekniek begin, sommer vroeg ons vure aan die gang gekry want dit was donkermaan. Teen die aand het 'n fris windjie opgekom en dit het almal styf teenmekaar laat sit om na spookstories van die berge te luister terwyl hulle heerlike potjiekos geniet het.

Toeriste wat bygewoon het het die uitstappie geniet."

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 84  November/December 2000

THE HELL LOOKS UP

Cape Nature Conservation is upgrading, refurbishing and stabilising most of the historic buildings in Gamkaskloof, The Hell. R1,1m has been obtained for this important project. Work has already progressed in some areas, while tenders are awaited in others. The restoration of Oukloof, the oldest raw brick and clay farmhouse, has been completed. This house, home of Zanie and Anita van der Walt, Nature Conservation officers and full-time residents of the valley, revealed many of its secrets during restoration. “The house was stripped back to basics and this gave us a good deal of much-needed historic information,” said Zanie. “It has now  been totally restored and repainted in its original colours. A small information and conference centre has also been created. Many more tourists are now opting to overnight in Gamkaskloof as it offers a prime eco-tourism experience."

BEAUFORT-WES KYK OPNUUT NA TOERISME

Toerisme is die lewensbloed van Beaufort-Wes. Die dorp, ‘n wyd-bekende poort na oorde van die Wes-Kaap, is ‘n gewilde oornag bestemming op die N1 hoofweg. ‘n Vergadering om toerisme in die dorp te versterk, ‘n beter dorpsbeeld op te bou en werkloosheid uit te skakel, is onlangs deur burgermeester Truman Prince belÍ.   Mnr Pierre Nel, bestuurder van Oudtshoorn Toerisme Buro, is genooi om die vergadering toe te spreek. By die vergadering is beter benutting van die deurgangsverkeer, nouer samewerking en die opbouing van standaarde ook bespreek. “Beaufort-Wes moet ‘n bestaan maak uit toerisme en as dit reg bedryf word sal dit ‘n belangrike werkskeppende faktor wees. Onthou goeie kommunikasie is die sleutel tot goeie samewerking,” het mnr Nel gesÍ.

RARE FISH FOUND IN MEIRINGSPOORT

While engineers worked on the flood-damaged road through Meiringspoort they discovered extremely rare fish breeding in the rivers. "We actually found three fish species in the river," said road engineer Roy Pietersen. "The three were the Cape kurper, the slender, red-finned minnow and the small-scaled, red-finned minnow.    Both minnows are  rare and highly endangered." At least 76 different bird species have been recorded in Meiringspoort. The diverse flora in this poort is among the richest in the world. It has led to the development of some distinct and beautiful species.     A new information centre was openened at the Waterfall, a popular stop in the centre of  Meiringspoort.   It is already proving to be  popular among tourists who stop at this site to picnic and explore.

OUES GENIET OPE-DAG

Inwoners van Beaufort-Wes se oue tehuise, onderwysers en gemeenskapsleiers het ‘n onglangse ope-dag by die Karoo Nasionale Park se Ou Schuur Inligtingsentrum geniet Plaaslike dansers, sangers en musikante het vermaak  vir hierdie feestige   geleentheid, wat deel van ‘n publisiteitsveldtog gevorm het, verskaf.   “Ons wil graag meer mense deelmaak van die park,” sÍ sosio-ekoloog Stephanus Jooste.

ROCK ART DECOR FOR GUEST LODGE

Willem and Carissa Smuts of Kareebosch have always wanted to share as much as possible of the Murraysburg environment with visitors to their farm. It lies in a beautiful area on the banks of the Buffels River, and was once the site of oil explorations. Willem and Carissa wanted to reveal the enchantment of the area even before visitors began to explore. So they asked local artist Janet Kingwill to paint “typical veld scenes” on the walls of their accommodation lodge. “I developed local rock art engravings into murals. The designs, involving considerable research, have been highly praised,” says Janet.

DIE ORREL MET ‘N STORIE

Die orrel in Sutherland se NG kerk is deur die weduwee van die digter D G Esterhuyse geskenk, skryf ds Vernon Marais, na hy Round-up No 83 gelees het. “Ek is so bly om te verneem dat mense in Duitsland iets meer van ons orrel en kerk wil weet. Die kerkgebou se hoeksteen is op 8 Mei 1899 gelÍ. Die kerk sou op 27 Oktober 1900 ingewy word, maar toe breek ‘n witseerkeel epidemie uit. Daarna neem die Engelse troepe op 3 September 1901, tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog, die kerk oor as fort en kaserne. Uiteindelik is die kerk in April 1904, ingewy. Die orrel is deur Schlag en Seuns van Schweidnitz vervaardig teen ‘n koste van R700. Toe die Engelse soldate die kerkgebou beset het, was die orrel gelukkig nog in die winkel van R Muller in Kaapstad. Na die oorlog is dit teen ‘n koste van £63 na Sutherland toe vervoer. Tydens die inwyding van die kerk is dit deur ds J A Malherbe van Goudini bespeel. Die orrel en die pragtige klipkerk self bly groot toeriste attraksies.”

GENERAL SMUTS RIDES AGAIN

Tel No 044-343-1649

Anglo-Boer War researcher Taffy Shearing has finished the third book in her Commando Series. General Jan Smuts and His Long Ride, is a 248-page work, with nine maps and 90 photographs. It costs R155. It follows the story of Smuts’s epic ride through the Cape Colony during the Anglo-Boer War when he tried to elicit support for the Boer cause. It covers an action-packed four-month period during which Smuts and his small force experienced dreadful weather, endured hunger and faced the British in a series of dramatic skirmishes. Leo Amery, author of The Times History of the Anglo- Boer War refers to Smuts’s ride as “the most daring raid of the war.” Taffy and her husband, David, followed Smuts’s route from the Orange River to O’Kiep. They also traced the routes followed by Commandant Jaap van Deventer and a party of stragglers including Denys Reitz, who ended up in Gamkaskloof, The Hell.

PRINCE ALBERT KRY ‘N KUNSGALERY

Prins Albert spog nou met ‘n kunsgalery. Eienaars Anobť Badenhorst en Christine Thomas spesialiseer in Karookuns en werke van plaaslike kunstenaars. Hulle beplan om twee uitstallings ‘n jaar te hou. Die eerste sal die stillewes van Ann Carr vertoon. Kunsklasse sal ook aangebied word.

CYBER GREETINGS FROM SOUTH CAROLINA

Walter C Raczkowski, tourism information officer of Beaufort, South Carolina, in the USA, has extended an electronic handshake to Beaufort West in South Africa’s Great Karoo. He sent an e.mail from  www.BeaufortOnline.com  to Rose Willis, Central Karoo tourism co-ordinator. “We’d love to know more about your Beaufort. Please “visit” ours and explore our town by clicking on the thumnails at http://ww2.isle.net/beauforttours/index.html for a guided historic “tour”. You will be able to enjoy our magnificent architecture and discover something of our history.”  Rose enjoyed the “tour” and mailed Walter information on the Great Karoo and Beaufort West.

KOM JAG WEER IN DIE KAROO

Beaufort-Wes se Middedorp Skole bied vir die derde agtereenvolgende jaar ‘n twee-dag jag- en toerismeprogram aan. Belanghebbendes sal vanaf Kaapstad op 7 Junie 2001, vertrek en na ‘n heerlike en ontspannende rit vir ‘n naweek in die Karoo kuier. Jagtogte sal op verkeiei plase plaasvind en daar sal ook uitstappies wees vir die wat nie wil jag nie.

SWARTBERG PASS YIELDS SECRETS

Tel No. 023-541-1172

Concern for the preservation of the 112-year-old Swartberg Pass recently prompted a group of Prince Albert design and construction professionals to research its construction. Derek Thomas, John Whitton, Dick Metcalf, Pat Marincowitz and Gerry Skakal, discovered a great deal of valuable historic information on the pass, a national monument and increasingly popular tourist route. “During construction, Thomas Bain stated he would give the pass ‘a good hat and good boots.’ This has stood the test of time,” says Derek Thomas. “These dry-packed, stone retaining walls, arguably the most awe-inspiring on all 19th century South African passes, range in height from half a meter to a 13,1m section at Boegoekloof. Laws of friction and cohesion create a pressure which secures both wall and road. The walls have a bed (ledge, base or shelf) of up to 1m and measure 300mm at the top. Selected stone was used and laid with grain at right angles to the natural bedding line. The walls were battered (sloped inward) in a rise of 1:6. Large stones in the bedding provided good drainage. Bain’s original specifications gave “rule of thumb” measurements for culverts and side drains, but he left no clear instructions, and while these lasted well for over a century, with little damage, the heavy rains over the past three years have taken their toll.”

WHY THE DASSIE HAS NO TAIL

Dassies seem to laze away their lives basking in the sun throughout the Karoo. What also intrigues many tourists is the close connection these furry little creatures have with elephants, said to be their closest cousins. And then there is the speed with which they evade black eagles in search of a meal. But Natasha Day, a Cape Town schoolgirl, was more interested in why dassies have no tails. Research led her to an old Xhosa legend. “There was a time,” it says, “when Lion was King and only he had a tail. He found his tail so useful he wanted all the other animals in his kingdom to have one, so he had tails made in many different shapes and sizes. He instructed Baboon to call all animals to Council Rock where they would each be given a tail. Everyone but Dassie came. He was enjoying basking in the sun and far too lazy to move. Lion was angry, but he nevertheless picked out a small furry tail and asked Monkey to take it to Dassie. Monkey, a mischievous fellow, pinned the tail on to himself and told Dassie that Lion had given it to him. Even this did not cause the lazy Dassie to react. And so, to this day, dassies still have no tails.”

ANCIENT TEMPLES BUILT BY SOPHISTICATED NATION

Archaeological researcher Dr Cyril Hromnik has discovered a number of Quena shrines in the Murraysburg district. These are on Uitkyk, Coetzeeskraal and Quaggesdrift (Round-up No. 83). “The shrines vary in size, orientation and religious dedication,” he says “This proves that the Great Karoo was not simply the domain of the primitive Kung (Bushmen) hunter-gatherers. It was in fact the home of a sophisticated nation of Quena metallurgists, astronomers, priests, pastoralists and drug consumers.” Dr Hromnik found a   akti, or Mother Goddess shrine, and a summer solstice observatory at Coetzeeskraal. “The   akti shrine, accessed by an old stone stairway, still contains the stone offerings. Several features in the observatory indicate its builders could work with the true amplitudes of solar movement and that they understood how to derive calendaric values from the positioning of the obersvation posts at critical points,” says Dr Hromnik. The Temple of the Dead at Uitkyk is cosmologically linked with several other shrines. “This connected equinox sunrise observatory exploits the interplay of the near and distant horizon in an ingenious way.” A sophisticated astronomical temple/observatory was also discovered and mapped on Toorberg at Quaggasdrift.

BLOKHUISE ONDER BESPREKING

Die Blokhuise van die Anglo-Boereoorlog het ‘n interessante onderwerp gevorm vir ‘n onlangse lesing by die Beaufort-Wes museum.  Dit was gereŽl deur die plaaslike Rapportryerskorps en die spreker was Johan Hatting van die Oorlogsmuseum   in Bloemfontein. Hy  het belangstellendes ingelig oor die redes vir Kitchener se besluit om die blokhuislinnies te bou, die verskeie blokhuise wat ontwerp was, die kostes van elk en die verveeldheid van die bemanning se daaglikse lewens. Hy het ook etlike briefies voorgelees wat soldate vanaf  blokhuise in die Karoo aan hulle gesinne in Engeland geskryf het..

MEMORIES OF FEATHERS AND GARLIC

It was with tales of her youth that Betty Weatherhead came home to celebrate her 94th birthday and entertain friends and family in Prince Albert. Betty was born in the village in 1906. After attending the local school, she matriculated at a boys’ high and later qualified as a teacher. She returned to her beloved Prince Albert to marry and also had to write the report of her wedding for the Prince Albert Friend as “there was no one else to do it.” Betty says:  “Cecil John Rhodes played a major role in my parents’ marriage. He twice employed my dad to transport men to the then Rhodesia. This endowed dad with a special status and allowed him to catch the eye of a beautiful young Devonshire lass, Bessie Woodman, at the time visiting her sister, who’d married Prince Albert’s Dr Stephenson. Dad escorted her to and from St John’s   “Engelse kerk” and eventually they were married in this lovely little Anglican church. Our religious upbringing was strange. My sisters and I accompanied Mom to Anglican services, while our brothers went with Dad to the Dutch Reformed Church. We were all sent to the DRC Sunday School and I am still able to sing Afrikaans hymns and carols. My mom valiantly tried to learn Afrikaans but her faux pas created so much mirth she gave up. My earliest memories of Prince Albert are of ostrich feathers and garlic bags. We lived here through a feather boom, an unequalled time of elegance, and the Spanish ‘flu, a period of immense sadness. My mother accompanied the Anglican priest, who rode a motorbike with sidecar, to minister to ill parishioners. She hung on to her hat with one hand and clung to a little medical bag , which among other things included garlic, with the other.  Prince Albert will always have a special place in my heart.”

DIE WATERSLANG EN DIE WEER

Dikwels kom ‘n  mis oor die Nuweveldberge buite Beaufort-Wes net voor reŽnweer. Ou inwoners sÍ dis die werk van die waterslang. Hierdie spook van die berge (Round-up No 83) is nie sommer ‘n grap nie, sÍ Anna Willemse, wie op Doornhoekplaas groot geword het. “Hy maak die mis sodat hy van een watergat na die ander kan spring. Ou plaaswerkers sÍ sy geliefkoosde plek is die fontein op die punt van die berg. As die waterslang lus kry laat hy hierdie fontein raas en borrel tot miswolke oor die berg vorm. Dan beweeg hy rond nes hy wil.” Sydney Witbooi, toeriste beampte van die Karoo Nasionale Park, ken die fontein goed. “Dis op die 4x4 roete en word wel dikwels met mis wolkies bedek as die reŽnweer opstook. Daar’s  talle stories rondom die fontein en die waterslang. Die fontein is afgekamp omdat die waterslang glo diere daar intrek as hy woedend word.”

MEDICAL MAN NO LONGER A MYSTERY

The mysterious doctor “FBC” now has a name. The story about a silver cigarette case, presented to a Beaufort West doctor by a grateful patient in 1901 (Round-up No 83) sent historian Elizabeth van Heyningen searching through old Cape Medical Registers. She discovered that Frederick Burke Carron practised in the Karoo in 1911.   “He graduated in 1898 with standard MRCS (Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and LRCP (Licenciate of the Royal College of Physicians) qualifications.” What brought Carron to the Karoo is not known. He may have come to assist the British medical forces during the Anglo-Boer War, enjoyed the Great Karoo and simply stayed until 1911. This information was e.mailed to Phil Berkowitz in Canada, who now owns the cigarette case. He replied: “I’m amazed at what your research has revealed. Knowing the provenance of an antique gives it special meaning. Your detective work is appreciated. This glimpse into the past made my day.”

DIE STEM VAN KFM VERWELKOM WEEREENS BESOEKERS

Engen, MTN, KFM, Die Burger en Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad span vanjaar saam  om  besoekers aan die provinsie te verwelkom. Radio KFM sal vanaf   ‘n mobiele stasie by Engen se motorhawe by die  noordelike ingang van Beaufort-Wes op 15 en 16 Desember uitsaai. Vanjaar sal talle pryse en geskenke weereens daagliks  tydens die uitsendings uitgedeel word.   Hierdie verwelkomingsveldtog  vorm deel van die Ry Veilig veldtog.   “Dis baie belangrik dat reisigers van tyd tot tyd stop om asem te skep,” sÍ organiseerder en WKTB skakelbeampte  Melanie Fortuin-Durr.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 85  January 2001

MURRAYSBURG ON EUROPEAN TV

The search for an isolated South African village with tourist appeal finally took German TV producer Mark Kaczmarczyk to Murraysburg in the Great Karoo. He loved it all - the town, its people and the area. It reminded him of Arizona in the US. So, with a cameraman Robert Leithner and sound engineer Alexander Seidel, from Tango Films in Germany, Mark spent two days capturing the spirit of Murraysburg for VOX Television Network in Cologne, Germany. The edited footage will form part of an hour-long documentary for their highly-rated, popular, weekly VOXTours travel series. This prime time show, now in its eighth year, offers over two-million viewers a fascinating look at unusual tourist destinations around the globe. It is broadcast in Germany every Sunday and simultaneously beamed to the rest of Europe via satellite. "The show is no ordinary travelogue," said Mark. "Each broadcast features five or six stories focussed on people. It introduces viewers to a country’s geographic beauty, wildlife, cultural history and developments through their eyes. The programme is representative, objective, varied and uncritical. Every story has its own air of authenticity." Murraysburg’s magic mountain and fountain enchanted the crew, who filmed a cross-section of people from students to the oldest resident, Miekie van Rooyen, who is over 100. With an old friend, Etta Oosthuizen, she reminisced about "the good old days." A splendid sunset, a late organ recital by Hermien Botha and a braai at the home of Oskar and Elsie Smuts, with old-fashioned "sing a-long" to strumming guitars added the finishing touches.

HERMAN DE WITT - A GREAT LOSS TO TOURISM

Herman de Witt, a man who ceaselessly worked to develop and promote the Central Karoo, died at the Panorama Clinic in Cape Town on February 2, 2001. He was 74. He served on committees of many institutions in Beaufort West, the region and the province, and tourism was one of his major interests. He supported its development at every level. He was chairman of the Regional Tourism Organisation, and for a time served as a member of the Western Cape Tourism Board’s Marketing Committee. He was also chairman of the Beaufort West Tourist Bureau. Mr De Witt is survived by his wife Hilda, son Pierre, daughter Elsa Tromp and two grandchildren.

PRAISE FROM THE PRESIDENT

The Karoo National Park stole the heart of President Thabo Mbeki and his wife Zamele when they visited there on December 30, last year. "This was our very first time in this park, and what a wonderful experience. Here will grow and develop one of our country’s best national parks, teeming with plants and wild animals to whom the Karoo belongs. Then should we all return, not to intrude, but ourselves to become part of the stark and unforgiving beauty and the haunting tranquillity of the erstwhile home of our ancestral Khoisan. We are proud of those who exercise such loving guardianship over this national heritage," the President wrote in the visitors’ book.

KAROO’ S THE PLACE FOR BIBLIOPHILES

The dry air of the Karoo has long been praised for its medicinal properties. Now, it seems, it can also save books. According to a recent SA Garden and Home article on old and rare books, they are under severe threat and some are even on death row. Books published in the 100 years between 1870 and 1970 were printed on paper made from wood pulp with short fibres and a high acid content. At best, the cheaper versions of this will only last for another 20 years, perhaps even less due to the high level of acid pollution in the atmosphere. Antiquarian booksellers, however, agree that the dry air of the Karoo is an excellent preserver of books. Paul Mills, owner of Clarke’s Africana, said: "Of course, not all books will turn to dust. Some were printed on superior paper. And, no matter how many times the prophets of doom predict the end of books, it will never happen. Nothing can replace the joy of owning a good book, nor the compulsion of book collecting as a hobby."

FIRE DAMAGES ONE HOTEL, ANOTHER CLOSES

A fire, thought to have started in a piece of electronic equipment, almost destroyed the 150-year-old Swartberg Country Lodge in Prince Albert at the height of the festive season. According to owner Blackie Swart "it seems to have started in the office in the early hours of December 16 and spread rapidly, consuming historic photographs, paintings and irreplaceable antiques. Only the prompt action of the local police service prevented it from gutting the building. No one was injured in the blaze, but sadly Elizabeth ‘Dippies’ Ockers, who had been in the hotel’s employ for over 25 years, suffered a fatal heart attack after arriving at the scene." He added that the hotel would be closed indefinitely so that damage could be assessed and repairs undertaken. The Swartberg was first opened in 1864 by John Dyson junior. It has changed hands many times, but has always been central to Prince Albert tourism. Beaufort West has also lost one of its landmark hotels. The Royal Hotel, which first opened in 1871, closed at the end of last year. The hotel is to be sold.

NEW FACE AT PRINCE ALBERT TOURIST BUREAU

Prince Albert’s new tourism information officer, Raylene van der Berg, 27, has deep roots in the Karoo. Her family’s links with the area stretch back to the turn of the last century when her paternal grandfather, Ishmail Roberts, decided to explore the hinterland. He was an Indian and had arrived in Cape Town by ship from St Helena. Ishmail wanted to know what lay beyond the mountains and set off into the interior. On his adventures he met and married a lovely coloured lass from Prince Albert. "Sadly, Ishmail’s family disowned him, but my grandparents’ love for each other and the Karoo carried them through. My mother’s family, also Prince Alberters, spent many years in Beaufort West. "While growing up I visited them often and learned much about that area," said Raylene. "A born and bred Prince Alberter, I have inherited my grandparents’s love for the Karoo and enjoy nothing more than sharing my knowledge gained over many years with visitors. All I want is for them to experience the beauty of the Karoo as I do." Raylene is no newcomer to tourism. For the past four years she worked at the Prince of Africa and as a receptionist at the Swartberg Country Lodge. She is married to Phillip and they have two children, Phillipa,7 and Ryan, 5.

TALE OF A STRIPED PIG WHO WENT TO WHITE RIVER

The picture of a cute papier machť pig, striped like a zebra, captivated Yvonne O’Brien, of White River, as she read the accompanying story on Murraysburg in the November issue of Country Life. She is a keen collector of papier machť, pigs and zebras. So, Yvonne absolutely had to have the striped pig. However, Judy Butterworth and the staff of Grootplaats farm, who make these items, had already consigned the precious pig to a sales point. A string of ‘phone calls found him still languishing on a shelf at Three Sisters Farm Stall. Then, an orchestrated chain of "by hand" deliveries eventually saw the zebra-like porker off by post on his journey northwards from the Regional Tourism Office at Beaufort West. He was only one of the items the Murraysburg crafters sold after the magazine article appeared. There was quite a demand for christening dresses, stained glass work, pottery, knit wear, embroidery and "bliktrommels." A man from Gauteng could almost not believe "people still hand knitted socks" and ordered several pairs for winter.

NEDERLANDERS BESOEK BLOKHUIS

Die weer in die Karoo is heerlik en internasionale besoekers volop. Onlangs het ‘n Panorama-toergroep van 27 Hollanders vir drie dae in die Karoo Nasionale Park oorgebly om nadere kennis te maak met die gebied. Hulle was dit eens, dit was ‘n wonderlike ervaring. ‘n Hoogtepunt van die besoek was ‘n uitstappie na die blokhuis op die noordelike kant van die dorp. Daar het almal tot bo geklim om te sien presies watter uitsig die Britse soldate oor die spoorlyn en aangrensende terrein gehad het. Tydens die Anglo-boereoorlog was daar ses blokhuise in Beaufort-Wes. In Hooyvlakte skryf Wynand Viviers dat een op "Plantation Square" gestaan het, waar Gamka-Oos kerk vandag is. "Daar was ook blokhuise op al die koppies, en op die ou Hans Rivierpad is ‘n hout uitkyktoring gebou. Op die hoek van Donkin en Kerkstraat, voor die Ou Stadhuis (die museum, vandag) is ‘n sink en hout blokhuis gebou en met sandsakke gestut. Toe die Vrede in 1902 gesluit is het die Raad vyf blokhuise gesloop en net die klip een langs die treinbrug gehou." Die eerste trein brug hier is in 1882 gebou. In 1908 is dit volgens planne van Cochrane en Kie in Dudley, England, versterk. Die ou gietysterpilare is in 1932 met betonpilare vervang en die brug is herbou. Daar was ‘n ontsporing op die brug in 1944 en die leunstut is beskadig. Die brug en pilare is in 1962 verleng toe die spoorlyn verdubbel is.

WELSHMAN STUDIES RAILWAYS IN KAROO

A Welsh railway enthusiast recently combined his holiday in the Karoo with an exploration of the railway lines and old stations. "I have read much about the early South African railway system as one of my ancestors worked for the Cape Colonial Railways in the 1800s," said Emlyn Evans. "My research reveals there were several accidents in the Karoo. Seventeen people were killed at Matjiesfontein in l898, and a year later nine died at Three Sisters when the second section of a train ran into the first. There was a serious accident at that station two days after the outbreak of the Anglo-Boer War according to Lawrence Greene’s book When the Journey’s Over." Greene writes of a train carrying refugees colliding with a stationary train at Three Sisters station and quotes a dramatic report in the newspaper, Black and White: "Coaches telescoped on impact and carriages overturned. Men and women of all nationalities and temperaments suddenly found themselves face to face with a painful death, entangled and entrapped by a mass of twisted steel and iron and smothered with debris of splintered wood and broken glass. The lights went out. The night was cold and dark. It was thought that the engine driver, who had been on duty for 36 hours, fell asleep. Eight passengers were killed and many injured. Some were trapped beneath the wreckage. Help was long in coming as communications were slow. Rescue teams from Beaufort West arrived three-and-a-half hours after the accident. By then uninjured passengers had built fires and by their light searched the wreckage for the injured."

KLEUR BROSJURE ‘N WENNER

Die nuwe Beaufort-Wes kleur brosjure is deur almal met lof bekroon. Dit is ontwerp om die natuurskoon, kulturele- en argietektoniese-erfenisse van die dorp uit te beeld. Twee rooi-hartebeeste op die voorblad geniet die meeste komentaar. Hulle is net so, met neuse teen mekaar, in die Karoo Nasionale Park afgeneem deur Oudtshoorn fotograaf, Hans van der Veen. Diť bokke is die vinnigste in Afrika. "Hulle spring vinnig weg op ‘n mooi gallop, maar weens hulle nuuskierigheid hardloop hulle gewoonlik net ‘n kort entjie voor hulle weer gaan staan," sÍ toerismebeampte Sydney Witbooi. " Die bokke eet uitsluitlik gras en kan lank sonder water klaarkom. Hulle is gewild onder toeriste omdat hulle eienaardig gevormde horings, lang gesigte en glansendende rooibruin kleur pragtige fotos maak. Rooi hartebeeste is swaksiende, maar hulle kan goed ruik en hoor. Hulle weeg tussen 105 en 180 kg en hulle verwagte lewensduur is 13 jaar."

KAROO GHOSTS GO INTERNATIONAL

The editor of an international website covering the ghosts of the world has discovered the spectres of the Karoo. D W Hauck e.mailed Regional Tourism officer Rose Willis for more details. A keen ghost hunter herself, Rose was able to supply several snippets on the ectoplasmic side of tourism. She will from time to time keep them supplied with new material. So, if you have a good ghost story and would like to share it internationally or with local researcher Sian Hall, please let Rose know.

UNSUAL NEST FOR ELUSIVE BIRD

Ecologists searching for eagles in the Karoo found instead a pair of rare warblers who’d chosen a curious place to live. "These cinnamon-breasted warblers, among the most elusive birds in the Karoo, were building a nest in the lowest leaves of a short-stemmed aloe microstigma," said Rob Martin, who, with his mother Elsie, and fellow researcher Dawn Tyler, was combing the Karoo for booted eagle nesting sites. "We saw warblers on a hillside near Hutchinson Station. As we watched one flew to and from the nesting site carrying beaks full of plant down. It later diligently searched in the crevices of a rocky outcrop apparently collecting spider webs," wrote Rob. Japie Claassen, editor of Beaufort West’s William Quinton Wild Bird Society’s newsletter Die Drawwertjie said: "What makes this exciting is that cinnamon-breasted warblers are very difficult to spot."

ONTPLOFFING VAN SKOORSTEENVEňRS IN KAROO

Toe Japie Claassen, sekretaris van die William Quinton WildevoŽlklub, verlede jaar van die "baie’ watervoŽls by die Leeu Gamkadam hoor, het hy gedink dit was "maar ‘n relatiewe begrip." Maar toe hy daar aankom was hy uiters verbaas. "Daar was letterlik honderde en vele verskillende spesies. Ek het tussen 300 en 400 skoorsteenveŽrs geskat," sÍ hy. SkoorsteenveŽrs is algemene voŽls in die Karoo en kom veral by damme en rivierpoele voor. Die meeste in die Sentrale Karoo is laas jaar by Beaufort-Wes rioolwerk se voŽlreservaat getel. "Die vyf soetdoringbome wat in die water by Leeu Gamkadam staan was vol neste. Ek het 208 getel. Die meeste was van skoorsteenveŽrs. Later het ek 88 skoorsteenveŽr-, 14 rietkormorant-, 10 veereier-, drie lepelaar- en twee bloureierkuikens gering. Daar was nog baie kuikens in die boonste neste maar ek kon nie by hulle uitkom nie omdat die doringhout te vrot was. Baie interessant vir my was hoe goed die voŽls weet waar die water eerste gaan opdroog. Kuikens in neste na aan die inloop het uitgebroei en kon al vlieg toe neste nader aan die wal het nog net eiers gehad het." Japie het ook swartkopreiers, sowel as talle voŽls wat nie normalweg met die Karoo geassosieer word nie by hierdie dam gesien.

MYSTERY DOCTOR TREATED FAMOUS BOER LEADER

It now emerges that the mysterious doctor with the silver cigarette case also treated the legendary Gideon Scheepers. Professor J C ‘Kay’ de Villiers has unravelled more of the mystery surrounding Dr FBC whose cigarette case ended up on an antique auction in Canada. (Round-up 83 and 84). "As Dr Elizabeth van Heyningen found out his name was Frederick Burke Carron and he qualified in England in 1898," writes Prof. De Villiers, "Dr Carron obviously came to South Africa as a civil surgeon during the Anglo-Boer War because he is mentioned in Gideon Scheepers’s diary where his name is spelled with an ‘e’ instead of an ‘o’. On October 19, 1901, Scheepers wrote that he was taken to hospital in Beaufort West and treated very well by Captain Evans, Dr Carren and Matron Johnson. One assumes this was at No 26 Stationary Hospital, established on May 3, 1901. There is little doubt that the nurse (? matron) was Sister G Johnson, the only nurse of that name known to have worked in that hospital. The captain, Percy Evans, R A M C, was awarded a DSO in France in 1915. After completion of his contract, Dr Carron must have opted to stay on in South Africa because he registered to practise in this country in 1902. The1913 Register of Medical Practitioners in the Union of South Africa shows Dr Carron’s last address as Brockville, Ontario, Canada. This then must be the route the cigarette case took to Canada. Mr Berkowitz may try to find out if Dr Carron registered to practise in Canada. Their medical registers will reveal this. Mr Berkowitz may also be able to locate an obituary which would tell us more of Dr Carron’s life."

NO INDIAN CONNECTION, SAYS ARCHAEOLOGIST

Head of the Department of Archaeology at the University of Cape Town, Professor Andrew Smith, has taken issue with Dr Cyril Hromnik regarding shrines linked to Dravidian Indians in the Karoo. "Professional archaeologists simply do not accept this idea. We are all aware of Dr Hromnik’s theories, but we are not inclined to believe that these structures were built by people with Indian connections. They would rather seem to be hunting hides, schantzes or shepherd shelters," he said.

Landbouskoue: Beaufort-Wes 15 - 17 Maart, 2001, en Prince Albert 28 - 29 September, 2001

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 86  February 2001

TOURISM IS THE KEY

Carefully planned development would create a better quality of life throughout the Karoo, according to Doreen "Thiwe" Hugo, the first mayor of the Central Karoo District Municipality. "Every effort is being made to promote tourism to so capture a larger slice of both the domestic and international market sectors. Tourism will assist us to develop the area, build the infrastructures of our small towns and villages and strengthen the region’s economy. We aim to bring tourism closer to our previously disadvantaged communities so that they may share its benefits and experience a better quality of life. Several projects to make this dream a reality are now in the pipeline." Mrs Hugo, a resident of Murraysburg, was inaugurated as mayor at a function in Beaufort West on March 2. In her acceptance speech Mrs Hugo vowed to serve the interests of all communities, promote job creation and economic development and build a non-racial culture throughout the region. "President Thabo Mbeki, in his State of the Nation Address, announced that the Central Karoo had been identified as an area for strategic integrated rural development. He plans to visit the region again within short for further discussions. Our President has fulfilled his promise on the Karoo. It is now up to us to prove we are worthy of his trust." Mrs Hugo called on her fellow councillors to "work together, to support development efforts and so ensure that the Karoo becomes a jewel in the crown of Africa."

BUITELANDERS OP DIE DAK VAN DIE KAROO

Toeristebeamptes van die Klein en Sentraal Karoo was verbaas deur die getal buitelanders wat hulle op die Swartbergpas ontmoet het tydens ‘n inspeksie van padtekens. "Daar was geen parkering op die kruin van die berg nie omdat so baie toeriste daar stil gehou het om die prag van albei streke te aanskou," het Piet Ackerman, voorsitter van die Klein Karoo STO," gesÍ. Aan die een kant, omsingel deur berge, lÍ die Klein Karoo soos ‘n kleurvolle laslappieskombers. Op die ander kant lÍ die asemrowende Groot Karoo, wyd uitgestrek, so vÍr soos mens kan sien. Uiteindelik, vÍr in die bloute, smelt die hemel en aarde saam. "‘n Paar Hollanders, met wie ek gesprek gevoer het, kon nie glo dat hulle die Nuweveld-berge meer as 200 km weg, so duidelik kon sien nie. Hulle kon ook nie glo dat dit so winderig en koel bo-op die berg was terwyl ‘n hittegolf in die vallei geheers het nie. Die uitsig is so spesiaal dat beter parkeerterreine hier en op heelwat ander plekke geskep moet word sodat besoekers langer kan vertoef," het Piet gesÍ.

LIVELY MORNING FOR KAROO

The SABC breakfast TV show Morning Live will be broadcast from the Transkaroo Express on March 16. Programme producer and tourism editor Linky Bierman said: "When the show opens at 06h00, the train will be near Leeu Gamka, and for the two hours we are on the air we will be travelling through the Great Karoo. This is the first time we will broadcast from a train, and it may even be a world first for a breakfast TV show."

PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE PLANNED

There are plans to develop a private nature reserve on a 1 200ha section of land south of Albert’s Watermill in Prince Albert. The property, which stretches into Oukloof and up to Eerstewater, was recently acquired by Ian Uys of Knysna. Ian and four partners have registered a trust and applied to Cape Nature Conservation to have the area declared a nature reserve. Ian presented plans for the reserve to local residents at a recent meeting in Prince Albert. After an environmental assessment has been done, the trust aims to build a swimming pool, ablution block and lapa. There are also plans to develop a perpetual waterfall and a caravan park. A hiking trail has already been laid out in the "Ein Gedi" valley of the Oukloof area. "A horse trail and 4 x 4 route are also on the cards," says Ian.

PRESIDENT KRUGER HELP BEAUFORT-WES KERK

In 1889 het eerwaarde Paulus Teske van die Beaufort-Wes sendingkerk ‘n toer na die goudvelde van die ou Transvaal onderneem met die doel om fondse in te samel om kerkskuld te delg. Sy rit was so suksesvol, dat met sy terugkeer was sy gemeente se skuld heeltemaal uitgewis. President Paul Kruger was onder diť wat bydraes gemaak het. Op daardie stadium van sy lewe was die moedige leraar ernstig siek as gevolg van ooreising. Hy het vir die ou president vertel dat hy vir amper 20 jaar al besig was om fondse in te samel. Sy gemeente se eerste kerk het in ‘n vloed in 1869 heeltemal weggespoel, kort na dit klaar gebou was. Al wat oorgebly het was skuld van 400. Nietemin is werk onmiddelik begin met die bou van ‘n nuwe kerk. Teske self het die preekstoel gemaak. Teske se ywer het Kruger se hart geraak. Vandag is die kerk deel van die Beaufort-Wes museum.

RELAX WITH BRUSH AND PAINT

(Tel no 023-541-1492 or 083-463-7059)

"Painting blends well with the relaxing atmosphere of the Karoo," says artist Christine Thomas. She and Mary Anne Botha, both of whom have fine arts degrees, are now planning a series of Karoo art workshops for the third year in a row. The first is an intensive three-day workshop, including studio and outdoor sessions, tutored by Prof. Greg Kerr. It takes place from May 8 to 11 and costs R600 per person. Prof. Kerr is an internationally known artist, who until last year headed the Department of Fine Arts at Stellenbosch University. He is now starting an art school in Port Elizabeth and hopes to conduct regular classes in the Karoo. Christine and Mary Anne will tutor two Art Weekends in Prince Albert from June 15 to 17 and July 20 to 22. These will cost R300 per person. Then a water colour workshop, tutored by Richard Rennie, who has exhibited in South Africa and abroad, will be held from August 14 to 17, at the cost of R600 per person. "These workshops have become very popular. The main reasons are the richness of colour in autumn and the softer light of winter. Early booking has become essential, particularly for water colour sessions," says Christine.

KOM JAG SAAM

(Tel No 023-414-2507 - mev M Olivier)

Beaufort-Wes Middedorpskole bied weereens vanjaar ‘n jagnaweek aan vanaf 7 tot 10 Junie. Diť gewilde geleentheid sluit in ‘n onspannende reis per trein vanaf Kaapstad tot in Beaufort-Wes. "Op die trein sal daar gesellig gekuier word in ‘n ruim en goed toegeruste sitkamerwa waar jagstories tot laataand vertel sal word," sÍ Frikkie Smit, een van die organiseerders. Die pakket sluit in jag van kudu, gemsbok, eland, hartebees, blesbok en springbok, sowel as gholf. Koste is R2 200 per persoon.

WHICH WAY WITH THE RAILWAY?

In 1875, there were those who thought a railway line across the vast plains of the Karoo would be "a waste of time." According to a report in the Cape Times of April 1,1875, "Members of Parliament have divergent opinions about the prospective new railway line. Some feel that the main route should be through Robertson and George because those districts are far wealthier than the Karoo. Those opposed to the Karoo line believe that the Colony will be bankrupt before the line is completed and that it will have to end permanently at Beaufort West. Those in favour of the Karoo route argue that Beaufort West and the Ghoup are prosperous wool producing areas and that there is a possibility of manganese, coal, silver and lead being exploited there in the future. At this stage, they say, wheat and wine of Robertson and George are not even suitable for export."

A COSIER KIND OF KITCHENER

Hard-bitten General Herbert Horatio Kitchener, the man who decided in 1901 to build blockhouses across the African plains in an effort to stop the Anglo-Boer War, actually has a knitting stitch named after him.. Many soldiers considered him a hard and difficult man and some even referred to him as the "squint-eyed misogynist of Khartoum." The stitch, it seems, shares the characteristics of the man. "Knitters agree the stitch is typical of Lord Kitchener," says Nancy Shroyer of Nancy’s Knit Knacks at knitten@mindspring.com. "It is very difficult to make and more difficult to explain. The Kitchener stitch seems to date back to the war when everyone was knitting for the forces. It takes no less than ten steps to explain. But once you master it, you’ll find you can’t do without it when you have a sock to finish or a grafting job to do. It’s so popular we sell it on laminated cards which slip onto a keyring..."

OP DIE SPOOR VAN DIE DE WETS

"My oupa-grootjie was Jacobus Arnoldus de Wet, glo ‘n ouderling van Beaufort-Wes se Moederkerk. My ouma, Anne Elisabeth de Wet, het met die seun van die dorp se Anglikaanse priester getrou. Dit was vir my ‘n goed genoeg rede om meer te wil weet van my moeder se kant van my familie," skryf mev Ingrid Mousley van Clarens in die Vrystaat. "Tot nou toe het my navorsing heelwat De Wets opgelewer - Lettie, Bertie, Gerald, Jim, Gert, Hennie, HD, BW, JD, J and T, maar wie hulle is en wat van hulle geword het bly nog duister. Ek onthou nog my Ouma, Anne Elisabeth de Wet (1878 - 1963). Sy het twee broers gehad, Jack en Gerald. Sy het met William Theodore Alban Gething, ‘n seun van Guy en Louisa Gething, getrou. Guy was die Anglikaanse priester van Beaufort-Wes en is daar begrawe. Ek sal dit waardeer as enigeen wat inligting oor die De Wets van die Karoo het dit met my sal deel," sÍ Ingrid.

GHOSTS SCARE UP ALL-ROUND REACTION

The phantoms of the veld, mentioned in Round-up No. 85, drew wide response. Not only did journalists and radio interviewers in search of interesting material follow up on these spectres, but readers also rounded up a few more and sent in stories for publication. Among the tales that whet the appetites of ghost hunters were anecdotes of the old Seweweekspoort tollkeeper, who waves his lantern to warn travellers of danger during bad weather, the Smous of the Swartberg, who often "hitches" a ride with tourists, the "Oog" at Beaufort West, and many other wandering, wafting, wailing wraiths.

OOSTERSE SIMBOLE DREIG BOER MET DOOD

‘n Papiertjie met Oosterse simbole het eens ‘n groot vris Karooboer by die dood laat omdraai. Die storie, in Sue van Waart se boek Swartberg en sy Mense, is onder Round-up se aandag gebring na ‘n berig oor spookstories in Round-up No 85 verskyn het. Toe oom Jurie Klue van Klaarstroom ‘n ou opstal op sy plaas begin restoureer, het hy meer as ou kaggels en stinkhoutmuurkassies onder die modderpleister, lae verf en kleisement gevind. Hy het ook op ‘n ou verbleikte, geelerige, perkamentrol afgekom. Die datum daarop was 1300, en dit het ‘n lang lys name soos ‘n familie register bevat. Net die naam S Warren en die datum 1784 was leesbaar. ‘n Paar dae daarna het ‘n papiertjie van ‘n deurkosyn af gefladder en reg voor oom Jurie te lande gekom. Hy het dit opgetel, gewonder oor die betekenis van die snaakse simbole, sterretjies en krulletjies daarop, dit in sy sak gesteek en later by sy huis gebÍre. Die volgende dag het sy gesondheid begin lol. Daagliks versleg hy tot hy kwalik kon loop met pyne in sy heup en bene. Dokters het van naderende ouderdom, artritis en rumatiek gepraat. Op ‘n dag wys oom Jurie die papiertjie vir ‘n man wat hom vertel dat dit ‘n Oosterse vloek bevat wat tot die dood van die vinder lei. Oom Jurie het die papiertjie onmiddelik verbrand en vinnig herstel.

BEAUFORT WEST BAND AMONG THE BEST

Hotbox, Beaufort West’s disco, jazz and regae band, is among the top in the Western Cape Province. The band came fourth in the last "Battle of the Bands" competition in Atlantis. Hotbox, named after the hot central area of the Karoo, was started eight years ago when seven jobless men from the town’s under- privileged community got together to "make music." "We’ve never looked back," said organiser Novello Mack, now also Speaker of the Central Karoo District Municipality. "Our music seems to bring as much joy to those who hear it as it does to us who play it."

THE DAY THE FUTURE CHAIRMAN WAS JAILED

The man who became chairman of the board of the Old Mutual in 1920 was once jailed in Beaufort West. Historical researcher Dr Dawn Gould, of Facts Found, discovered this in a letter to his mother from John X Merriman, last Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. Dated January 3, 1901, it states: "Attorney J G van der Horst was today thrown into prison in Beaufort West for 12 hours." Dawn says: "This may have had something to do with Van der Horst being a member of the Afrikander Bond. In 1910, he became editor of The Cape, a Cape Town weekly newspaper. He was later appointed managing director of Fletcher and Cartwright, and in 1920 invited to join the board of Old Mutual."

BOEKE OOR PRINCE ALBERT

(Tel No. 023-541-1172)

Diegene wat graag boeke oor die Karoo versamel sal belangstel in die reeks wat tans by die Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prins Albert verkrygbaar is. Dit sluit in plaaslike skrywer Helena Marincowitz se reeks oor Meiringspoort en die Swartbergpas (R20 elk), Gamkaskloof (R10) en Prins Albert en die Boere-oorlog (Engels R30, Afrikaans R20) en The Old Gables of Prince Albert and in the district (R10). Dan is daar ook Prince Albert: Paleozoic to Present, a Geological Trek to an Ancient Past, deur Albert Theron (R40); en Derek Thomas se Architecture of Prince Albert - Karoo Town at the foot of the Swartberg (R20). "Derek se boek is gewild onder toeriste omdat daar ‘n kaart van die dorp is en dit kan maklik op stap toere gebruik word," sÍ museum kurator Jonathan Rolfe.

PRINCE OF THE SWARTBERG SPREADS WINGS

Prince Albert Tourism Bureau is soon to embark on a tightly focussed marketing campaign. The town and its products will be marketed at the annual Klein Karoo Kunstefees from April 7 to 14. This is a platform that Prince Albert has successfully used since the inception of the Kunstefees. Then also, marketers will attend Indaba, South Africa’s huge annual travel trade show in Durban from April 21 to 25. The bureau will be part of the Route 62 Stand and will promote the Swartberg Loop along this route. This loop encourages tourists to explore the passes of the Swartberg Mountains and sightsee in the Great Karoo. This year’s Indaba will focus on emergent tourism products. For the first time in its history the show will "significantly reflect" new tourism ownership, say the organisers.

DIS WEER OLYFFEES TYD

(Tel No. 023-541-1366)

Prins Albert se sesde Olyffees, bekend tot in die buiteland, sal van 27 tot 29 April gehou word. Gedurende die fees sal die hoofstraat vir twee dae gesluit word. ‘n Groot verskeidenheid stalletjies sal in die straat opgerig word en daar gaan groot pret wees in die area rondom die museum. Ko-ordineerder Di van der Riet Steyn sÍ: "Optogte, parades en danse sal daagliks plaasvind. Daar sal heelwat kompetisies wees, insluitende ‘n olyfspoeg wedstryd. Daar sal ook uitstallings wees van fotos en skilderye. ‘n Staptog, fietswedren, marathon en veiling word ook beplan."

HANDS ACROSS THE MOUNTAINS

In a spirit of co-operation, Beaufort West and Oudtshoorn have moved closer to promote tourism. Pierre Nel, director of Oudtshoorn Tourist Bureau, was invited to address a gathering of all tourism roleplayers in Beaufort West recently. He stressed the importance of local bureaus in the tourism mix and the necessity for such bureaus to be supported by local business. "All too often, local business does not see itself as part of tourism. But, it is essential that every business, from supermarkets, through to shoe shops, outfitters to estate agents, supports the bureau. Chemists, doctors and even undertakers should join because people get ill and some even die on holiday. As the Western Cape tourism slogan says: ‘Tourism is everyone’s business.’"

RIVER DAMPS DOWN COAL FIND

In 1890, coal was discovered near Klaarstroom in the Karoo. It was found on Almero Oosthuizen’s farm, Vischgat. According to reports it was "of good quality and burned perfectly." A mine was started, but it was too close to the river. Within short the mine flooded and was abandoned. The dump is still visible.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 87  March 2001

KAROO PLANS OFF-ROAD RACE

The first off-road race in the Great Karoo is being planned for later this year. Interest in the proposed event is high, and it could eventually attract about 250 competitors, says Pete van der Walt, a director of Motor Sport SA. The course will be laid out in the Merweville area and tested later this year. Pete evalauated the proposed 50km route recently when he visited the area with Kallie le Roux of Springbok Lodge. "The course will cross a wide variety of rugged and challenging terrains," said Pete. "From the village it snakes out across Johan Marais’s nearby game farm, Buffelsvlei. Here the terrain is rugged enough to offer an ideal test for men and machines. We hope to start off with about 80 cars, 60 off-road bikes and 40 quads and build this up to a national event which could attract over 250 competitors." The Merweville course will need to be completed twice. "Competitors will race along the route, return to the village to refuel and dash off on the second 50km leg. In total, this should take about four hours. At the end of this one-day event there will be a traditional braai and prize-giving. For further information telephone 083-255-6931.

OUBOET OP DIE SPOOR VAN KAROOKOS

Orkney Snork Nie se Ouboet, Frank Opperman, kom kuier eersdaags in Beaufort-Wes. Hy is op die spoor van Karookos. Hy werk saam met Linda du Plessisproduksies op ‘n TV-reeks wat handel oor lekker eetplekke in die platteland. Hulle het Wendy Antonie by Beaufort-Wes Toerisme Buro vir hulp genader en sy het etlike name van heerlike kuier en kosplekke in en om die dorp voorgestel. Na ‘n bietjie navorsing het hulle De Hoek Gasteplaas gekies. Gasvrou Liesl de Villiers sal binnekort voor die kameras ‘n paar smullekker disse voorberei en Karookos geheime met kykers deel.

WHEN A CUP OF COFFEE BECOMES HIGH ADVENTURE

It was recently illustrated in Beaufort West just how drinking a cup of coffee can stand in line with amazing happenings. The old airport outside town was given a South American flavour as a TV production team from McKenzie Rudolph in Cape Town created a Cuban-style coffee shop alongside the runway. The "Cubans" were all Beaufort Westers. They staffed airport counters, acted as waiters and porters and one even drove a ramshackle bus. The main character in the story line is an American actor whose life is totally changed by a cup of Nescafť, explained location manager Lester Sweetman. "He arrives, meets the pilot of a Dakota and after a cup of coffee they fly off into the wild blue yonder to amazing adventures. Eventually the aircraft crashes, leaving the two heroes stranded on a desert island. All it took to change his life from hum-drum to high adventure was a cup of Nescafe. The two-day shoot went wonderfully well. Producer Roy Rudolph and the crew found the people of Beaufort West extremely helpful. The advertisement will be screened on American television later this year. There’s an outside chance that it will also be shown locally." Lester paid tribute to Georg Baumgartner, of the Sandcastle Guest House, and the staff at the Oasis Hotel. "Their co-operation made this a truly enjoyable and memorable job," he said.

WHY QUAGGA?

Most visitors to the Karoo National Park pause to study the quagga information posters presented by Rheinold Rau when he last visited. Rheinold, from the SA Museum and who did much of the ground work to obtain DNA from the skins of museum specimens for the Quagga Breeding Project, now monitors its progress. One of the most frequently asked questions is: "Why ‘quagga,’ what does the name mean?" "Quagga or ‘kwa-ga’ comes from an old Hottentot word which imitates the sound the animals made," he said. "It is spelled in a variety of ways, according to the language in which it is used. Pronounced correctly, the double ‘g’ is a guttural ‘ch’, as in the Scottish word ‘loch.’ Emphasis is on the first syllable." Generally, the extinction of the quagga is attributed to ruthless hunting by colonists and those who came to South Africa specifically to hunt. It is said the flesh was enjoyed by farm labourers and the skins made ideal leather grain bags. Great quantities of quagga hides were exported in the 19th century to meet leather demand in Europe. Many of these skins came from the Beaufort West area. Rheinold has copies of old letters from Mr P Dale, a Beaufort West town councillor of the time, to the head of the museum in Cape Town regarding quagga skins he donated. He appears to have searched out many fine examples for display.

KAROOSEUN RUS IN WINDHOEK

‘n Man wat in Beaufort-Wes gebore is en na hy diep spore in die geskiedenis getrap het net buite die dorp gesterwe het, is in 1939 met volle militÍre eer in Windhoek (NamibiŽ) te ruste gelÍ. Matthys Johan de Jager, staatsartilleris van die ZAR, lyfwag van President Paul Kruger, held van die Anglo-boereoorlog, polisieman, soldaat en generaal in die destydse Suid-Wes Afrika, het ‘n ryk lewe gelei. Hy is in Januarie 1872 gebore, maar was nooit seker van sy geboortedag nie. Sy geboorte sertifikaat dui 23 Januarie aan, maar omdat hy om en by middernag gebore is, staan daar 22 Januarie in die doopregister van Beaufort-Wes se NG-kerk. Volgens familielede het hy dikwels op sy verjaarsdag spottend gevra: "Verjaar ek nou vandag, of het ek al gister verjaar?" M J de Jager, soos hy bekend gestaan het, het in 1881 met sy ouers vanaf Beaufort-Wes na die diamantvelde getrek. Later het die familie die pad Transvaal toe gekies. In 1894 het Matthys werk aanvaar in die Department van Onderwys in Pretoria. Tydens die Jameson Raid was hy die wagmeester van Pretoria se Vrywilliger Kavallerie Korps en in 1896 is M J De Jager die enigste kandidaat wat die eksamen as tweede luitenant in die Staatsartillerie geslaag het. Hiermee het sy militÍre loopbaan momentum gekry. Tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog is hy dikwels vir dapperheid vermeld. In Januarie 1902 is hy as kaptein by Sandlaagte naby Nelspan in die distrik van sy tuis dorp, Ermelo, gevange geneem en na St Helena verban. Daar was hy in Deadwood Camp met Bernardus Schoeman, ‘n ander man met bande in Beaufort-Wes. Met De Jager se terugkoms het Generaal Jan Smuts hom oorreed om by die Transvaalse Polisie aan te sluit. Hy het roem verdien as die eerste invoerder van Dobermann-Pinschers vir polisiewerk in Suid-Afrika. Teen 1913 was hy lid van die Unieregeringsmagte en ‘n nuwe tydvak van sy lewe het begin wat hom in aanraking gebring het met mense soos die rebel Jopie Fourie. In 1915 het Generaals Jan Smuts en Louis Botha hom Suid-Wes Afrika toe gestuur as hoof van die Uniemagte. In die plofbare tye daar is hy tot generaal bevorder. Op 9 Oktober, 1939, op pad Kaap toe vir mediesebehandeling het hy op ‘n trein net buite Beaufort-Wes gesterwe. In Gedenkboek van M J de Jager, skryf sy kleinseun Alwyn P Smit: "Hy het letterlik huistoe gekom." Die Karooseun, Generaal M J de Jager, DTD DSO (met balkie), het diep spore deur die land se geskiedenis getrap.

SPIDER MAN OF THE GREAT KAROO

It has now come to light that Olive Schreiner’s husband Cron was a keen collector of spiders. Dr Dawn Gould, of Facts Found, discovered this while working on a research project. "Samuel Cron Cronwright-Schreiner, the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Beaufort West from 1904 to 1910, collected arachnids, mostly for museums," she writes. "Because of his opposition to the Anglo-Boer War he was confined under military supervision at Hanover where he collected trapdoor spiders. When Cron married Olive, who was closely associated with Matjiesfontein, he agreed to add Schreiner to his surname, but he was not the first member of this family to do so. Cronwright is a combination of ‘Cron,’ his paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and ‘Wright,’ his grandfather’s surname."

BROCHURE BRINGS BACK MEMORIES

Writing to offer his compliments on the new Beaufort West brochure, Woody Nel, a former resident, had this to say: "It brought memories flooding back. When I saw the picture of the church I recalled the memorial to General the Reverend Paul H Roux, who surrendered at the Brandwater Basin in 1900. He served the Beaufort West Dutch Reformed Congregation from 1905 to 1911. I also remembered being told that the Tommies used the clock face of the Moederkerk as a target during the Anglo-Boer War. I climbed all the way up to find out if this was true. Sure enough, on closer inspection I was able to see where repairs had been done on the eastern face to bullet holes. For a number of years we lived at No 4 Hattingh Street in Hospital Hill. While I was aware that during the Anglo-Boer War the British had a camp nearby, I was not quite sure where. Imagine my surprise when while gardening one day I dug up a few live .303 rounds. The pick-axe actually cut one in two. Fortunately there was no explosion..."

DIE STOUTSTE KIND KUIER WEER

Koup Gastehuis in Merweville lok talle ou inwoners terug om herinneringe te kom deel. "Vandat ons ons deure oopgemaak het kry ons gereeld mense wat net weereens hul ou tuisdorpie wil sien. Die aanvraag is hoog en het gelei daartoe dat ons eersdaags ‘n ontbyt en koffie fasiliteit langs ons gastehuis gaan open," sÍ gastehuis eienaar Hugo Muller. "Vandag verwag ek juis een van die stoutste predikant seuns wat ooit hier gebly het. Andries Wessels en sy vrou kom om sy pa se ou kerk weereens te besoek. Ds A B Wessels het die gemeente van 1925 tot 1946 bedien. In sy kinderdae het klein Andries die dorp op horings geneem. Sy suster Hester, 80, was laasjaar een van ons gaste en ons het weereens heerlik gelag oor al die stories van haar kinderdae. Sy het die Jode winkeliers onthou en die eienaars van ander besighede, sowel as baie boere in die distrik. Ek en sy het heerlik gesels want ek self het vir meer as 30 jaar transport gery en in die distrik vir water geboor."

THE ELAND - A SOURCE OF POWER

Animals meant much more to the San people than merely a source of food. Jeremy Hollmann, of the Rock Art Research Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand, says: "The eland, for instance, is drawn in the greatest number of postures and perspectives. The southern San believed the eland to be the favourite animal of /Kaggen, the Mantis, a trickster-deity and spiritual being. They also believed all animals were servants to the eland. This perhaps explains why the eland is so frequently depicted in the rock art of so many regions. The San appear to have had several areas where they felt they could not cope by themselves. Whenever the shamans had to cure the sick, go on out-of-body journeys or control the movements of antelope herds, they reached out for supernatural powers. Animals were a source of this extra power, and chief among them was the eland. The largest antelope in Southern African, it was a much desired source of meat and fat. The eland is very symbolic in San culture. It is central to four rituals: a boy’s first kill, a girls’ puberty, marriage and the trance dance. San artists seem to have lavished great attention and care on their drawings of this ‘sacred’ animal."

BISHOP SEES A SEA OF STONES

When Robert Grey, the first Anglican Bishop of Cape Town, saw the Karoo for the first time he described it as "a great sea, a huge, barren, stony plain with barely a house upon it." To reach what he described as "the beautiful village of Prince Albert at the foot of the Swartberg," he tells of travelling through the night and all through the next day, stopping occasionally for an hour to rest the horses. "At seven in the evening, we reached Prince Albert after travelling over a very stony and hilly road and through the most dreary and monotonous country. The day was intensely hot. On arrival we were greeted by Mr Borcherds, the excellent magistrate. We were hospitably received by Mrs Honeyborne, whose son keeps a store in the village. (This later became Forsyth’s store). Prince Albert is 13 years old, and very beautifully situated at the foot of the mountains." A report dated 1855, states that a coach trip from Cape Town to Vlakkraal, near Prince Albert Road Station, normally took 48Ĺ hours. The coach stopped every eight hours for fresh horses. Transport riders were given precedence on the roads. A bugle was regularly sounded to warn other road users that they were coming. Vlakkraal was the coach stop on the main route to the north where travellers for Prince Albert disembarked. They were taken to Prince Albert by contractors with horses and carts. They offered visitors a choice of staying at little hotels along the way.

COUNTRY LIFE HELPS SPREAD THE WARMTH

A mohair jersey knitted in Murraysburg in the Karoo is now on its way to Czechoslovakia. After sending last November’s issue of Country Life to her daughter in Prague, Mrs A Leibrandt, of Somerset West, heard by reply that her daughter would love to have one of Elsie Smuts’s mohair jerseys, as was featured in the magazine. Mrs Leibrandt ordered a black one. "This jersey was one of the best I have ever knitted," says Elsie, who proudly displayed it to friends before posting it. "I also recently received an order from Germany. I am tickled to think that my handwork will keep people of such cold countries warm through the winter." Alex Cremer, the Country Life photo-journalist who put Murraysburg on the map, has now visited Merweville.. "I loved the warm-hearted friendliness of the people. And I was greatly impressed by the cleanliness of the streets and surrounding environment. Obviously no litter-bugs live in this community," said Alex.

MERWEVILLE KINDERS DEEL HULLE OMGEWING

Die 55 leerlinge van Merweville se primÍre skool het onlangs die prag van hulle omgewing met twee buitelandse skole gedeel. Diť Kinderkrans jeug groep het muurbehangsels met Afrika en Karoo temas geverf om na skole in Japan en Malawi te stuur. Gina Mans, organiseerder van die groep, sÍ: "Die kinders ruil graag inligting en sodoende leer hulle meer oor mekaar se lande en omgewings. Om inligting te deel verg navorsing en dit maak hulle meer bewus van hul eie kontrei. Die Graad 1 tot 3 leerlinge samel ook fondse in om te help met die bou van ‘n kleuterskool in Malawi." Merweville se skool bied vanjaar ‘n jagnaweek aan as deel van hulle fondsinsameling projek. "Groot pryse is op die spel," sÍ Gina. "‘n Gemsbok, blesbokke en springbokke kan gewen word." Tel No 02082 vra vir 1121 vir verdere inligting

YOUTH PUT TOURISM, ECOLOGY HIGH ON AGENDA

Fifty children from ten Beaufort West schools recently spent a weekend at the Karoo National Park’s Mountain View camp to discuss important issues. Each school selected five top pupils from Grades 7 and 8. "These children were chosen for their strength of character and leadership qualities," said Bernie Gordon, of Beaufort West Safe Schools and Aids Action Group, one of the sponsors of the outing. "During the two days these young people discussed life skills, youth defensibility, sexuality, Aids and moral values. Television language and programmes came in for quite some criticism. Tourism and the ecology were a high priority. Most of the youngsters felt the Karoo was a special place worthy of being shared only with responsible tourists. The general consensus was that the environment was sacred and must not be destroyed. Participants emphasised that dumping and littering had to be stopped. They felt we had to show that we respected our fauna and flora before we could expect tourists to visit and enjoy the Karoo," said Bernie.

GROOT BELANGSTELLING IN SWARTBERGPAS

Hoe ouer die Swartbergpas word, hoe belangrikker word dit vir toerisme in die Karoo en veral in Prins Albert. "Heelwat buitelandse besoekers kom spesifiek na ons dorp net om oor hierdie wÍreldbekende bergpas te ry en die asemrowende ervaring met plaaslike inwoners te bespreek," sÍ Derek Thomas van Prins Albert. Hy en ander belangstellendes het onlangs Die Vriende van Die Swartbergpas-organisasie gestig. By die stigtingsvergadering het Mick Radford van Sedgefield ‘n toespraak en skyfievertoning getitel "Thomas Bain, die Man en sy laaste Meesterstuk" aangebied. Belangstellendes wat by "Die Vriende" will aansluit, kan Derek kontak by Tel No 023-541-1492. "Ledegeld sal ‘n nominale bedrag wees," sÍ hy.

STARLING ON THE BREAKFAST MENU

Making their early way to Gay’s Dairy in Prince Albert recently, researchers Richard Dean and Sue Milton spotted a red-breasted sparrowhawk. "It was an adult male carrying prey, a Eurasian starling, to a female in a nest at the top of a pine tree in Church Street. While she contentedly fed her chicks on the offering, the male bird flew off and soon reappeared with another serving of starling," said Sue. "We have recorded six sightings of rufous-breasted sparrowhawks and one juvenile black sparrowhawk in this area over a 15-year period, all in the woodland fringing town. We’ve never had such visitors nesting in the main street. It is remarkable how unobtrusive these sparrowhawks can be."

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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Rose's Roundup  No. 88  April 2001

MINISTER CALLS FOR MORE RESEARCH

Tourism was a powerful partnership, but only the surface had been scratched in efforts to create a closer working relationship between all sectors of the industry, the Western Cape Minister of Finance, Business Promotion and Tourism, Mr Leon Marcowitz, said when he addressed tourism roleplayers at an Oudtshoorn road show recently. "The image of tourism is still too fragmented. We also have far too many logos and structures," he said. "Image is important, and so is marketing. We must focus and streamline our marketing approaches, spend more wisely and research the value of niche markets to build tourism infrastructures. We must also take a more careful look at where our domestic tourists come from and we must pay full attention to this sector of the market." Mr Marcowitz said the Tourism Bill had been delayed for a few more months as he had commissioned ODA’s Dirk Joubert to research the needs and problems in each region. "Once he tables a report I will study it in detail before any changes will be made to the Act," the minister said.

DIENSLEWERING DIE SLEUTEL TOT SUKSES, S  PREMIER

Toerisme is die lewensbloed van Suid-Afrika en veral die platteland. Dit was die boodskap van die Premier van die Wes-Kaap Provinsie, mnr Gerald Morkel, toe hy ‘n toerisme byeenkoms in Oudtshoorn tydens die Klein Karoo Kunstefees toegespreek het. Tydens die geleentheid het mnr Morkel aangekondig dat die eerste sooie vir ‘n R500-miljoen konferensie sentrum in Kaapstad gespit is. "Dis nie net die Moederstad wat gaan baat vind van hierdie ontwikkeling nie. Dit gaan ook van groot belang wees vir die platteland. Die meeste konferensiegangers sal ‘n dag of twee in die platteland deurbring voor hulle huistoe gaan. As vriendelikheid, hoflikheid, en dienslewering daar van top gehalte is sal hulle beslis terugkeer vir ‘n tweede besoek met hulle families. Mense sal altyd gaan waar die prys en die diens reg is. Goeie dienslewering is die hart van die toerismebedryf. In hierdie bedryf kan ‘n mens geld maak, plesier daaruit kry en ook die land se ekonomie ondersteun." Die Wes-Kaap Kabinet het in Oudtshoorn vergader tydens die fees. "Ons beleid is om die Kabinet na die mense te bring en op plaaslike vlak na probleme te luister. Ons is ingestel op dienslewering."

OPEN AFRICA’S ROUTE TO REALITY

Founder and chairman of Open Africa, Noel de Villiers, recently visited Murraysburg to discuss the promotional power of creating and linking tourist routes. The meeting was arranged by Alida Vermeulen, chairman of the local tourist bureau, as farmers in the district are keen to establish a fossil route. "The formation of routes is an extraordinarily effective way to develop and promote tourism," Noel said. "We have proved this through the establishment of many successful routes in the Western Cape. Open Africa assists all stakeholders turn dreams into realities by helping them plan, map and market a route, no matter how big or small. But total commitment is essential. We ask stakeholders to identify their own ‘Big Five,’ the main reasons why tourists should visit their area. From beginning to end such a process takes 90 days."

TECHNIKON RECORDS A SLICE OF KAROO HISTORY

A team of students from the Technikon Pretoria’s Department of Architecture recently completed a comprehensive historic survey for the Karoo National Park. Under the guidance of departmental director Johan Jooste and senior lecturers Harry Benadť and Daan Steynberg, 19 South African and two overseas students documented all buildings on land the park acquired last year. Work on the project began in June, 2000, when a team working with Daan Steynberg pinpointed all structures with a global positioning system (GPS). Floor plans, sections and elevations were prepared under the direction of Harry Benadť. All buildings were then measured and photographed. Data was collected for evaluation in Pretoria. The students spent seven months translating field notes into electronic formats for a preliminary report. During the first phase, work was completed at nine sites. A further six sites were studied in April, this year. Niels Benecke, of the Vrye Universiteit van Amsterdam, and Katrina Klandermans, of the Technical University of Delft, both completing degrees on South African indigenous architecture, were again part of the team. In total, 64 structures, dating from 1790 to about 1950, were recorded, as well as sheds, dry-stone kraal walls and "long-drops" (outhouses).

ONWETEND EN DOOD GERUS DEUR DIE SPOOKVELD - OPPAS!

Die meeste mense wat deur die Karoo na Kaapstad haas is salig onbewus daarvan dat hulle deur die Spookveld reis. Hierdie ryk van die spoke is die 1800s deur Majoor A B Ellis van die West Indian Regiment beskryf toe hy in die Kaap by die Britse garnisoen gestasioneer was. Die Spookveld lÍ suid van Beaufort-Wes en strek tot by Patatasrivier, naby Karoopoort. Majoor Ellis het verskeie ervarings met spoke in die gebied gehad. Eenkeer was hy in ‘n poskoets op pad na Beaufort-Wes toe ‘n spook-koets verby gevlieg het. Sy koets moes weens wiel probleme stop. Toe die passasiers uitklim het hulle die gedruis van perdehoewe en ‘n vinnig aankomende koets gehoor. "Die geraas was iets vreesliks," het hy gesÍ. "Die koets het op ‘n hoŽ spoed op ons afgesnel. Ons koetsier het geskreeu ‘Waar gaan julle?’ ‘Hel toe’, was die antwoord van die spook koetsier, ‘n bleek man met ‘n gesig soos die dood en ‘n lag wat almal rillings gegee het. Net so skielik soos dit verskyn het, het die spook-koets in ‘n yskoue wind verdwyn. In die verte het Majoor Ellis ‘n paar manne by ‘n kampvuurtjie sien sit. Hy het oor gestap om te vra of hulle ook die snaakse verskynsel gewaar het. Toe hy by hulle aankom het hulle ook skielik verdwyn. Toe hy die grond voel waar die vuurtjie gebrand het was dit yskoud. Gedurende ‘n ander rit het hy ‘n spookwa op die pad gewaar. Hy kon duidelik die touleier se stem, die gesnork van die osse en die kreun van die wa hoor en sien hoe die boer wat luilekker stap en pyp rook. En toe het hy eenvoudig verdwyn.

SWALLOWS, SORCERERS OF THE RAIN CLOUDS

The San people believed that their shamans could control swallows and their movements. And therein lay a link with the rain. "They associated swallows with water, particularly rain," explains Jeremy Hollman of the Rock Art Research Centre at the University of the Witwatersrand. Towards the end of the 1800s, William Bleek conducted immensely valuable research into Bushman folklore. Among the tales he recorded was one about the swallow: "Our mothers tell us we should not throw stones at the swallow because it is a rain thing," one told him. "They ask us whether we do not see that when the rain clouds are in the sky, the swallow flies about, but when there are no rain clouds, we do not see it." Another story in the Bleek and Lloyd manuscripts tells of a boy who threw stones at a swallow and nearly died. "As he threw them, he fell insensible. It seemed he would die ... a sorcerer came out of the swallow and into him. He didn’t die. He would die another day," said Bleek’s storyteller.

OP SOEK NA KAROO WINDPOMP TONELE

(Tel No 021-855-3799)

‘n Bekende Suid-Afrikaanse fotograaf wil graag in die Karoo besoek aflÍ om windpompe af te neem. En, dis as gevolg van ‘n spesiale almanak. Toe J F ‘Tiny’ Wannenberg van die Landbouweekblad afgetree het, het hy ‘n versameling windpomp fotos gehad wat hy oor die jare vergader het. Hy het twaalf van die bestes in ‘n almanak omskep. Dit was ‘n reuse sukses, veral in die VSA. Nou het hy ‘n aanvraag vir meer foto’s van windpompe in die Karoo. Dus soek Tiny nou inligting oor plekke waar daar oues, besonderes of sommer net mooi windpompe is. En hy doen ‘n vriendelike beroep op boere om te help.

MURRAYSBURG AND RUSSIA HAVE ANCIENT LINK

A rare fossil found by accident on a Murraysburg farm last year has turned out to be a link between the Geat Karoo and Russia. The SA Museum’s top vertebrate preparator, Annelise Crean, has just finished working on the skull and lower jaw of a Proburnetia, found by Dr Roger Smith, Head of Palaeontology. "This is was one of the most exciting finds I have ever made," said Roger. "Only five Proburnetia fossils have been found in the world, and all of these were discovered in Russia. Proburnetia were about the size of a collie dog. They roamed the ancient Karoo about 253-million years ago scavenging on carcasses of animals such as the large Dicynodon, also discovered by accident in a nearby gulley." While members of the Karoo Paleo-Team were excavating the Dicynodon, Roger explored an adjoining gulley. There he discovered the back end of a fossilised skull embedded in shale. Recognising it as rare and unusual, he excavated it. Strolling back, he spotted a similarly shaped rock in a stream-bed about 50 metres away. This turned out to be the front of the same skull, complete with nasal horn and teeth. "The odds of finding such a truly rare fossil are a million to one, but finding two pieces that fit perfectly so close to one another is amazing," said Roger. According to Dr Michael Shishkin, Russian palaeontologist and a world specialist on ancient amphibians, the fact that common families of fossil reptiles, which could not swim across oceans, are found in Russia and South Africa, confirms that the continents were joined 250-million years ago.

FOSSIL NAME HONOURS MAN WITH A WINNING SMILE

While tracking a buck during a hunt, Willie Pienaar, owner of Walplaas, near Murraysburg, spotted bones jutting out of a rock in an erosion gulley. They intrigued him, so Willie contacted the SA Museum. Dr Roger Smith, Georgina Skinner and Paul October, of the Karoo Paleo-Team, established that it was the fossil of a three-metre-long Dicynodon. A search of the gulley revealed much more material, so they decided to excavate the fossil. "Willie and Bettie-Marie Pienaar and their staff could not have been more helpful and supportive," said Roger. But the man who stole their hearts was Johannes "Oompies" Swart. His enthusiastic efforts resulted in the fossil being named "Oompies" in his honour. "Preparing the fossil for transport was a painstaking and time-consuming task," said Roger. "It first had to be encased in plaster of paris to preserve it. Just digging it free took several days, and Johannes never once lost his winning, gap-toothed smile." Another important find was made in this area two years ago when the paleo-team discovered "Delila," a Pareiasaurus, on Doornplaats. "This was an important find as it was the first fossil ever found with full dermal armour," said Roger.

GLOBAL WARMING THREATENS KAROO FLORA

As much as half the Cape’s floral kingdom and its unique fynbos is under threat from global warming. Many species face extinction, say scientists. A report entitled Impacts of Climate Change on Plant Diversity, compiled by scientists of Kirstenbosch and the University of Cape Town, states that the Karoo, particularly the western sector which has a wealth of succulent flora, could by devastated before 2050. Many Karoo plants live on the edge of survival. They are totally dependent on low but regular rainfall, and the report foresees that as the area becomes warmer, rainfall will drop dramatically. A report in the Sunday Times of April 8 claims that if the Karoo were to become drier the effect would be devastating. Only the hardiest plants would survive, and desert plants would begin to encroach.

KAROO ONCE ENJOYED THE SPORT OF KINGS

Horse-racing was once such a popular sport in the Great Karoo that virtually every town had its own racecourse. Beaufort Westers decided to establish one in May, 1902. Enthusiasts held an inaugural meeting and after appointing a president, committee, stewards, a clerk of the course, a clerk of scales, a starter and a judge, decided to hold the first race meeting on May 25. The Courier of May 10 reported that there were six races on the card. A four-furlong race for ponies of 14 hands and under, an open one-mile race for all horses including any which had run for public stakes. Then there was a five- and a six-furlong race, as well as a one-mile race and an open quarter-mile sprint. At the very last moment it was decided to include a hurdle, "always popular with the crowd." The organisers stipulated that all entries and colours had to be registered five days before the event. The president encouraged locals to attend and support the event generously. He promised "excellent purses well worth competing for."

READING THE ROCKS WILL ENRICH TOURISM

Interpretation of the geological features of an area such as the Karoo could greatly enhance tourism. After a recent visit to the area, Morris J Viljoen, Professor of Mining Geology of the Department of Geology at the University of the Witwatersrand, said: "Most people drive for hours on end constantly exposed to picturesque scenery and fascinating rock formations. Learning more about the flat, dolerite-topped koppies, their strange conical counterparts and the fascinating, swirled rock formations in areas such as Meiringspoort would enrich their holiday experience. Easily accessible explanations in layman’s language should be readily available at places such as tourist bureaus and the Karoo National Park." Professor Viljoen has just produced a book entitled An Introduction to South Africa’s Geological and Mining Heritage. It was co-authored by Wolf Uwe Reimold, Associate Professor of Mineralogy and Head of the Impact Cratering Research Group of the Wits Department of Geology, and Antony Cowel, Mintek’s technical editor. The 193-page, well-illustrated, full-colour book, with maps on each area and with major chapters written by acknowledged experts, costs R115, plus postage. Copies can be ordered from Professor Viljoen at the Department of Geology, University of the Witwatersrand.

KOM KUIER IN DIE OU KELDER

(Tel No 023-541-1908)

‘n Vrou wat al lank bekend staan as Prins Albert se kombuis-towenaar het nou ‘n restourant op Drie Riviere, die Luttig familie plaas, geopen. Johanna Luttig wat dikwels ‘n spog geleentheid in die kelder vir families of troues gereŽl het, het na heelwat druk die gewilde kelder in ‘n heerlike eetplek omskep. Ou plaas implemente en historiese artefakte wat sy op die plaas en in die omgewing gevind het, is gebruik om atmosfeer te skep. Een van die mees interessante items is ‘n 100-jaar-oue boog-saag wat die Luttig voorouers gebruik het om ‘n populierhout tafel, wat nou as buffet gebruik word, te skep. Die Ou Kelder huisves 60 gaste en Johanna se smullekker kos sorg dat dit normaalweg vol is. Die spyskaart bevat "muise," sop en twee of drie vleisdisse waarvan een Karoo-lam bevat. Daar is ook groente, slaai.en Johanna se eie ingelegde lekkernye en plaaslike kaas en olywe. Onder die heerlike nageregte is daar Rammetjie Uitnek, wat Johanna se tuisgemaakte likeur bevat, grenadilla-"pitteblits" en "Hop Johanna," ‘n onvergeetlike arbei-gereg.

FOSSIL HUNTERS BOUND FOR THE KAROO

(Tel No 021-424-3320)

Thirty Friends of the SA Museum in Cape Town will spend a week in the Beaufort West searching for fossils at the end of May. Under the guidance of Dr Roger Smith, Head of the Karoo Paleo-Team and other experts from the museum, they will dig at sites on La-de-da, south of the town, and Putfontein on the Nuweveld Mountains. "Such digs have to be handled with the utmost care to ensure that valuable material does not get damaged," said Roger. " From time to time, laymen have made some exciting finds. All fossils in South Africa are subject to the country’s conservation policies and protected by the National Heritage Act of 1966. Fossil hunters must always bear in mind that these once were living creatures that roamed the Karoo. Their fossilised remains reveal a great deal of what the earth was like in their time. No unqualified person may excavate fossils or any other archaeological material without the guidance of a qualified person or team which has a permit to collect material for research purposes. All material found has to be taken back to Cape Town where highly-skilled preperators remove the fossilised remains from the surrounding rock. This takes time and has to be done with great care. It is a delicate job. The museum regularly arranges outreach programmes, such as this popular annual five-day excursion to Beaufort West, to increase awareness of the country’s natural heritage and to raise funds for projects," said Roger.

‘N FEES OM TE ONTHOU EN ‘N UITDAGER WEDLOOP

(Tel No 023-551-1019)

Prins Albert se Olyffees was weereens ‘n groot sukses. Van die oomblik dat die hoofstraat offisieŽl gesluit is, was dit ‘n naweek van pret vir feesgangers. Soos gewoonlik was daar iets vir almal, van sportmanne tot diť wat net in die son wou sit en iets letter eet. Die olyfpitspoegkompetisie, miskoekgooi en toutrek kompetisies het gaste lekker laat lag. Alle kuiergaste was dit eens dat diť fees nie een is om mis te loop nie. Die volgende groot geleentheid in die Sentrale Karoo is die 80km ultra-marathon by Laingsburg. Hierdie uitdagende wedloop, wat talle deelnemers met die Comrades vergelyk, volg ‘n prag roete wat beide teer- en grondpad insluit. Dit vind plaas op 29 September.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel:   023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

click to go to top of page

Rose's Roundup  No. 89  May 2001

KAROO’S FIRST TOWNSHIP TOURISM ROUTE

The first tourist route through a Karoo township is being created in Kwa-Mandlenkosi, Beaufort West. This was recently announced by Siphiwe Piti, chairman of the District Municipality Tourism Committee, when he appointed 12 tourism ambassadors at Mandlenkosi Secondary School. They are Gift Louw, Utombekhanya Lawrence, Athone Ngondo, Uthabiseng Manewe, Bongulethu Faas, Siyabulela Swartbooi, Andiswa Mzakala, Sandile Kohwe, Mzwamadode Visagie, Sipho Ngwenya, Uonzwakazi Lekanyane and Mucedisi Minye. All are in Grade 9. They volunteered to help with a community service project. Siphiwe presented the pupils with T-shirts and background information. The idea for the route developed after Msi Nxele, Western Cape Tourism Board’s educational co-ordinator, visited Beaufort West. He found the school, but not the entrance, which is tucked away in a side street. He said: "Tourists may know of a place, as I did today, but if they can’t easily reach it, they’ll never visit." The pupils and their teacher, Mrs Lungi Ngondo, took his talk to heart and the idea for a route to put Kwa-Mandlenkosi on the tourist map was born. Lungi discussed a township tourist route with regional tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis. Further discussions were held with artists, crafters and other interested organisations. Eventually plans were brought to the attention of Noel de Villiers, founder and director of Open Africa. The level of local enthusiasm impressed him and Noel offered to help with funding. The new ambassadors will help plan, clean, and research the route. It has the full support of Mandlenkosi High School’s principal, Mr Tamsanga Pandle.

BEAUFORT-WES BEPLAN TWEE NUWE STAPROETES

Beaufort-Wes Toerisme Buro is tans besig om twee nuwe staproetes op die dorp te ontwikkel. Die een is op Blokhuis- en die ander op Springfonteindamkoppie. "Van albei is daar pragtige uitsigte oor die dorp en omgewing," sÍ BWTB voorsitter Bettie Smit. "Toeriste kan met hul motors ry tot bo-op albei die koppies en daar ‘n kelkie wyn teen sonsondergang geniet. Daar is ook heelwat mense wat na hulle aankoms op die dorp graag bene wil rek en teen die koppies uitstap. Ons gaan roetes merk en interessante plantegroei aandui."

NEW FOSSIL EXHIBIT IN PRINCE ALBERT

The Roy Oosthuizen Fossil Room at the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert has been completed. This display of Karoo fossils, in the room formerly used by the Tourism Bureau, was set up by the paleo-team of the SA Museum. Some of the material came from Roy Oosthuizen’s private museum. After Roy’s death his museum was closed and, in terms of his will, most exhibits were sent to the SA Museum in Cape Town. Prince Albert’s local expert on palaeontology and geology, Judy McGuire, helped set up the exhibit. 

NEW PERSPECTIVES ON THE ENVIRONMENT

SAN Parks held an environmental interpretation and education for conservation workshop in the Karoo National Park from May 22 to 24. The aim was development of a corporate perspective, strategy, curricula and business plans to cover the many groups who visit the parks. These include schoolchildren, adult education organisations, local and international tourists, day-trippers and neighbouring communities. "The course, covered tourism, conservation, the more effective operation of socio-ecology departments and communication with communities," park manager Leighton Hare said.

BEAUFORT-WES TOERISME BURO TREK

Beaufort-Wes Toerisme Buro trek eersdaags vanaf die museum na ‘n nuwe perseel in die KSOK gebou in Donkinstraat. "Hier sal ons die dorp en ons lede beter kan adverteer en ‘n beter diens vir toeriste lewer," sÍ voorsitter Bettie Smit. Die perseel het ‘n lang geskiedenis van diens. Die dorp se eerste professionele foto-ateljee en apteek was hier gestig. Die eienaars was Townshend, Townsend en Folley. Frederick Townsend, wie met Antoinette Weeber getrou het, het roem verwerf as ‘n fotograaf tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog. In 1880 het J Brittain die apteek oorgeneem en net voor die uitbreek van die Boereoorlog het Lennon Limited‘n deftige winkel daar geskep. Na die oorlog het George R Thwaits die plek gekoop en na 35 jaar is dit deur W D Plekker oorgeneem. In die 1940s, was E A Michaels die apteker en in 1952 het H Friedman oorgeneem, maar die naam Michael’s Pharmacy behou. In 1967, na meer as ‘n eeu in die geneesbedryf, is die gebou in ‘n klerewinkel omskep. Bergers Bpk het vir jare daar handel gedryf. In die 1990s is ‘n kleinsake korf en opleidingssentrum daar begin. Die gebou is onlangs deur plaaslike antiekehandelaar Kobus Rossouw gekoop. Hy is tans met restourasie werk besig. Om toeriste verder te trakteer ontwikkel hy ‘n "ou dorp" agter sy antiekwinkel net oorkant die straat. "Toeriste is meer as welkom om dit nou al te kom besigtig," sÍ Kobus.

THE FAMILY WITH BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL BLUE EYES

A painting in the South African embassy in Washington, DC, has a link with Beaufort West. It was painted by Yvonne de Wet, who grew up in this Karoo village. She now lives with her husband, Derek McLean, in Somerset West. Yvonne took some time to has shed more light on the De Wet family of Beaufort West for Ingrid Mousley, of Clarens in the Free State (Round-Up No 85). "My father was Jacobus McCheyne de Wet. His middle name was in honour of the Scots midwife who brought him into the world. It is pronounced ‘Mac-chainie’ and Afrikaans wags in the Karoo jokingly called him ‘Mac-Ketting.’ Normally, he was simply known as Jim or Jimmy. My grandfather, Gerald Christiaan de Wet, was widely known throughout the Karoo as ‘Pappa’ de Wet. His brother was Jack de Wet. My ‘Ouma’ was extremely religious. She never went anywhere without her bible and played the organ in the Moederkerk. Typical of a South African family, however, we had close ties with the Anglican Church. Anne, an aunt, married the son of the local rector, Guy Gething. The family has strong Irish links. Almost all have beautiful blue eyes. My only son, Rory, recently earned a handsome sum in half an hour when an advertising agency photographed his blue eyes. The De Wets are blessed with longevity. Papa was 85 when he died, my dad, 81, and his sister, Beatrix ‘Bertie,’ lived to 91. Until her dying day she was the life and soul of any party."

NUWE BURO VIR PRINS ALBERT

Prins Albert Toerismeburo het getrek. Die nuwe perseel, steeds in die Fransie Pienaar Museum-kompleks, is groter. "Dit is meer sigbaar van die hoofstraat as ons vorige kantoor wat op die voorstoep van die museum was," sÍ toerismebeampte Raylene van der Berg. "Ons hoop nog meer toeriste sal kom besoek aflÍ. In die ruim kantore kan ons lede nou ook beter geadverteer word."

SHEPHERD SPREADS THE WORD

A church history researcher recently discovered that the Dutch Reformed Mission church in Merweville was started by a shepherd. As he moved about with his flock of sheep, Hendrik Tamatie spread the word of God. Eventually, with a small personal allowance, Hendrik built a tiny stone room from where he preached each Sunday. His efforts were recognised in 1908, and the local church congregation helped him. By 1923, a mission church was built in Merweville.

BROWSING REVEALS LAINGSBURG’S TWIN

Browsing the ‘Net recently revealed that Laingsburg in the Great Karoo has a twin town in Michigan in the United States. The towns have a great deal in common. Advertising literature for the American village, also in a rural area, states: "Passing through our sleepy little village tourists would hardly imagine this once was a thriving city with shops, businesses and a busy railroad. Nevertheless, today it still lies alongside a main highway with many beautiful, historic winding routes, truly worth exploring, nearby." Laingsburg, Michigan, lies on the banks of the Looking Glass River (the Karoo town is on the banks of the Buffels River). The US town was virtually destroyed by fire in 1888. Its South African counterpart suffered a similar fate in a devastating flood in 1981, almost a century after it was established. The US town, in Shiawassee County, has a population of 1 148. Only 430 families live there. The first inhabitants, Native Americans, built a Chippewa village called Wassololo at this site in the 1600s. It vanished without trace. The present-day town was founded in 1836 by Dr Peter Laing, a Scot who moved to this outlying area to practise medicine. He ended up building a tavern on the rugged route between Pontiac and Grand Rapids. Weary travellers soon began to stop and soon more hotels and taverns popped up. The fledgling village became known as Laingsburg. Oddly enough, like its local counterpart, it also underwent name changes before settling on Laingsburg.

PAD DEUR BEAUFORT-WES VAN TOEKA AF WOELIG

Toeriste maak deesdae dikwels melding van die besige pad deur Beaufort-Wes. Maar druk verkeer is van die begin af deel van diť dorp se daaglikse lewe. Eers was daar net waens, perde en karre. Die eerste mense wat diť deel van die hinterland wou besoek, het gebruik gemaak van Inland Transport Company van Wellington se koetse. Die maatskappy se gekose oornag plekke was Matjiesfontein en Beaufort-Wes. Na die ontdekking van diamante in 1866 op Kimberley, het verkeer deur Beaufort-Wes vinnig toegeneem. Cob and Company van Kaapstad het ‘n gereelde diens na die Diamantvelde ingestel en kort op hulle hakke was die groot en belangrike koetsdiens van Gibson Brothers. John-Alexander, James en Fred Gibson het mettertyd hul maatskappy naam na The Red Star Line verander. Al hulle koetse is na Britse kastele, soos bv Balmoral Castle, vernoem en die broers het aangedring dat hul koetsiers as "kaptein" aangespreek word. Hierdie koetse het welkome pos en klandisie na Beaufort-Wes gebring. Deurreissende passiers het oor ‘n duisend brode ‘n week in die dorp gekoop. Dit het daartoe gelei dat daar op ‘n tyd drie bakkerye op die dorp was. ‘n Enkel kaartjie van Kaapstad tot in Kimberley het £12 10s gekos, maar daar was ‘n afslag vir diegene wat kans gesien het om buite in die verstikkende stof langs die koetsier te sit. Die pad het al besiger geword met die ontdekking van goud op die Witwatersrand in 1886. Daar was ‘n effense daling in koets verkeer met die koms van die spoorlyn in 1879. Teen daardie tyd het die dorp meer oornag geriewe en hotelle benodig. Tot die goudmagnaat Barnie Barnato het ‘n hotel in Nuwestraat naby die ou spoorwegstasie opgerig.

ITALIAN STUDENT PROBES KAROO STRATA

A student from the Universita Degli Studi di Pavi in Italy recently spent four weeks in the Karoo studying rock formations and searching for fossils. Frederica Vitali, who hails from Bergamo, Italy, began her study of the Beaufort Group of rocks in Jansenville and then made a detailed study of the Ecca/Beaufort layers across a 2 000 metre geological section on the banks of the Dwyka River, near Prince Albert Road. "We found an excellent outcrop near the N1, in the vicinity of the Dwyka Bridge," said Frederica, who will use the information for a Ph.D. Her supervisors are Professor Bruce Rubidge, Head of Palaeontology at the Bernard Price Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, and Professor Giusseppe Cassinis, President of Permian Period Studies in Europe at the Pavia University. Frederica was accompanied by Charlton Dube, a technician and fossil preparator of the University of the Witwatersrand. "We found fossilised bones and plant material that will be taken to Wits for further study," she said. "I will draw the section I studied when I return to Wits and analyse the data and rock samples collected during my field studies there before returning to Italy in July. Frederica was full of praise for the hospitality and friendship found in the Karoo. "Tobie and Andine Gous, of North and South B&B at Prince Albert Road, went out of their way to make my stay in the Karoo a memorable and successful one," she said. "Of course, all of our field research is done on farms and all of these farmers were most hospitable and kind."

LAST WISH DASHED IN HEARSE CRASH

Way back in the 1800s, the little town of Beaufort West could not afford a hearse. Traditionally, coffins were carried to the cemetery by pall-bearers. However, Blythe Street cemetery was a long haul, even for strong men. Also, as roads improved, more farmers opted for a church burial in town. On occasion, a horse-drawn cart was used, but this was considered somewhat undignified. So, according to Oom Frik Swanepoel, whose family once farmed on Kookfontein, one of their neighbours decided to do something. He was the aging but reasonably well-off Koos Fourie, owner of Doornfontein. Koos undertook to provide a hearse on condition his would be the first body it carried. The church accepted his offer. "Koos commissioned the building of a grand hearse," Oom Frik said. "And, as luck would have it, Koos died shortly after its completion. Sadly, however, the church was unable to honour its part of the bargain and fulfil Koos’s last wish. Two hired black horses, draped in black, were hitched to the new hearse. But before his coffin could be loaded, something frightened the horses. They bolted with the hearse and it was smashed into little pieces. Koos’s coffin had to be trundled to the graveyard on an ordinary cart. Shortly afterwards, in 1869, D G "Ryk" Daantjie de Villiers arranged for the purchase of a hearse for £75 in Cape Town. Transport to Beaufort West cost £12. This hearse was used until the 1930s, when it was replaced by a motor-driven vehicle."

GRAFTE LEWER GEHEIME OP

Toe ere-veldwagters Hansie en Betsie van der Westhuizen ingestem het om ou grafte in die Karoo Nasionale Park na te vors het hulle gedink dit sou ‘n paar dae in beslag neem. "Die taak was ontnugterend groot en ons kan nog nie sÍ dat ons klaar is nie," sÍ Betsie. "Ons moes meer en verder in die veld stap as wat ons verwag het. Meeste grafte is in afgeleŽ gebiede. Die oudstes, bekend as Die Koranna se Grafte, is hoog op ‘n bergie wat tot met ‘n 4 x 4 moeilik bereikbaar is." Hulle lÍ op die u-vormige Korannasfonteinberg, tussen Brandewynsgat en Berg-en-Dal. Die gebied tussen die ‘arms’ van die berg, bekend as Korrannafonteinvallei, dui aan dat inheemse mense lank daar gewoon het. "Volgens oorlewering het ‘n Koranna langs die fontein geleef en na die dood van sy vrou, het hy hom daar doodgedrink," sÍ Betsie. "Daar is talle ander ongemerkte grafte op die oop veld en daar is ook heelwat klipstawels wat moontlik grafte kan wees. Hier en daar lÍ ‘n enkel graf langs ‘n ou wapad. ‘n Mens kan nie help om te wonder wie daar begrawe is en wanneer nie. Dit was ‘n uiters interessante projek." Betsie en Hansie het 54 grafte met inskripsies gekry "Enige grafte wat ons nie gekry het nie, sal ou klipgraffies sonder inskripsies wees." Die oudste graf met ‘n kopsteen is die van Johan Frederick Scholtz wie op 9 Oktober, 1870 oorlede is. Hy was 15 jaar oud. Die jongste graf is diť van Anna Koopman wie in April, 1999 op Sandrivier begrawe is.

SCHOOL TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT TOURISM

Six Beaufort West high school pupils recently studied the effect of local and international tourism on their town for a business development project. Mzukisi Ntambo, Sivugile Fasie, Phumzile George, Thembikhaya Menziwa, Fundiswa Ralehoke and Meleza Damon, all Grade 11 pupils at Mandlenkosi Secondary School, called on the Regional Tourism Office for assistance. They needed to know how the various tourism bodies in South Africa worked together to promote the country, provinces, regions and individual towns locally and abroad. They discussed the various structures within the local tourism industry and how these were linked to develop job creation programmes. And, because their school is in the centre of the Great Karoo, they investigated the eco-, agri- and adventure tourism potential of the town, its surrounds and the Karoo National Park as well as the role of the museum.

INTERNATIONAL HELP FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

An international consultant has drawn up development plans for Prince Albert. After discussions with the municipality, concerned roleplayers and the tourism bureau, Simon White, of the International Labour Organisation, compiled a working paper designed to close the gap in empowerment. This paper will be discussed during LEED (Local Economic and Employment Development) week from June 11. "Tourism is central to viable economic development and several tourism plans will be discussed during LEED week," Tourism Bureau chairman, Gary Smith, said.

DATES TO DIARISE: Laingsburg, Karoo Marathon September 29, 2001; Laingsburg Karoofees, October 26 to 28; Prince Albert Harvest Festival, November 24, 2001; Prince Albert Olive Festival, April 26 to 28, 2002; Murraysburg Sneeuberg Cycle Crawl, December 1, 2001; Klein Karoo Kunstefees April 1 to 7, 2002.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel: 023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

click to go to top of page

Rose's Roundup  No. 90  June 2001

IT’S ALL SYSTEMS GO IN KWA-MANDLENKOSI

Tourism has sprouted wings in Kwa-Mandlenkosi. This was evident at the crowded inaugural meeting of a tourism planning committee recently at H M Dlikidla Primary School. Representatives from diverse organisations discussed the vital role of tourism within the Beaufort West community and the importance of the proposed route through the township. "Until fairly recently, most Africans had little interest in tourism," said Siphiwe Piti, chairman of the Central Karoo Regional Tourism Organisation. "Developments in the new South Africa, however, have changed this. People now acknowledge tourism as the key to economic and infrastructure development and job creation. In the Karoo we have a wealth of cultures to share with tourists and a range of experiences to offer them. We are constantly working to develop routes and attractions to encourage tourists to do more than simply overnight in the area. The Mandlenkosi Tourism Committee will meet regularly to turn our dreams into realities." A special workshop, addressed by Open Africa representatives, will be held at the school to discuss finer details of the Mandlenkosi Tourist Route.

OEWERKONYN PROJEK SUKSESVOL

Tel (044) 279-1739

Boere in die Beaufort-Wes/Kromrivier- kontrei wat oewerkonyn bewaareas op hul plase gestig het sÍ die projek blyk ‘n sukses te wees. Die plase vorm nou deel van ‘n projek wat deur die World Wild Life Fund vir Suid-Afrika geborg is. "Huidiglik is daar nog omtrent 30 van hierdie hoogs bedreigde diertjies in die Wes-Kaapgebied," sÍ Chrizette Kleinhans van Wes-Kaap Natuurbewaring wie onlangs ‘n opname voltooi het. "Die oorlewing van die spesies is afhanklik van optimale bestuur van hul habitat wat net in die Beaufort-Wes\Victoria-Wes areas van die Karoo voorkom. Dit is die enigste plek in die wÍreld waar die diertjies in die natuur voorkom. Oewerkonyne word meestal deur verlies van habitat bedreig." Chrizette en haar span van Wes-Kaap Natuurbewaring gaan weereens in Julie ‘n opname doen om meer presiese getalle in die Kromrivier-gebied te bepaal. Diegene wie verdere inligting verlang kan webtuistes

‘BRING BACK THE VULTURE’

A conservationist keen to see vultures back in their natural habitat in the Karoo recently talked to bird watchers, nature lovers and farmers in Beaufort West and Prince Albert. Dr Gerhard Verdoorn, group research and conservation director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, incorporating raptor conservation and vulture study groups, encouraged farmers to establish vulture restaurants to coax these birds back to the Central Karoo. "Years ago, when I visited the Beaufort West area, I saw many vultures nesting on the Nuweveld mountains. Today, not one is left. Farmers should make a sincere effort to bring them back. Ecologically, it would be a wise move." Dr Verdoorn, who would like to see poisons used correctly, also discussed his research on a new natural poison which targets only specific predators.

BLACK EAGLES MOVE THEM TO TEARS

Tel 023-415-2828

Over the years, two black eagles at the Karoo National Park have gained celebrity status among visitors from across the world. The sheer beauty of the two raptors has even moved the odd tourist to tears. The pair first nested on a ledge just below the look-out site at Rooivalle on Klipspringer Drive five years ago. Visitors strain at the site’s guard rails to get a good look as the two birds build their nest, sit on eggs, feed offspring and eventually teach chicks to fly. When last year’s eaglet eventually took the plunge for its first wobbly flight across the ravine and landed on the other side with a screech of terror, a German burst into tears at the sheer wonder of it. This year, the eagle pair have already started building a nest on the same ledge. Watching the construction work with a group of tourists, ranger Dawie de Villiers said: "It is almost as if they know they are a major attraction and work to maintain their status."

TV SPANNE BESOEK DIE KAROO

Die Anglo-Boereoorlog geniet weer aandag. Herman Binge en Hennie van der Merwe van Daisy Productions, vervaardigers van ‘n ABO TV-program met insette oor die Karoo, sÍ dit sal op 24 Julie op Kyk-Net en op 26 Julie op M-Net uitgesaai word. ‘n TV-span van Pasella het ook onlangs in die Karoo gekuier met Shape-tydskrif. Hulle het die mooiste van die mooi meisies Matjiesfontein toe gebring vir ‘n glansartikel oor somer modes. Toeriste en inwoners het toe ook sommer ‘n onwerwagte modevertoning geniet. ‘n TV span het ook Beaufort-Wes besoek om agtergrond materiaal op te neem vir ‘n onderhoud wat Dalie Tambo met Prof Chris Barnard voer vir People of the South. Museum kuratrisse Sandra Smit het Prof Barnard se geliefkoste gesang, Wat ‘n vriend het ons in Jesus, op die ou orreltjie in die sendingkerkie gespeel vir die opname. Prof Barnard se moeder het op die orreltjie gespeel toe sy vader die dominee in die kerkie was. Prof Barnard was ook in die kollig op die radio toe hy sy nuutste boek, Fifty ways to a healthier heart, met Tim Modise bespreek het. Tydens die onderhoud het hy onder andere ook die uitstalling van sy toekennings by Beaufort-Wes Museum bespreek.

QUAGGAS DOING WELL

Tel 023-415-2828

The man considered to be the father of the South Africa’s quagga breeding project, Rheinold Rau of the SA Museum, recently visited the Karoo National Park and was delighted with the progress the quaggas have made there. Of the original 14 animals sent to the park three years ago, only one has died. He was Allan, who hailed from Ethosa, and was almost 20 years old. There are now 25 quaggas on the plains in the Lammertjiesleegte area. Among them are two newcomers, foals born to Lois in March and to Simunye in May. Neither have yet been named. The quagga was hunted to extinction in the late 1800s. In 1803, German explorer Heinrich Lichtenstein reported seeing hundreds of wild animals including herds of quagga near present-day Beaufort West. Quagga numbers dwindled as hunting intensified to satisfy the growing demand for their skins to make bags. By 1856, the animals were reported to be "rather scarce." Hinterland explorer John Barrow reported seeing zebra and a great number of another member of the zebra family, known in the colony by its Hottentot name of "quagga," near the Geelbek River in the Laingsburg district in 1797. He wrote that "this animal was long considered to be a female zebra, but it is now known to be a distinct species. The animals are beautifully marked with faint stripes on the forequarters."

KAROO HERITAGE SYMPOSIUM PLANNED

Tel No 021-462-4502

A symposium aimed at promoting a better understanding and use of Karoo urban heritage is being planned for September. This joint effort of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMO SA), South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA - formerly the National Monuments Council)) and the Committee for Historical Towns and Villages (CIVVIH) will be held from September 2 to 4 at the Apollo Theatre in Victoria West. Organiser Tabisa Konyashe, of SAHRA, said: "A variety of papers of interest to people involved in tourism, local government, economic and infrastructural development of small Karoo towns will be presented." Further information from The Apollo Theatre will also host a film festival from September 25 to October 6, this year. Full details from or tel no 053-621-1185.

LICHENOLOGIST STUDIES THE SWARTBERG

The richly coloured rock faces at the Swartberg Pass entrance at Prince Albert recently brought a Canadian visitor to the town in the form of lichenologist Philip May. Locals peering over his shoulder as Philip studied the rocks, were filled with questions. "What is it?" "Why so many colours?" Philip explained: "Lichen is a composite of two quite distinct kinds of plants intergrown in close, obligatory association. One is a fungus. It forms a dense web of fine threads in which an alga grows. The association of the fungus and alga is an example of perfect symbiosis. The fungus feeds on the alga, which in turn gets water and dissolved mineral salts from the fungus, which protects it from adverse weather and drought. Neither of these organisms can survive alone, yet, together they form an invincible partnership. Lichen lives on bare rock. It survives even in Arctic conditions where no other plant could live. Lichen is the hardy pioneer that plays a vital role in the painfully slow process of breaking down rocks to form soil. Yellow lichen, Dermatiscum thunbergii, is an umbilicate. This means that each microscopic chip is attached to rock by a short, thread. This yellow lichen, pigmented by ‘rhizocarpic acid,’ prefers the cool side of the rock and grows only at certain altitudes on quartzite. At low altitudes it turns brown. The pigment in green lichen responds to sunlight. Orange-red and frilly grey lichens prefer sunny spots lower down on cliff faces. Lichens are sensitive to pollution, so the colourful entrance to Prince Albert bears testimony to pure air."

HISTORY IS ‘ANYTHING BUT DRY’

Members of the Von Prophalow Society, a light-hearted historical group, will visit the Laingsburg area from September 14 to 16. Historic researcher Dr Cyril Hromnik will discuss some of the ancient Quenna sites he has found on David Luscombe’s farm. The Von Prophalow Society, established in 1988, takes its name from Baron Von Prophalow, who was Commander of the Cape Town Castle and the man who handed the Colony over to the British in 1806. The society’s motto is "History is not dry." Its logo depicts a hand holding a glass of wine. The group will stay at the Lord Milner Hotel at Matjiesfontein, where members hope to catch a glimpse of the resident ghosts before they down a glass of wine.

KLEURVOLLE KARRETJIE PRIKKEL BESOEKERS

‘n Kleurvolle karretjie het die aandag van Majore Bennie Malloy en Glen Adriaanse van die Dienskorps getrek toe hulle in Murraysburg op besoek was vir toerisme besprekings. Tot hulle verbasing het Alida Vermeulen, voorsitter van Murraysburg Reklame Vereniging, onmiddellik aangebied om Langoor en Kordaat te gaan haal en die twee op ‘n rit deur die dorp te neem. "Die karretjie is te pragtig," het Glen gesÍ. "Dit lyk sowaar of dit van groot Lego-blokkies gemaak is. Ons kon nie glo dat die vernuftige mense van hierdie afgeleŽ dorpie op sulke kort kennisgewing vir ons ‘n donkiekar-rit sou kon aanbied nie." Maar Alida en haar tourismespan glo donkies is deel van die kultuur van die platteland. "Ons sal graag wil hÍ meer toeriste moet vanaf hierdie karretjie kennis maak met ons dorpie," het sy gesÍ.

MERWEVILLE ONCE HAD SMALL ‘COAL’ MINES

The coalfields of the old Cape Colony have captured the imagination of Beaufort West freelance researcher Arnold Hutchinson. Searching for the history of coal and pseudocoal in the Great Karoo, Arnold found that "the first recorded discovery and use of coal by Europeans was in the Franschhoek Valley in 1699." So says John Devenish in his Coal, Pride of South Africa. Devenish also states that Africans, however, used coal long before the Europeans arrived. Arnold says: "Coal was found and used in the Karoo in the 1800s. Over the years, many researchers reported finding ‘veins of a brittle, jet-black, lustrous coal-like substance that were fissure fillings in Karoo beds. ‘Coal’ was discovered on Leeuwrivierspoort, then part of Klipplaats-fontein, in 1864 and 1865. There were also reports of finds on Buffelskloof in the Aberdeen district in 1875. A geological survey reinvestigated this pseudocoal between 1940 and 1942. In all, there were about 30 occurrences of pseudocoal in the Dwyka, Ecca and Beaufort Series of the Karoo System. There are also reports of small mines on 14 farms in the Merweville district. These were Langekuil, Wilgeboschkloof, Hartebeestefontein, Oudeberg, earlier known as Rietpoort, Sambokkraal, also known as Hamelkraal, De Drift, Tweefontein, or Platdoorns, De List, Kruisvlei, Ongeluksfontein, Leeuwkraal, also known as Elandsfontein, Varsfontein, De Puts, once also called Leeuwfontein, and Zeekoevallei," says Arnold.

SWARTBERG HOTEL SOON BACK IN BUSINESS

Tel 023-541-1822

Prince Albert’s popular Swartberg Hotel, damaged by fire last December, will re-open on September 1. Fred and Anobť Badenhorst, who farm in the district, recently bought the hotel. "It has been a landmark and central to tourism in Prince Albert since it opened in the mid-1800s. We aim to keep it so," Fred said. "Early travellers stopped at the Swartberg Hotel to rest and refresh themselves before tackling the daunting Swartberg Pass. Government officials and road builders met here. Fortune hunters, preachers, explorers and travelling salesmen were regular guests. Victorian ladies held tÍte-ŗ-tÍtes in the writing room. The lounges, dining room, bars and gardens were places to socialise, discuss business, grumble or gossip. The goldrush to Spreeuwfontein and Klein Waterval brought a more rugged clientele to wet their whistles and test their luck at cards. The hotel’s gambling ghost dates back to this time. Many have seen him playing poker in one of the rooms. We hope the fire didn’t scare him away." While builders, painters and decorators are hard at work repairing fire damage, Fred and Anobť are busy gathering historic information, old photographs and stories from all who have good memories of the hotel.

ROYAL WEER OOP VIR TOERISTE

Tel. 083-515-4733

Die Royal Hotel in Beaufort-wes is weer oop. Hierdie bekende baken op die hoofpad deur die Karoo, huisves toeriste al vanaf 1850. Nuwe eienaar Mornť du Plessis, wie voorheen by die Wagon Wheel en Karoo Lodge in Beaufort-Wes asook by Tuinroete en Weskus hotelle gewerk het, het groot planne vir die toekoms "Ons gaan die hotel se positiewe aspekte uitbou. Die Kelder, wat beroemd is vir goeie biefstuk en ‘n bekostigbare spyskaart sal uitgebrei word en die kroeg gaan in ‘n gesellige kuierplek, Die Kolskoot, omskep word. Die ou Lyrieksaal gaan herdoop word as Die Dorsvloer. Dit sal beskikbaar gestel word vir funksies, troues en partytjies. Daar sal ‘n lesingsaal wees vir seminaars. Ons gaan ‘n swembad en lapa bou en die perseel, insluitende Hillstraat, omhein sodat meer veilige parking aangebied kan word."

TOURISM VIPS ON WHISTLESTOP TOURS

Several top tourism industry VIPs recently visited the Central Karoo. Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, Chief Director, Tourism Support, of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in Pretoria, delivered a talk in Prince Albert during LEED (Local Economic and Employment Development) week. She was accompanied by Dr Joseph Raputsoe, Director, Quality Assurance and the man responsible for the new tour guiding programme, and Noma Xhosa Jongilane, Director, Communications. Dr Mike Fabricius, CEO of Western Cape Tourism Board, visited Beaufort West, Prince Albert and Laingsburg for discussions with tourism stakeholders. Dr Laurine Platzky, Deputy Director-General, Business Promotion and Tourism, of the Western Cape Department of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Tourism, also had discussions on tourism and other development projects while in the Karoo.

KOM VIER FEES IN LAINGSBURG

Tel 023-551-1029

Laingsburg se tweede Karoofees vind gedurende die laaste naweek in Oktober plaas. Organiseerder Ronica Groenewald sÍ: "Daar sal iets vir almal wees insluitende stalletjies, troeteldier-, baba- en modelvliegtuigskoue, bandgooikompetisies en skaaphondvertonings. Vir die wat iets bedrywig soek is daar 4 x 4 roetes en die Vloedroete is die gewildste. ‘n Sewes rugby toernooi word vir sportsgeesdriftiges aangebied en daar is ook ‘n dans. Dit gaan ‘n naweek van pret wees gekoppel aan heerlike tradisionele kos, Karoo gasvryheid en bekostigbare verblyf."

DATES TO DIARISE

Beaufort West Tourist Bureau AGM, July 25 in the old Mission Church at the Museum; Beaufort West Marathon, August 11; Prince Albert Mini-Festival, August 11; Prince Albert Tourist Bureau AGM, August 28; Laingsburg, Karoo Ultra-marathon, September 29; Laingsburg Karoofees, October 26 to 28; Prince Albert Harvest Festival, November 24; Murraysburg Sneeuberg Cycle Crawl, December 1; Prince Albert Carols by Candlelight , December 2; Prince Albert Christmas Bazaar, December 15, 2001; Prince Albert Olive Festival, April 26 to 28, 2002.

Issued by the Central Karoo District Council Municipality, P O Box X560, Beaufort West, 6970.

Cost:  R30 per annum to cover postage

Information: Rose Willis  Tel: 023-415-1160 Fax 023-414-3675    Cell: 082-926-0474

e.mail: karootour@internext.co.za or karorose@internext.co.za

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