Rose’s Round-Up February 2002 No 97

MAJOR FOSSIL FIND AT LAINGSBURG Ancient marine sediments of the Ecca Group rock layer near Laingsburg recently yielded an exciting surprise for geologists and palaeontologists working in the area. British palaeontologist Dr John Almond, of Nature Viva cc, discovered the fossil trackway of a gigantic water scorpion (eurypterid) in these 260-million-year-old rocks "This spectacular trace fossil consists of two parallel series of complex footprints. It is about one meter wide and seven meters in length, extending across the surface of a single bed. As such it is the largest trackway of an invertebrate (animal without backbone or other bony internal [...]

Rose’s Round-Up January 2002 No 96

NEW MINISTER NO STRANGER TO KAROO A man with strong hinterland ties has taken over the tourism helm in the Western Cape Province. Johan Gelderblom, former chairman of the Klein Karoo District Council and MP for the region, was appointed Minister of Agriculture, Tourism and Gambling on December 5, 2001. He replaced Mr Leon Marcowitz. Mr Gelderblom grew up in the Klein Karoo, matriculated at Ladismith and then acquired BA and BA Honours degrees in Public Administration at Stellenbosch University. After graduating, he moved to the then Transvaal to gain practical experience. There he also served on the Public Service [...]

Rose’s Round-Up November-December 2001 No 95

Rose’s Round-Up November-December 2001 No 95 CLOSER LOOK AT TOWNSHIP TOURISM Four members of the Mandlenkosi Township Route Forum of Beaufort West recently had an enriching tourism experience in Cape Town. A two-day educational trip, arranged by Western Cape Tourism Board, allowed Sylvia Dyum, Sylvia McKam, Keith Kedama and Clarence Metsing to take a closer look at tourism and meet people involved in township tourism promotion in the province. “Networking with organisations similar to our own has shown us that our problems are neither unique nor insurmountable”, says Sylvia Dyum. “We have gained a much wider perspective of tourism, a [...]

Rose’s Round-Up October 2001 No 94

KAROO PLANS SECOND TOWNSHIP ROUTE Residents of Prince Albert’s North End township have begun planning a tourist route. This follows the successful launch of the Kwa-Mandlenkosi Township Tourist Route in Beaufort West. “We have long wanted to share our history and culture with visitors to the town”, says Ds Cyril Afrika, chairman of the town’s development committee. “We plan to incorporate this route into existing tourist routes and trails in and around the town. We would like to introduce visitors to our talented crafters, invite them to spend a night or two in a North End B&B and to listen [...]

Rose’s Round-Up September 2001 No 93

BOER COMMANDANT HONOURED A century to the day after his capture near Prince Albert local Boer War enthusiasts honoured legendary Boer Commandant Gideon Scheepers. A memorial commemorating the 100th anniversary of Scheepers’s capture on Koppieskraal October 10, 1901, was unveilled by Rienus Koorts, grandson of the man who sheltered Scheepers. “This dynamic and controversial young Boer leader led British forces a merry chase across the plains of the Karoo”, said Lydia Barella, one of the organisers of the function. “Towards the end he became increasingly ill. This eventually led to his capture in a tiny room in one of the [...]

Rose’s Round-Up August 2002 No 103

IT'S HIGH NOON FOR THE RIVERINE RABBIT The odds are stacked against the riverine rabbit surviving another 10 years. It recently became South Africa’s most endangered mammal when its conservation status was raised to critical. "Its survival appears even more desperate than we previously believed," says Cape Nature Conservation researcher Chrizette Kleinhans. "These furry-footed little leaf-eaters, among the world's rarest animals, will disappear from the face of the earth within a decade unless drastic steps are immediately taken." The riverine rabbit is indigenous to the Central Karoo and found only in Beaufort West, Loxton, Carnarvon, Calvinia, Sutherland, Victoria West and [...]

Rose’s Round-Up August 2001 No 92

RIVERINE RABBIT MEETS THE PRESS The Riverine Rabbit Conservation Project was recently introduced to the media at Kirstenbosch. At this function members of each conservancy received a certificate of registration. “The aim of the launch was to raise awareness of the plight of this nocturnal animal and gain publicity for farmers committed to the survival of the species. The riverine rabbit is Africa’s only indigenous burrowing rabbit and one of 12 globally endangered rabbit species”, said Tony Marshall, regional manager Cape Nature Conservation. “Saving the species from extinction is extremely difficult because the rabbit’s natural habitat does not fall within [...]

Rose’s Round-Up July 2001 No 91

ALBERT’S MILL COMES BACK TO LIFE On a windy winter’s day recently, a group of people alongside a stream on the outskirts of Prince Albert enthusiastically discussed a lady, a launder and a lantern. The Friends of Albert’s Mill were in fact taking a serious look at restoration work in progress on the last surviving mill in town. The uninitiated soon discovered that the strange terms all referred to parts of a mill. In its heyday, Albert’s Mill was no rarity what with four others in the village. But it was closest to the Swartberg Mountains. The mill once supplied [...]

Rose’s Round-Up June 2001 No 90

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 [...]

Roses’ Round-Up May 2001 No 89

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 [...]

Roses’ Round-Up April 2001 No 88

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up March 2001 No 87

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 evaluated 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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up February 2001 No 86

Rose’s Round-Up February 2001 No 86 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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up January 2001 No 85

Rose's Round-Up January 2001 No 85 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, [...]

Rose’s Round-Up November-December 2000 No 84

Rose's Round-Up November-December 2000 No 84 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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up October 2000 No 83

TEMPLE OF THE DEAD DISCOVERED Quena shrines, a temple of the dead and a sophisticated astronomical observatory have been discovered near Murraysburg. The man behind these archaeological finds is Dr Cyril Hromnik, who recently visited the Karoo to discuss them. “Much needs to be done to reverse the academic neglect of the Great Karoo in recent decades,” says Dr Hromnik. “Hottentots in the history of the Karoo are all too often ignored, simply as if they did not matter. Yet the Otentottu or Quena people were culturally, religiously, economically and technologically more advanced than the Stone Age Kung or [...]

Rose’s Round-Up September 2000 No 82

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up April 1995 No 25

Rose’s Round-Up April 1995 No 25 POET’S SECRET LOVE The memory of beautiful Helena de Vries, said to have been the secret love of South African poet, C J Langenhoven, still lingers at the farm Gideonshoop, near Klaarstroom. She was born in Prince Albert in 1872 and lived at Mirtle Grove, a house now known as Mirtlehof. While studying at Bloemhof Seminary in the late 1890s, she was introduced to “Petite”, as Langenhoven was known because of his small stature. Some believed it was love at first sight. The couple soon became engaged, but this lasted for two years. Her [...]

Rose’s Round-Up March 1995 No 24

Rose’s Round-Up March 1995 No 24 NUWEVELD ON THE NORTH SEA A painting of the Nuweveld Mountains at Beaufort West has pride of place in a Scheveningen flat on the north coast of Holland. It shows the sunbaked southern slopes and thorn tree doted Karoo plains. Is owner, Dr B Wollgiehn, calls himself a keen “Karoophile”. The area’s transformation from swamp to arid zone, it’s fossils, geology, fauna, and flora fascinate him. “I agree with scientists who call the Karoo a wonder of the world. To me it is the epitome of timelessness and tranquility. Its air of ancient mystery [...]

Rose’s Round-Up February 1995 No 23

Rose’s Round-Up February 1995 No 23 REDISCOVERED ROUTES OF OLD The original route from Beaufort West to the plateau of the Nuweveld Mountains has been rediscovered. Originally built in the mid-1830s by farmers, such as Pieter Jacobs of Slangefontein, it linked isolated farms, like Bokkekraal, to the town. The route, which once was a footpath, and which in time was used by horses and wagons, is in the Karoo National Park. According to manager Dries Engelbrecht, it is ideally situated to become part of a new section of the park’s 4 x 4 route. This route at the park is [...]