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 Augiust 2000 No 81

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 2000 No 80

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 2000 No 79

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 2000 No 78

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. [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 2000 No 77

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up March 2000 No 76

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 1km to the graves. Most visitors were concerned about leaving their vehicles unattended so far away. Also, there was room only [...]

Rose’s Round-up February 2000 No 75

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 2000 No 74

MERWEVILLE HOPS INTO THE FROG ATLAS Besides being welcome in the Karoo to rejuvenate 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 [...]

Rose’s Round-up November 1999 No 73

STUDENT FINDS RARE FOSSIL A rare and well-preserved fossil of a Gorgonopsian was found on Leeukloof recently when Friends of the South African Museum in Cape Town visited the Beaufort West area. “What made this find exciting,” said Dr Roger Smith, head of the museum’s palaeontology department, “is that it was a good example of this ancient carnivore and included a radius, elna and fingers. Also, it was found by a student, Jennifer Botha.” The 45 enthusiastic fossil hunters spent three days in the area searching for fossils under the guidance of the Museum’s Karoo-Paleo Team which includes Paul October, [...]