Rose’s Round-up September-October 1999 No 72

BOER AND BRIT MEET AT BLOCKHOUSE BRAAI A century after the air was filled with gun smoke, “Boer” and “Brit” horsemen rode as comrades through Beaufort West in the Great Karoo recently to take the salute at the old blockhouse which still guards the railway line. Crowds lined the route to cheer them on their way. The British brigade, under “General” David Pickard-Cambridge, carried Union Jacks and “regimental colours”, while flags of the old Boer Republics marked the passage of the Boer Commando under “General” Piet Ellis. Tantalising smells of braaivleis wafted about and a small crowd waited in the [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 1999 No 71

BOER WAR PROMISE HONOURED An Australian serving with the British army towards the end of the Anglo-Boer War committed suicide on the outskirts of Merweville. So distressed were these Karoo townsfolk when they heard of Lieutenant Walter Oliphant Arnot's death by his own hand on April 16, 1902, that they promised "to tend his grave forever." During almost a century they never forgot. So after all this time, locals were devastated when Lt Arnot's grave was vandalised a while ago and its marble cross destroyed. While discussing repairs, the problem touched the heart of Dominee Kallie le Roux, of Wesselsbron [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 1999 No 70

BIG PLANS FOR KAROO NATIONAL PARK The ever-popular Karoo National Park has expanded again. It recently acquired an additional 12 000 ha, extending its total area to over 70 000 ha. The farm Paalhuis has already been transferred to the park. The latest acquisitions include Brandywynsgat, Berg en Dal, part of Boesmanskop and Onderklipplaatsfontein. Discussions are also in progress to spend about R6-m on improvements. These will include a variety of projects such as 10 new chalets and predator-proof fencing. “We plan to upgrade and expand our restaurant and create a ladies bar,” said manager Leighton Hare. “There are also [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 1999 No 69

GRAND DUCHESS OF KAROO GETS TOP WEBSITE Matjiesfontein, the tiny Karoo village which offers visitors a peek of Victorian England, now has one of the country’s top websites. Set up by RMC, consultants who are assisting village-owner David Rawdon with a series of upgrades, the site was hailed a winner within days of its launch. Pages were designed by Catherine Kerr-Petersen and text written by Sarah Powys, winner of this year’s Silver Loerie Award for advertising copy. RMC director Chris Yates-Smith said: “It’s more than a pretty site. It’s designed to deliver useful information to tourists and Matjiesfontein management alike.” [...]

Rose’s Round-up May 1999 No 68

LONG AGO, WHEN THE RIVERS FLOWED NORTH Once a swamp and now a semi-desert, the Great Karoo fascinates most who explore it. Many wish H G Wells’s time machine existed to take them back to explore the once vast Gondwana continent. One man who brings this ancient world to life is S A Museum palaeontologist Dr Roger Smith. He recently explained the transition from swamp to dryland to visitors at the Karoo National Park. Way back when the earth was young all the land was on the western side of the globe and the sea on the east. Gondwana was [...]

Rose’s Round-up April 1999 No 67

RENAISSANCE MAN ROBERT GORDON HONOURED Over two centuries ago Robert Jacob Gordon stood on a Karoo koppie near the Swartberg mountains and painted the tranquil scene of Qweekvallei farm in the valley below. Almost a century later a town sprang up on the farm. And now, 150 years later, that town, Prince Albert, has honoured this famous artist, naturalist, soldier and explorer by naming the koppie in his honour. A small granite slab, placed at the site where he stood, near the now popular Koppie Trail, was recently unveiled by author Patrick Cullinan, whose book, Robert Jacob Gordon, the [...]

Rose’s Round-up January 1996 No 32

ROCKS REVEAL THEIR SECRETS Ostriches, elephants, a snake and a boer soldier are among the latest Karoo rock art finds to make archaeologist Davi Morris, of Kimberley’s McGregor Museum, a happy man. He recently visited Nelspoort to insepct a series of rock drawings just discovered at Bleakhouse. While in the area, Mr Morris also discovered four rock gongs at Tierkloof. There was previously thought to be only one. The new Bleakhouse engravings were found by Johan Lund on a koppie which may have been used as alookout during the Anglo-Boer War. One engraving is thought to be of a Boer [...]

Rose’s Round-up November/December 1995 No 31

DONKEY CART RIDE TO WEDDED BLISS Just over a year ago the Prince Albert SPCA rescued a small, underfed, grey donkey. Local resident Howard Derby took pity on the little animal and offered her a home. Named Esmeralda she went into training to eventually accompany Howard and his wife, Lynne, who has a heart complaint, on walks into the mountains. She now carries the hiking and picnic gear. Before long, Esmeralda became a well-known sight in Prince Albert. So, when two Cape Townians recently bought a house in town and decided to get married there, they requested that the bridal [...]

Rose’s Round-up October 1995 No 30

FAMOUS FILM CREW VISITS KAROO A film crew of world famous Jacques Coustou Organisation recently visited the Beaufort West area to film the farming operations on Elandsfontein. There were six in the team, who worked under the guidance of producer and cameraman, John Jackson. Their focus was the fauna and flora of arid zones and life on a typcal Karoo farm. It was a hetic time for Andre, Martie and Gustav Lund. There were obvious communications difficulties – most of the crew were French speaking – but the Lunds ensured that they were shown everything from old Bushman wells to [...]

Rose’s Round-up September 1995 No 29

THE CALL OF THE KAROO A former BBC producer and Methodist lay preacher, who lived and worked in Beaufort West from 1989 and 1990, will visit the Karoo in November. He is Colin Cradock, who together with local camerman, Trevor de Kock, produced a wildlife film called The Great Karoo. “I discovered the magic of the Karoo while working on that project,” he said. “Its fascination grips you and never lets go Over the years I”ve felt it calling me to return.” Colin now plans to introduce the wonders of the Karoo to a wide range of people. He and [...]

Rose’s Round-up August 1995 No 28

OLD DROSDTY BECOMES A TOURIST MECCA Beaufort West’s stately Matoppo House, with its rich, romantic history, will now become an exclusive tourism venue. The stately old mansion, built in 1834, as a drosdty for Magistrate J J Meintjies and now a national monument, will remain almost unchanged and offer elegant private suites – one with its own swimming pool. The adjoining cottage, De Villiers House, will be transformed into five elegant en-suite rooms. Early next year building will start on several other graceful cottages, each with its own fireplace for Karoo winters. The complex will have its own dining room [...]

Rose’s Round-up July 1995 No 27

BLACK RHINO CALF MAKES HISTORY The black rhino is making a fighting comeback in the Great Karoo. After more than two centuries a black rhino has again been born in this area. This historic event has just taken place at almost the exact spot where the last black rhino in the Karoo was shot about 220 years ago. The calf, the first offspring of Ngara and Chipimbere, was born in the upper reaches of the Gamka River in the Karoo National Park, south of Beaufort West. So, it now carries the name of its birthplace – Gamka. The cow and [...]

Rose’s Round-up June 1995 No 26

CHURCHILL AND THE BOER A Sunday Times advertisement has resulted in Taffy Shearing of Beaufort West receiving a phone call from Sarah Hay, granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill. Ms Hay is researching the history of her famous ancestor and was seeking information on his time in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. Some time ago Taffy did considerable research on the war. She came across a story of a cheeky young Churchill trying to bribe a staunch Boer soldier. The Boers had captured Churchill, and Hendrik Spaarwater was ordered to take him to Pretoria. As the train steamed along young [...]

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 [...]

Rose’s Round-Up December 1994 No 22

Rose’s Round-Up December 1994 No 22 LAINGSBURG CAST AS A STAR The picturesque area around Laingsburg formed the backdrop to TV advertisement for the new Audi station wagon. “We chose this location because it’s pure magic”, said Donna van Vierden, co-ordinator for producers Peter Gird Productions in Cape Town and advertising agency Ogilvy and Mather. “The splendid and breath-taking scenery from arid, almost moonscape rocks to soft rolling green hills and the lusher vegetation of the mountains showed the vehicles off to perfection”, she added. About 21 people were involved. This included the film crew directors, as well as [...]

Rose’s Round-Up November 1994 No 21

Rose’s Round-Up November 1994 No 21 NEW CONSERVATION AND TOURISM PLAN A new “blueprint” for tourism is on the cards for tourism in the Western Cape. At the op of the agenda is the development of hinterland tourism as well as the inclusion of disadvantages communities. A two-day conference was organised at Somerset West by the Western Cape minister of Tourism and Nature Conservation, Mr Lerumo Kalako, and during this, delegates from across the province attended think tank sessions during which a wide variety of input and suggestions for restructuring were gathered. These will be studied and compiled into a [...]

Rose’s Round-Up September 1994 No 20

Rose’s Round-Up September 1994 No 20 NEW EYE ON TOURISM A tourist information centre and home craft outlet has been opened at the Engen Garage in Laingsburg. Based in a small building adjacent to the caravan park and surrounded by a tiny garden, it provides a welcome travelling break. Almost before its doors opened tourists were already calling in for information and browsing for souvenirs. The man behind the project, Keith van der Schyff, aims to offer a first-class service to tourists by supplying local products and in depth information on the town, which was once almost totally destroyed [...]

Rose’s Round-Up August 1994 No 19

MATJIESFONTEIN MUSEUM MAGNIFICENT The fascinating Marie Rawdon Museum at Matjiesfontein, one of the best private museums in South Africa, has been moved to superb premises in the old railway station building. This museum invites unhurried browsing as it rambles through several rooms, then down to the old jail cells in the basement. Its exhibits include cut glass, china, crystal, silver an intriguing array of toilet pans, chamber pots, commodes and wash basins, photographic equipment, a vast old-fashioned kitchen filled with copper pots, pans, serving dishes and even mineral water bottle from James D Logan’s factory. The Logan Sausage Manufactory’s [...]