The Karoo National Park is one of the finalists in the A A Travel Guide’s Resort of the Year Competition. It was the only nature reserve in the Western Cape Province to be nominated and the only venue in the Great Karoo. Winners will be announced at a function in Johannesburg on April 18. The park was also nominated last year in the Game and Nature Reserve category and came second. Western Cape resorts featured well in this year’s nominations – 21 were among the 56 venues nominated in 11 categories. The Karoo National park remains one of the top venues of the region. Its occupancy for March was 92 per cent. Figures throughout December and January were just below 90 per cent. and in February the Park was just on SO percent full. Bookings for April are excellent, said camp manager, Fanie van Tonder.


Besoekers aan Prins Albert se Fransie Pienaar Museum kan ook nou sommer dear oornag. Reg langs die museum is ‘n woonstel wat voorheen as winkel en kantoor gebruik was. Omdat daar so ‘n groot aanvraag vir akkomaodasie in die dorp is, is daar onlangs besluit om die eenslaapkamer woonstel beskIkbaar to stel as ‘n self-versorgende eenheid vir toeriste. Die woonstel het ‘n ruie sit-en-eetkamer en ‘n klein kombuis.


Beaufort West Fleur Garden Club has been honoured by the Western Cape Association of Flower Arrangers. A tribute to the high calibre of arrangements at the Fleur Rose Day appears in the Association’s 1996 Year Book, reports Liz Hood, a keen member and “a part-time Beaufort Wester.” She and journalist husband Tom recently converted a garage in Voortrekker Street to an unusual little house to stay in on periodic visits to the Karoo. Liz is to represent South Africa at an international flower show and competition in Genoa, Italy. She has entered the Past and Present Architecture Section, and looks forward to portraying this in flowers.


Arnold Hutchinson, van Beaufort-Wes, het ‘n aantal van sy eie gedigte by die onlangse Klein Karoo Kunstefees in Oudtshoorn voorgelees. Die optrede was in silhoeët agter ‘n skerm gedoen. Tydens die optrede was skyfies vertoon en musiek gespeel. Een van die musiekstukke was Die Beaufort-Wes Wals wat tussen 1909 en 1912 deur blinde koaponis ‘Koot’ Pienaar geskryf is. Beaufort-Wes musiek onderwyseres, Ria van der Heever, het dit gespeel en dit vir mnr Hutchinson op band opgeneem.


‘The Western Cape Province is tourism in a nutshell. We meet every need from pampered luxury to basic budget. We have sun, sea and surf, lakes. mountains, forests and deserts. We cater for nature lovers, 4 x 4 enthusiasts, hunters, hikers and birders. Specialist routes cover fossils, whales, arts and antiques. We cater for the ultra-modern as well as for the history buffs and, no matter what the weather, there’s always somewhere pleasant.’ So said Dr Ernst Uken, chairman of the Western Cape Tourism Board, at a Media Workshop at Du Toitskloof Resort recently. “We must take hands, be partners in tourism, learn more of each other’s regions and share the magic. Tourism is our best export. Tourists take experiences with them – we must ensure these are good.”


Toerisme het groot aandag geniet by ‘n werkswinkel oor die daarstelling van n Provinsiale Ontwikkellingsraad wat onlangs by die Cumberland Hotel in Worcester gehou is. Voorstelle dat die Sentrale Karoo en Klein Karoo streke as een gebied beskou meet word is verwerp, maar die streke net ingestem om saam te werk, veral met die bevordering van toerisme. Afgevaardigdes van die Sentrale Karoo, Rose Willis, Gerrit van Zyl, Jan Mocke, Elize Visser en Henry Savat, net die belangrikheid van die streek onderstreep en ‘n 12-bladsy dokument is ingedien as motivering vir die onafhanklikheid van die streek. Dit is aanvaar en die twee streke is getaak om Provinsiale Ontwikkelingskomitees so gou moontlik te stig. ‘n Vergadering is al gehou om komitees te benoem.


Earlier this year the Regional Services Tourism Office took advantage of special rates and placed a series of promotional advertisements in a British travel publication. A contract for 36 small 4 x 4 cm spots was signed and response has been good. In addition to many enquiries, several bookings can be directly attributed to the first advertisement.


Die vraag na goeie sekondere toerisme-produkte Is bale groot, se Fred Fehrsen, voorsitter van die Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad Ontwikkelingskomitee. Die komitee beoog dus om ‘n brosjure – Great Cape Country Escapes -saam te stel om alle sekondere plekke saam te vat vir bekendstelling aan toeroperateurs. Inligting sal in kategoriee verdeel word: natuur, avontuur- en eko-toerisme, kuns, kultuur en handvaardigheid. Alle inligting oor nuwe en bestaande plekke sal in die brosjure verskyn.


An interactive, participatory tourism teaching project – based on LAC (learning across the curriculum) – is to be tested in the Western Cape Province. Designed to promote tourism awareness among school children, and based on a three-tiered approach aimed at creating a tourism culture, it was developed by TANK, the Tourism Association of Kwa-Zulu Natal. The Development Committee of the Western Cape Tourism Board is sponsoring the pilot project at selected Standard One classes in this province. A H Barnard School in Beaufort West has been selected for the test in the Central Karoo, and will take part in this fun learning programme, entitled Sunshine, Travel and Learning Time. The project is hailed as one of the most exciting yet seen in the country.


Murraysburq Mensfees, Die Karoo Jol van die Jaar, word vanaf 19 tot 21 April gehou, en kort op sy hakke is die Prins Albert Olyfees – venaf 1 tot 5 Mei. Hierdie is twee van die gewildste feeste in die Karoo. Albei is gebasseer op egte plattelandse gasvryheid, met iets vir almal, van n maraton tot smaaklike etes en kuns-stalletjies.


There was a gathering of the clan – the De Villiers Clan – in Beaufort West recently. This historic occasion at Matoppo Country Inn, to which seven grandchildren of old Ryk Daantiie de Villiers were Invited for lunch, was an unforgettable experience for the family. Ryk Daantjie in his day owned a vast part of the Karoo around Beaufort West. He married the daughter of J J Meintjies, the magistrate who built Matoppo House and used it as an official residence. His first wife died young, after which he married Elizabeth Meiring of Worcester. These grandchildren, all related by the second Marriage, were Ron de Villiers, Pearly, her brother Ken and sister Ruby de Villiers, as well as the latter’s husband Piet de Villiers. Then there was Joan Pienaar and her brother Rev Paul de Villiers. They were enchanted by the house, now part of a three-star venue, and captivated by its elegant furnishings and gardens. Their grandfather was a flamboyant and gregarious character, a legend in the early Karoo. They agreed he would have loved seeing his home so beautifully appointed and filled with visitors. “He loved people and entertaining,” said Pearly. “This would have delighted him.”


Ses Nederlandse en Flaamse digters sal binnekort seam met Dr John Kannemeyer die voetspore van Langenhoven, ‘n reIs van Afrikaans¢ letterkunde, deur die Groot Karoo volg. Dr Kannemeyer is onlangs die Becht Malan Prys vir sy 720-bladsy biografie van “Langenhoven ‘n Lewe,” toegeken. Hy neem die digters wat alma tydens die Klein Karoo Kunstefees en daarna by “Poetry International” in Gauteng gaan opgetree, op ‘n spesiale rit deur Meiringspoort om die Herrieklip en waterval to besigtig. Daarna besoek hullo Gideonshoop en Ann Muller, skoondogter van Langenhoven se geheime eerste liefde, en die Swartbergpas.


Most people, probably the superstitious ones, who visit Juriesfontein toss a pebble onto a heap of stones along the old post route – just for luck. This pile of stones is shrouded In mystery, and guests just can’t resist it, explains Rosemary Pienaar. Research has shown that many early tribes tossed pebbles on to such heaps to ward off evil spirits along their route. Bushmen, known for their superstitions and strange beliefs, tossed an extra stone onto any grave they passed out of respect for the dead. They would also not cast a shadow on a dying animal for fear of evil befalling them and traditionally they saluted the bravery of any animal they hunted and killed. Those who enjoy the Karoo night skies will be amused to learn that Bushmen thought of the moon as a piece of hide flung into the sky and stars crumbs of food scattered into the night.


Die William Quinton Wi/devollIvereniging gaan op 2O April besoek aflê by Hallandale, ‘n gasteplaas wat gewild is ender voeltiie-liefbebbers. Organiseerder, Hansie van der Westhuizen, sê daar is ‘n magdom van voëls in die Kromriviergebied wat dit baie gewild maak onder voëlkenners. Ander uitstappies wat deur die Wildevoelvereniging gereel word is ‘n besoek aan die Kullsriviergebied on 18 Mei en winterwatervoëltellings by Beaufort-Wes Voëlreservaat op 20 en 27 Julie.


Gideon Fagan totally captured the subtlely shifting moods of the Karoo in a symphony. A renowned conductor, his inspiration came from his brother Johannes Jacobus, a talented musician and composer who died at the age of 22. Gideon used one of his brother’s sketches as a theme for an impressive tone poem, recorded together with the Karoo Symphony. Their eldest brother was Henry Fagan, judge, author and politician.


The Karoo National Park is creating a Touch Museum at the Old Schuur. This tourism education project is closely tied to the park’s policy of community involvement. Zuilega Rossouw, the park’s new socio-ecologist, has discussed the project with all schools in Beaufort West and it was enthusiastically received. Each school will select five pupils and two adults (not necessarily teachers) to take part in the project, which kicks off with a “Groot Makietie’ on April 1S. The project is based on developing research, planning, information gathering and communications skills. Participants will be taught how to use a library correctly, how to prepare background and display material, as well as how to write a brochure with relevant bibliography. It is a non-competitive tourism development project which will give full credit to all participants.


Sian Hall is nog op die spoor van spoke in die Karoo. Na ons haar soektog aangekondig het in Round-Up het heelwat nuwe spookstories te voorskyn gekom. ‘n France besoeker by Lemoenfontein naby Beaufort-Wes het onlangs ‘n pragtige vrou In ‘n lang

Victoriaanse rok ult die hook van sy oog gesien, maar toe hy omdraai om to vra hoekom sy so aangetrek is, het sy verdwyn. En, daar word ook vertel van snorkende perde wat tussen Beaufort-Wes en Leeu Ganders jaag on mense te waarsku van problems op die pad. Daar is ook stories van ‘Die Dog’ en die wandelende Jood en ander van Matjiesfontein. Mej Hall is so verheug met die stories dat sy beplan om te kom kuier en verdere navorsing hier to doen.


A search for his ancestors has led Rodney Spratley of Southhampton, England, to Beaufort West. He was seeking Information on a distant relative, Ernest Richard Woody Spratley, who died there in 1B98. Research revealed that Ernest, who was born in Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England, on September 3, 1867, qualified as a doctor. He did a great deal of work among Irish immigrants in Liverpool and consumptives at his father’s practice in Birkenhead, and eventually contracted the disease. It greatly weakened him, so when he heard of the “miracle curative powers of Karoo air’ he decided to come to Africa to “cure and be cured”. He and his wife, Honor Mary Shannon, sailed for Cape Town in 1898. Together they undertook the arduous journey into the hot, dry interior. In Beaufort West he joined the local doctor and worked in town, at LemoenfOntein and Dunedin. Sadly, a cure was not to be his. Shortly after his arrival he took ill at Dunedin and died. He was buried from Christ Church by the rector, the Rev Guy Gething, in April, 1898. Shortly afterwards Honor returned to England.


Een van die eerste gaste wat by Matoppo Country Inn in Desember oorgebly het was Ray Kedian en sy vrou, Collette. Hulle was so belndruk met die gastehuis, personeel en diens, dat hulle daar en dan besluit het om dit hulle “permanents oorbly plek in die Karoo te maak.’ Omdat hulle verlief geraak op hulle kamer het hulle reelings getref om n bordiie agter die deur aan te bring om ander wat daar bly te vertel van die °goeie diens wet hulle ondervind het. ‘Deesdae is die gehalte van diens by hotelle dikwels ‘n top besprekingspunt omdat dit swak is,’ sê mnr Kedian. ‘Omdat ons ondervinding so goed was het ons besluit om erkenning te verleen deur ‘n geelkoperbordjie agter ‘ons’ kamer deur te laat opsit sodat almal wat daar bly kan sien hoe beindruk ons was.” Marius Bergh, bestuurder van Matoppo Country Inn, vertel dat die Kedians spesiaal na Beaufort-Wes teruggekeer het, van ‘n vakansie in die Oos-Keep, om personnlik die bordjie te kom vassit en nog ‘n paar dae in die Karoo te geniet.