A new tourist information “I” sign will soon appear on the Karoo N1. It will take its place in the modem world of travelling just south of Leeu Gamka at Rietfontein Farm Stall. And it just goes to show that the tiniest of villages can become partners in tourism. This newest Tourist Bureau in the Great Karoo represents a co-operative effort between the communities of the villages of Leeu Gamka, Merweville and. Prince Albert Road. The idea mushroomed as a result of the current special promotion of the Karoo N1 route. Hannes Botes’s farm stall was selected as headquarters as it is already a popular stop on this busy north-south route. Marietjie Marais and the team of five who run the restaurant, fresh produce, craft and wine shops, are now gathering all possible tourism information. “Enthusiastic marketers and developers support this function,” says Leeu Gamka mayor Mrs Letitia Solomons. “We are all committed to tourism. It has enormous potential and having formed a partnership with our neighbours, we will be much stronger.” The bureau’s delegate on the Central Karoo Regional Tourism Organisation is Merweville’s Jan Mocke.


Toeriste wat al Hel toe was saam met Braham van Zyl en sy Kaapse Eko-Avonture het onlangs sertifikate ontvang by geleenthede in Bellville en Die Strand. “Hierdie twee funksies was eintlik feeste van herinnering en baie het weer bespreek om ‘n tweede of derde keer saam to ry,” sê Braham. “Daar was volop besprekings vir die vier-dag toere wat op 15 en 22 September, 13, 20 en 27 Oktober, sowel as op 3 en 10 November vertrek. Hierdie reise van ervaringe deur die Klein Karoo, oor die Swartbergpas tot in Gamkaskloof, Die Hel, dan oor die Elandspad tot in Prins Albert en al langs die N1 terug Kaap toe, is uiters gewild.”


On the way back from an auction at Fraserburg, two Beaufort Westers, Pieter Nortier and Corris van Zyl, rescued a badly injured Cape Eagle Owl, rushed it to town and called Martin von Kuschke, of the Karoo National Park, for help. He said: “The owl was probably side-swiped by a car and both legs were broken. It was also severely stressed. We rushed the bird to the Park for attention and also called animal rehabilitation expert Margo Wilke for advice. She said there was little chance of it ever recovering sufficiently to hunt again. It would have probably spent the rest of its life on a perch, so we were not too sad when it died.” Seldom seen, the beautiful Cape Eagle Owl appears on the logo of the Central Karoo RTO. The bird was chosen “to show the wisdom of visiting the Great Karoo, land of mystery, magic and enchantment.”


A slip of a barefoot Karoo girl recently ran her way into the hearts of sports-loving South Africans. Even the Western Cape Minister of Sport and Recreation afterwards visited her home town in the Great Karoo. Ragel van Wyk (14), a Std 5 pupil at Leeu Gamka Primary school made front page headlines in the Cape Times when she won all the national schools and cross country titles in her class. According to the newspaper she achieved this running barefoot as she could not afford shoes. The story touched hearts and donations poured in. WCP Minister of Sport, Mr Lerumo Kalako, decided to visit Leeu Gamka to hand her congratulations and donations. A full series of tests will now be conducted on her by the Sports and Science Institute of South Africa’s Outreach and Development Programme.


Prince Albert se Toerisme Indaba en Jaarvergadering was ‘n groot sukses. “Die opkoms was goed en ons was verheug om te sien hoe baie nuwe intrekkers dit bygewoon het. Hulle belangstelling in die dorp is vir ons ‘n riem onder die hart,” sê Dawid Rossouw. Die buro se visie is “Om die wonder te deel”, “To share the magic”, en dit is saam met hul missie tydens ‘n “SWOT”-analiese uitgewerk. Bemarkings- en ontwikkelingskomitee-lede is benoem en hulle voorsitters, Claudie Lemoine (Ontwikkeling) en Elaine Hurford (Bemarking), dien saam met Johan Mulder, oorgangsraadslid, David Rossouw, ondervoorsitter, en Andrew Tudhope, voorsitter, op die uitvoerende komitee.


The importance of effective tourism development in the Western Cape Province was

highlighted at a recent Provincial Development Council meeting. Tourism was recognised as a vital infrastructure and economy booster as well as a major job-creator, particularly in rural areas. All specialist committees were requested to work closely with the Tourism Committee, which was asked not to loose sight of the value of the local market. The importance of keeping costs of visiting local attractions within the reach of the domestic market was stressed. Siva Moodley of the Cape Metro RDC was elected chairman of the Tourist Committee and, Rose Willis of the Central Karoo District Council, deputy chairman.


By Gannakraal Gasteplaas aan die voet van die berge in die Kromrivier area naby Drie Susters kan toeriste nou die Karoo van gister beleef. In die ou Poppehuis wag daar ‘n gastekamertjie met al die stemming van toeka se dae. Daar is ‘n groot katel met snoesige duvets en dekens, ‘n konvoortjie, kerse en in hierdie tye ‘n kom en beker om in te was. “Daar is nie elektrisiteit nie en om hier te oomag is ‘n belewenis wat stadsmense uiters geniet,” se gasvrou Kobie Jeppe. “Die kamer is naby aan die skaapkrale en windpompe en die geblêr en gedreun dra by tot die atmosfeer.” By Gannakraal is daar ook verblyf in die ou plaashuis.


Publisher of the soon-to-appear book on James Logan, Laird of Matjiesfontein, has a long-ago link with the little village. Many years ago Pat Harper made pottery for the Matjiesfontein coffee and curio shop and her pouter pigeon pairs were top sellers. Now she and her son own Mallard, the Cape Town company that is to publish “James Douglas Logan – His Life and Times – A Matjiesfontein Chronicle.” Author Bob Tom’s interest in this dynamic man dates back to 1984 when he was commissioned to handle the centenary promotions for the village.


An excellent response greeted the recent Round-up story stating that the Kung had lived in the Karoo from the time of Christ. Dr Cyril Hromnik, author of the piece, was delighted, but feels that in certain respects Round-up fails its readers. He writes: “I am glad to hear your readers were so enthusiastic about my comments on the Kung. What a pity you have no courage to use the historical names Kung and Quena and perhaps Kung-Quena (for all of them together), rather than the history-distorting Khoi and San. The Coloured people of the Karoo and elsewhere are searching for their roots, but you are not helping them to find these when you ascribe fictitious or abusive names to their ancestors. That orthodox archaeologists in S A use these pseudo names is no excuse. Don’t you want to bring the true life back to the veins of the old Karoo? How would your readers like it if you started referring to the trekboere as `picannins?’ I would hate to have this kind of root. I feel you are doing a very good job for the Karoo, but you are failing its original inhabitants.”


Geoloog Johan Loock se as ‘n mens van “boesmans” praat moet asseblief nie “San” gebruik nie. Dit was die naam wat die Khoikhoi (Hottentotte) gebruik het om hulle sleg to se. “San” beteken “strydrower”, “skurk”, “vabond”, en “vagebond”. Die “boesmans” wat in die Karoo geleef het was die /Xam. Die Hottentotte self is so genoem deur die Hollandse soldate omdat hulle “hotten-totten-totten” geluide gesing het terwyl hulle gedans het.


Professor Tony Traill of the Department of Linguistics at the University of the Witwatersrand agrees on the name /Xam for Bushmen who lived in the Karoo. He says: “The Karoo San were the /Xam and it is acceptable to refer to them by this name. The addition of ‘San” is really unnecessary unless to emphasise that one is dealing with San as opposed to Khoikhoi groups.” Professor Traill has also joined the naming game for the black rhino calf at the Karoo National park. He says: “According to D R Bleek’s ‘A Bushman Dictionary’, the /Xam word for rhinoceros was //Xwagan. The // is the lateral click as in Xhosa and the ‘x’ is the guttural ‘g’ sound as used in ‘gam’ in Afrikaans. The last ‘a’ is pronounced like the vowel in ‘sit’ in English.” Despite it sounding a confusing mouthful, the name could be pronounced like “Gwagen” in Afrikaans, but Professor Trail insisted it must start with a lateral click. He adds: “Bleek also records the form //Koin for rhinoceros, but flags it as an ‘early’ word found by her father. So perhaps ‘Gamka’s’ sibling would be happy with ‘//Xwagan.” An old Karoo cynic suggested forgetting the denture-shakers and calling the little creature “Rambo” or something. “A name most of us can get to grips with!”


The Anglo-Boer War Expo, held in Kimberley last year, was such a success that organiser Steve Lunderstedt has decided to make it an annual event. It will be held again from October 8 to I I. A special exhibition hall with displays by tour operators and museums will be open to the public from 10h00 to 21h00. There will be tours to the battlefields in the Kimberley area and a series of lectures. The Karoo will be covered by Belinda Gordon’s talk on Colesberg diaries and Rose Willis will discuss the tourism aspects of the centenary through the Karoo to Deelfontein, once the largest military hospital in the Colony. The War Graves Division of the National Monuments Council has elected Miss Willis to serve on the National Anglo-Boer War Centenary Co-ordinating Committee.


The Karoo N1 promotional campaign has swiftly developed into a powerful marketing tool. It has proved the power of linking hands in tourism and has already gained wide support in the Press. A special brochure, scheduled for completion this month, will soon help market this “Highway of Discovery.”


Die Rapportryersvereniging van Colesberg het inligtingsbeampte Belinda Gordon vereer vir haar inisiatief in die bemarking van die Karoo N1 roete en die leidende rol wat sy in die promovering van die dorp speel. ‘n Ere erkenning is tydens ‘n dinee aan haar oorhandig deur voorsitter Fanie Slabbert. “Sy is nie net die kuratriese van die museum nie, maar dien op heelwat kultuur historiese komitees en hanteer alle versoeke vir inligting en akkommodasie. Die nuwe N1 bemarkings-inisiatief sal baie beteken vir die deel van die Karoo.”


There’s an ancient, dilapidated, metal-lined trunk at Nelspoort that conceals quite a story. After the Boer War, the Secretary for War in Pretoria, Louis de Souza, gave the trunk to his son, Dr C W L de Souza, who at one time was on the medical staff at the Nelspoort Sanatorium. Then, as part of the De Souza family baggage, the trunk travelled around South Africa for many years, but was never opened. In 1950, Dr De Souza decided to open it, not easy as the ancient lock had rusted almost solid. Eventually a locksmith’s expertise revealed “a treasure of Boer War documents”, mostly telegrams, all highly secret in their day. This led Dr De Souza to compile a book, “No Charge for Delivery”. The title was inspired by a Post Office messenger who, every time he handed over a telegram, uttered: “No charge for delivery.” But he stood his ground waiting for a tip. This old “rapscallion” was so well known and liked that sculptor Anton van Wouw preserved his memory in bronze. Later on, Dr De Souza, who died in 1967, gave the trunk to Mr J Brits, senior farm manager at Nelspoort.


Dis weer tyd vir Laingsburg se 80km Karoo Maraton. Hierdie ultra-maraton is baie gewild onder langafstand hardlopers en jaarliks neem sowat 500 atlete deel. Die roete strek vanaf Laingsburg langs die teerpad tot op Matjiesfontein, dan op die grondpad tot by Dwars-in-die-Bos en dan terug Laingsburg toe langs die Sutherland grondpad. Die roete loop deur ‘n asemrowende deel van die Karoo en is so uitdagend dat almal wat die wedloop voltooi ‘n medalje lay.


The South African Museum is searching for more information about a quagga skin sent to it at the turn of the century by a Mr Dale of Kampherskraal, in Nelspoort, today the home of Louis Reynolds. Museum staff recently restored and remounted the skin and appealed for more information on Mr Dale. This is just one instance of the many Karoo farmers who in the last century sent specimens to the museum. In an 1859 monthly report the curator, Mr E L Layard, wrote: “Mr A V Jackson of Nelspoort has sent us a remarkably fine fuscus hyaena which he says is the biggest he has ever seen. He states that he has killed more than 26 of these animals and has never seen one approaching this one in size. He has likewise sent us a specimen of a black vulture and referred to it as ”the L’Ouricon of the explorer and naturalist Le Vaillant”. These were received with several other useful additions.”