ZDRAVSTVOEITE ANDRE KONSTANTINOVITCH
It’s not a typo – “Zdravstvoeite “– actually means “Good day, Hello” in Russian. This is how the Karoo greeted and welcomed Professor Andre Konstantinovitch Ignatinko, head of Afrikaans at Moscow University. For the past three years he has been a lecturer at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein, and now, before he returns to Russia, he wanted to show his wife, Larisa, and his little six-year old daughter, Katje, more of South Africa. On the way to Cape Town they stopped off in the Karoo. They were accompanied by Miss Estelle, Marais, also from Bloemfontein, and they are going to spend a short while in Beaufort West to learn more of the Karoo. One of the stops they thoroughly enjoyed in this area was a short stay on Elandsfontein, the guest farm belonging to Andre and Martie Lund. Here they took time to explore the veld and mountains, learning more of the Karoo’s fauna and flora and enjoying some truly tasty local dishes.
ARE YOUR BOOTS MADE FOR WALKIN’?
With the growing interest in hiking many people are finding that their boots are made for walking and they are enjoying becoming better acquainted with outdoor life in areas such as the Karoo,.. So says Professor Leon Hugo, one of South Africa’s foremost authorities on hiking. He will visit Beaufort West on January, 6, to deliver a talk on the development and marketing of hiking trails. During this talk, which will be supported by slides, he will discuss the various available subsidies and grants, as well as accommodation and accreditation requirements of the S A Hiking Federation.
TIME FOR ‘BOERESPORT’ AGAIN
It’s time for “Boeresport” again in Loxton. This happens each December, when people of the Central Karoo look forward to a special, traditional Boeresport Day organized by the promoters of this village. They will not be disappointed this year. This day, which always turns out to be great fun, will be held on December 11. There will be volley ball and tug of war competitions, ‘n series of suikerkaskinades, such as three-legged and egg and spoon races, as well as horse and donkey cart rides. And, food will not be forgotten. A wide of range of tasty treats will also be on offer. This promises to be a fun-filled day for the young as well as the young at heart. The day will be rounded off with a barn dance at Biesiespoort, the home of Hentie and Donsie Wiese. It is only 3km from town.
DREAM COME TRUE
Many people visit Roy Oosthuizen’s world famous fossil museum on his farm Zwartskraal, near Klaarstroom Mostly they are lay people who are fascinated by fossils. Sometimes they are academics such as Professor John Almond. During his recent visit he found that Roy had a great deal of information on the invertebrates that inhabited the earth about 250-million years ago. He and Roy are now collaborating on a paper. Roy said: “It’s like a dream come true. In the 30 years that I have been studying these fossils, I have never found anyone who shared my interest.”
North and South Hotel, at Prince Albert Road is organizing a Boerewors Braai Competition and story-telling evening to close the holiday season off on a cheery note and to begin the new year on a festive one. The occasion is planned for January 15 and the aim is to establish just who makes the best wors in the Karoo. All butchers, as well as people who make their own wors from family or traditional recipes, are invited to enter While people gather round the braai fires, and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine as they wait for the coals to reach perfection, they will be entertained by some well-known local storytellers.
KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
A recent caller from Pretoria pointed out that some accommodation establishments advertise themselves a guest houses, but do not serve a meal. So, for those who are interested we called SATOUR for a definition. They informed us that a guest house, country house or lodge is an owner managed commercial undertaking without a bar that has as its primary business the supply of tourist accommodation. It must serve at least one meal a day and this can be breakfast. Bed and breakfast establishments, come commonly known as B&Bs, are secondary, informal, irregular accommodation operations, mostly under taken from private dwellings and offering exactly what they state – bed and breakfast. You may argue “what’s in a name,’ but take care not to advertise what you are not delivering.
OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION IN THE HELL
A farm-house is being made available to those who would like to spend a night or more in the Hell, Gamkaskloof. It has 10 beds and the house is fully equipped with furniture, cutlery and crockery. It has a gas fridge, gas stove, bathroom and flushing toilet. All that visitors need to bring is their own linen and towels, or sleeping bags. The cost is R100 per day for 10 or fewer people. Zanie van der Walt, an employee of the Department of Forestry and a resident of Gamkaskloof is the contact person.
IN SEARCH OF AN OLD SOLDIER.
Private Calver is lost. He was killed during the Anglo-Boer War and his grave was last seen in June, l954 when it was reported to be in fair condition. According to the British War Graves Records Section at the National Monuments Council in Pretoria, Private Calver was buried in the Prince Albert Road cemetery, but the problem is that no one knows where this is. At the moment Ronnie Joubert, of the North and South Hotel, at Prince Albert Road, his family and some local farmers are conducting a search for Private Calver. He may have been dead for almost 100 years, but he is now becoming quite well-known in the area.
HOTEL ON WHEELS BRINGS GERMANS TO THE KAROO
Throughout the summer months, Rotel, (short for Rolling Hotel Bus Group), brings between 20 to 40 Germans through the Karoo on a monthly basis. One of their favorite overnight places in Beaufort West is the Caravan Park. There the say they can relax and enjoy their first real taste of a South African braai. The organisers say that generally Germans are very eco-conscious, “They enjoy South Africa and are greatly interested in the fauna and flora, mountains and plains, particularly of the Karoo region. The unique smell of the Karoo bushes, in particular, intrigues them,” said the tour group leader. We thus make sure that we arrive in Beaufort West early enough for enthusiasts to visit the Karoo National Park where they can enjoy a walk in the veld.”
LUXURY ROOMS OPEN AT TRAVALIA
There are now large, spacious, air-conditioned, luxury suites at the ever-popular Three Sisters stopover, Travalia. These have been built and furnished to meet the needs of a specific up-market tourism market sector, says owner, Callie Herholdt. He and his wife, Marieka, have many years of experience in the tourism industry in the Karoo. “We continuously monitor the needs of the market and our research revealed that there was a demand for this type of top class, upmarket tourist accommodation. We decided to build the suites and have them ready for the festive season. We are delighted to find that already they are already heavily booked.
NOTE: For those who are interested Travalia also has a hiking trail. It crosses two farms and passes through picturesque hills and beautiful scenery
LIGHTS FOR THE CHRISTMAS SEASON
Richmond plans to festoon its streets and rose garden with colourful Christmas lights. These will be switched on on December 3. “The rose garden and war memorial area are particularly popular with tourists, who overnight in the village,”said town clerk, Johan van Wyk. Visitors thoroughly enjoy walking round this little park and relaxing on the shady benches or lawns after a long car trip,’ he added.
KAROO FARM BECOMES A NATIONAL HERITAGE SITE
Tierberg, Harold Wright’s beautiful farm in the Prince Albert district, has just been declared a National Heritage site. It is farmed by his son-in-law, Piet van Wyk, who says: “This area is very special. There is so much natural and scenic beauty here that we felt it has to be preserved and shared There are also some very interesting Bushmen petroglyths and other artifacts on Tierberg. So much interest has been expressed in this area that we will be opening a hiking trail next year. It will be professionally planned and mapped out with the help of Professor Leon Hugo, a top authority in this field so as to ensure that it fully meets all the requirements of the S A Hiking Federation.
RICHMOND ‘CAN GO TO THE PICTURES’ AGAIN.
Richmond is to get a “movie theatre” or what locals refer to as a “bioscope” again after being without one for over 30 years. Films will once again be shown on a regular basis in the town hall. The mayor Mr Schalk Conradie has worked long and hard to make this project a reality and to acquire the necessary equipment on which to show films. In the end he was delighted with his success. He now aims to kick off the shows with one of the old South African classic movies, that was filmed in this area, on the opening night.
MAJOR AIDS AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
The Regional Services Council clinic staff launched a major weeklong Aids awareness campaign on December 1, World Aids Day. It included talks at all schools and to all communities in general, as well as puppet shows and video programmes. In conjunction with police and traffic officials, the campaign has been extended to the highways where primary school children will be handing out balloons with AIDS prevention slogans to passing cars and trucks.
An-Ra Guest House in Richmond has expanded. Among other things new bathrooms were recently built to ensure that the venue would meet all tourism requirements during the busy festive season. “We are trying to encourage people to pause for a while on the busy north/south route and come and visit Richmond. I feel this is also in the interests of road safety,” says owner Rara Bezuidenhout.
TWO VIPS VISIT
Dr A R Palmer and Dr Francois van Heyden of the Roodeplaat Grassland Institute, which is part of the Department of Botany, at the University of Cape Town, recently visited Mr Apie Wiet’s offices in Beaufort West to study Landsat photographs and the effects of grazing in this sector of the Karoo. Both these VIPs were part of the recent Arid Zone Ecology Forum which was held earlier this year in Middelburg.
MUSEUMS MEET IN PRICE ALBERT
An immensely successful meeting of the Southern Cape Museums was held in Prince Albert on November 18 and 19. Staff at the Fransie Pienaar Museum were highly praised for organizing this function. Delegates said that they found these two days of discussion very fruitful. They enjoyed
discussing a variety of levels on which they could co-operate. And finally, they thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about the town and its surrounds.
WHO SAYS ‘WHY OSTRICHES’
Very often people travelling through the Central Karoo are amazed at the many ostriches they see in the Prince Albert and Leeu Gamka areas. They ask: “Since when have you had ostriches in this part of the country/” Well, the answer is; “Equally as long as the Little Karoo. They may have more and have been associated with the ostrich barons, but according to Eric Rosenthal’s book of South African Records a world record price of £125 sterling was paid in 1913 for a pound of ostrich feathers from W Molteno’s Nelspoort farms, now Montana, home of Frank Herholdt. And, in Thomas Packenham’s book, The Boer War, he tells of a tame ostrich that followed a British regiment about in the Karoo
STORY TELLERS MEET IN PRINCE ALBERT.
Storytellers in Prince Albert will be challenging each other on January 26, to find out who the best teller of tales in the district is. This competition will form part of a candle light dinner at the gold club and it is being held to raise funds for the museum. The only conditions to entering is that the stories must be suitable for public consumption, that they can be recorded and later included in a publication, if necessary. A great interest is being displayed in this evening.
FARMERS OFFER MORE SERVIES
Farmers who offer holiday packages in the Central Karoo have found that they get calls from caravanners who would like to spend some time exploring the area. Now several of those farmers who have Eskom power are offering shady parking sites and electricity points for caravans. Among these are Three sisters Accommodation and Juriesfontein, the home of the tame springbok, Bambi, where they have facilities for “the old fashioned caravans” Theefontein in the Nelspoort district and Hillandale in the Krom River area now have 4 x 4 routes and at Hillandale there is also a beautiful camping site.
CARAVAN SERVICE FOR TOURISTS
Beaufort West Publicity Association is once again offering an information service for tourists from a caravan, just outside of town. Over the years this service has helped the travelling public find accommodation as well as information about the town and others in the Central Karoo region. Cool drinks are also available at this caravan.
GEELBEKSRIVIER BECOMES A TOURIST STOP
The farm, Geelbeksrivier, which is right next to the old Anglo-Boer War blockhouse at Laingsburg, has converted one of its farmhouses into tourist accommodation. This is a superb area and within easy reach of Cape Town for those who would like to enjoy a Karoo holiday, say the owners Dries and Girlie Swanepoel. They delight in sharing the history of the area with visitors and are a super source of the tales of yesteryear.
WELL KNOWN AUTHOR VISITS CARAVAN PARK
Doc Immelman, the well-known writer of Afrikaans detective and adventure stories, recently visited the Beaufort West Caravan Park, Once upon a time, before he moved to Namibia, he worked at the Beaufort west Post Office. So, for him this visit was a bit like a home-coming. He took the opportunity to visit several old friends in the town and to introduce his travelling companions to the sights and history of Beaufort West and its surrounds.
RHINOS AT HOME
At last there are Rhinos at the Karoo National Park. Some time ago, when Dries Engelbrecht went to Augrabies for were caught for this park. One unfortunately died. The other three, two cows and a bull, were held in a bouma until they successfully established themselves. This has happened and the park personnel are satisfied with their progress and adjustment to their new territory, They are now going to be introduced to the Press and they will be released on December 1. They will be the first rhinos to roam the Karoo veld in many years.
IS THIS SANTA’S HOME?
The Scandinavians continuously argue as to whether Father Christmas actually lives in Norway, Sweden or Finland. Others insist his home is further north, possibly right at the pole, but a small boy who recently visited Hillandale, a farm in the Beaufort West district is convinced he has the answer. While wandering in the veld he saw a herd of fallow deer, which were introduced to the farm a few years ago. Awestruck he watched them for a while, then ran back and breathlessly announced to his mother: “Father Christmas must live in these mountains because I have just seen his reindeer grazing in that field.” Well, who knows, perhaps at his age and after all these years of ice and snow, Santa would enjoy a warmer climate. And, on that happy note we wish all readers a Merry Christmas and a 1994 filled with tourists – also safe travelling to all who venture out and on to the roads.