The Consultative Forum on Regional Tourism, established in East London late last year, has just held a follow-up meeting in Rustenburg. The aim was to streamline communications. ensure a cohesive approach to promotion and marketing of tourism throughout South Africa, develop effective co-operation strategies for all committees and assist regional tourism organisations gain a higher visibility coupled to a better image. Financing and functions of regional offices, critical issues and plans for future development of tourism throughout South Africa were also discussed. The meeting was attended by delegates from almost all district councils throughout the Republic and Rosalie Willis, represented the Central Karoo.


Museums in die Suid-Kaap on Karoo Het ‘n nuwe skema in die lewe geroep om toerisme to bevorder. Hulle gaan ‘n streekskaart last druk wat alle museums in die gebied aandui en wat as toegangskaartjie gebruik kan word. Die kaart sal ook museums met hulle fondsinsamelingsprojekte help. “Beaufort-Wes Museum sluit graag by die skema in,” së kurator Sandra Smit. “Ons is seker alle museums sal by die skema baat omdat hulle deesdae vir hulle eie befondsing verandwoordelik is. Die verkoop van hierdie kaart sal fondsinsamelingprojekte bevorder omdat elke museum die wins op verkope kan hou. Die kaart sal museums ook op ‘n wyer vlak bekend stel. Toeriste wet graag in elke dorp dorp by die museum besoek wil aflê, kan heelwat koste bespaar met hierdie nuttige streekstoegangskaartjie.”


Interest in the 1999 Anglo-Boer War Centenary is mushrooming. Experts from many travel organisations are researching the market potential of this historical event and planning tours for special interest groups. And the Karoo features prominently as these experts gear up to conduct parties to graves, monuments and sites of conflict. Some plan to follow the commando routes, while others will trace the trail of the British Army. There are plans to camp at skirmish sites, visit graves and blockhouses. Tours will include visits to places of interest such as Matjiesfontein, where Major General Andy Wauchope was buried in controversial circumstances, Deelfontein, once the largest military convalescent hospital and site of a huge cemetery, and Uitspansfontein on the Nuweveld Mountains, where a donkey convoy was ambushed.


Karoo museums wil graag ekstra inligting oor die Anglo-Boere oorlog inwin. Sandra Smit, van Beaufort-Wes Museum, en Lydia Barella, van Fransie Pienaar Museum op Prins Albert, sê hulle stel beland in fotos, briewe, dokumente an ander artikels wat met die oorlog verband hou.


Two guardsmen who died at the beginning of the Anglo-Boer War share a grave at Leeu Gamka. Both were wounded early on at the Battle of Belmont, and died while being transported southwards on an ambulance train. One Private Henry Emil Schultze, was the first Australian to die in this war, and the tallest man in the British forces. He was a member of the 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards and he stood 7ft tall in stockinged feet. At Royal functions he was said to be a real crowd-stopper. “He was also, obviously, an easy target for the Boers,” says researcher Garth Bennyworth. who says there is a memorial to Schultze at the high school in his home town. St Arnaud, Victoria, South Australia. Schultze is buried next to Private Lynn of the Scots Guards. They also share a headstone erected by their colleagues.


Vandat Jan Lane die Leeu Gamka hotel oorgeneem het, het hy gepoog om dit weereens ‘n heerlike rusplak langs die pad te maak. ‘Dis hoe Leeu Gamka in die oud ae bekendheid gewerf het.” sê hy. “Lank voor dit nog ‘n naam gehad het was dit ‘n gesogte uitspan plek op pad na die noorde.” Jan vertel dat sy pogings goed uitgewerk het en dat daar as gevolg ‘n toename in bedbesetting is. Die hotel word deur Elsa en Michael Smit bestuur wat klem lê op egte bosrekos en gerieflike kamers. ‘n Nuwe water-suiweringstelsel is geïnstalleer om probleme met brak water op te los.


The last great Voortrekker leader to leave the Cape Colony, a son of the Karoo and hero of Blood River, met the love of his life at Prince Albert. He was Andries Pretorius, of Letskraal, near Graaff-Reinet, and she was Christina Petronelle de Wit, of Scholtzkloof. They became engaged on this lovely farm at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains and later married at Tulbagh. She was 18 and he 20, and their happy marriage, one of South Africa’s great love stories, lasted for 30 years. Then, complications from malaria and dysentery left her so weakened that she died, leaving a great gap in his life. Christina supported Andries in everything he did. He is said never to have taken a decision without first consulting her. The couple had eight children, five sons and three daughters. Their eldest son, Marthinus, became the first President of the Transvaal Republic. An exemplary wife and mother, Christina unselfishly encouraged Andries to answer a call for help from Winburg despite the fact that she was desperately ill at the time. ‘You cannot save my life, but you can help these people,” she said. “Go. it’s urgent.” He never saw her again.


Standaarde is van die hoogste belang, maar daar kan net een gradering stelsel wees om verwarring uit te skakel en groei van die mark te verseker. Weskaap Toerismeraad doen dus ‘n beroep op Toerisme Buros om nie private graderingstelsels te skep nie. “Die Raad ondersteun Satoer se gradering- en klassifikasiestelsels wat ook internasionaal bekend is,” sê Pieter Rossouw, Weskaap Toerismeraad se bemarkingsbestuurder.


A vintage car rally at Prince Albert Road has thrilled enthusiasts. Now they want an encore. “Farmers are keen to join and show off some old vehicles, so we are trying to organise a suitable date.” says the owner of the North and South Hotel, Ronnie Joubert. “Because it is so central, enthusiasts from Laingsburg, Prince Albert and Beaufort West chose this spot to gather and ‘talk cars.’ There is also a wide, cool veranda, ideal for a few beers. At the last meeting the vintage enthusiasts soon found tourists stopping and joining in!”


A wall of batteries, bottles, pebbles and porcelain bits, a crazy-looking rickshaw and miniature metal vehicles on the road to Prince Albert so intrigue tourists that they can’t resist stopping to investigate. With a backdrop of dilapidated farmstead, Karoo veld and the Swartberg Mountains, this strange wall begs to have its picture taken. And when the cameras temporarily stop clicking, there emerges from the shade of a thorn tree a man in colourful patched apparel. He is a poet, philosopher and fabric artist, who no longer uses his given name of Jan Schoeman, but is known the world over as Outa Lappies. Over the years he has been the subject of articles, booklets, photographs and video programmes. Letters often arrive from Europe addressed to “Mr Patches, Prince Albert, South Africa”. They always reach him. Those who stop at the wall are treated to the story of his life, interspersed with homilies and tales of the Karoo. “This is a wall of art and culture,” he says. The wall is on the historic farm Botterkraal, once the scene of a roadside inn operated by the Haak family. They ran coaches from the rail stop at Prince Albert Road across the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn. The trip took three days. Now Outa Lappies sits there in the shade doing embroidery or patchwork.


Antoinette Fienaar, een van die land se top kabaretsterre, wend haar inspirasie in die Karoo. Op die verlate plaas Rietkuil buite Beaufort-Wes, doen sy en haar begeleier, Derek Fordyce, nou die afrondingswerk van ‘n nuwe stuk, Lossie Liefde vir Later.”Hier, in stilte er vrede, in vars lug en sonder elektrisiteit, haal ons stories uit eie bodem,” sê sy. “Hier hou ons volmaankonserte, net ek, Derek en die klavier. Met kerse en onder die skoon sterryke hemel van die Karoo, tree ons op vir kinders en plaaswerkers. Dis wonderlik, inspirerend. en ons werk op stories wat terug strek tot by die /Xam en die Khoi.”


The old Brandwag farm, on the N1 25km north of Beaufort West, is being transformed into a game and holiday farm complete with conference centre. Designed by architect Jennie Laubscher and scheduled to open later this year, it will have eight chalets, each with facilities for four to six guests. Aimed at the top-star, business and conference markets, it will have a restaurant catering for 60. The old homestead will be converted into five en-suite rooms. Orange and lemon groves, once a feature of the original farm, will be replanted. The venue, which will revert to its original name of Lucerne Lodge, will stable horses for those who like to ride, and create a farmyard with cows. sheep, ducks and chickens. Kennels will accommodate visitors’ pets.


Op die roete na die Kaap deur die Groot Karoo is daar ‘n padstalletjie wat nooit ophou om to groei nie. Dit is op Rietfontein, 14 km suid van Leeu Gamka. Etlike jare gelede is dit in die lewe geroep deur plaas-eienaar Hannes Botes. Van ‘n klein begin as doodgewone stalletjie is die plek omskep in ‘n vergaderplek vir sportentoesiaste. Diegene vat op soek is na iets lekker sal die braai-restourant geniet waar hulle op hoogte kan bly met krieket, rugby en ander TV sportsuitsendings. Daar is ook ‘n geskenk winkeltjie en wynhuis.


Rina Hartzenberg, from Johannesburg, is searching for details of her forefathers who had roots in the Karoo. “Hartzenberg or Hartsenberg families farmed near Beaufort West, I believe and I’d love to learn more about them or any graves on farms, can anyone help?” she asks.


Prince Albert. at the foot of the Swartborg, has a new cheese maker who produces a top quality, full-fat feta. The business, known as “Fromagerie Ls Roes,” is run by Louis Le Roes, who spent his childhood watching his grandfather make cheddar cheese. Louis recently spent several months in Europe brushing up on cheese making techniques. “I worked diligently at producing a top quality feta which will now be marketed by Jackson in conjunction with their well-known Karoo lamb,” Louis says. “I intend to follow this up with a Welsh Caerphilly and later a blue cheese.” The Prince Albert Publicity association will sell his feta cheese, pre-packed with olives from Jan Botmas’s Swartrivier farm, at the Klein Karoo Food and Wine Festival. Originally from Estcourt where he farmed with Brown Swiss, Louis le Roes only recently moved to the Karoo. He hopes soon to establish a Brown Swiss herd on the slopes of the Swartberg mountains.


a Video oor die lewe van wêreld bekende hartchirurg Chris Barnard, wat deur Sparks Produksies vir die BBC gemaak is, is uiters suksesvol. Gedeeltes van die program is in Beaufort-Wes, Professor Barnard se tuis dorp, verfilm en plaaslike akteurs het die rolle van Jong Chris en sy ouers gespeel. Die video kan by die Beaufort-Wes Museum gesien word.


Prince Albert’s Swartberg Olive Festival on May 2 and 3, will be a much more focussed affair with events packed into two fun-filled days. Those who plan to visit The Hell, Gamkaskloof, or hike in the mountains, can extend their stay to include specific interests. This year’s programme will include eco-tourism, birding and botanical packages, historic walks and special Interest tours, braais, dances and sport. Only top quality products will be sold at street and food stalls. Traditional, authentic Prince Albert fare will be available at the Tourism Buro’s stall which will also sell local arts and craft., says the town’s new information officer, Inga Wynhardt.


Murraysburg se Landbougenootskap en Mensfeeskomitee het vanjaar kragte saamgesnoer om ‘a groot makietie in die dorp te reël vir 28 Februarie en 1 Maart. Die fees bled iets vir almal. Vir kinders is daar ‘n vertoning van Simba, die leeu en ‘n mallemeule, vir dames is daar ‘n tuinpartytjie en vir mans’n skaaptentoonstelling, kuddekompstisie, saalperdskou en gymkhana. Daar is ‘a half-marathon, fietsry-marathon, braai en dans. Mej Murraysburg word op die dans gekies en gekroon.


Bed and breakfast accommodation is now available at Content, an old family farm 3km from the N1 and 10km from Three Sisters. The farm, home to the Middleton family since 1926, offers a peaceful stay in typical Karoo surroundings. Facilities include double rooms with en-suite facilities, a braai area and wood. Guests wishing to prepare their own meals may use the kitchen. Content is an angora goat farm and shearing can be watched in January and July. A speciality is hand cream made by owner Tiny Middleton.


Waterweek word vanaf 17 tot 23 Maart deur Suid-Afrika gevier en die tema is “Water vir almal vir ewig.” “Die belangrike teem is baie na aan die hart van almal in die Karoo,” sê Sydney Witbooi van die Karoo Nationale Park, “Ons reel ‘n Potlekkertjie uitstappie om kinderd meer bewus te maak van die belangrikheid van water in so ‘n dor gebied.”