The last curve on the road out of Prince Albert, leading towards the Swartberg Mountains, is known as “perde draai” (horse corner). The locals, however, refer to it as “skottelgoed draai” (pots and pans corner). The reason that this corner got this unusual name is proof of the local population’s sense of humour. Way back in time two cars crashed into each other here. It was due to the fact that the drivers had the oddest nicknames – Pot and Pan – that local humourists could not resist giving the corner its odd name.


Beaufort West featured in the programme of the recent National Geology Congress hosted by the University of Port Elizabeth. Sixty students camped at the Beaufort Caravan Park at the start of the four-day field trip during which they visited the farms Rietkuil and Ryskuil where uranium investigations were carried out in 1979. The students also studied the Cape Folded Mountain formations at Meiringspoort and the gypsum deposits at Baroe. They visited the Cango Caves and viewed interesting geological strata in the Vicky’s Bay area The trip was organized by Mark Rynhoud, an honours student and chairman of GEOS, the geological student society. The group, which included students from all South African, as well as international universities, was accompanied by Dr Peter Booth from the University of Port Elizabeth, who was part of the Newmont Uranium investigation team


Eight members of Sanlam’s management team from the Free State and Cape enjoyed a three-day hunt on Verborgensfontein, the farm belonging to Herman Van Zyl Kock. It is one f the most popular trophy hunting farms in the Richmond area, where many international, as well as South African hunters, are entertained. Last year one of Sanlam’s top managers was invited to hunt on this farm. He enjoyed it to such an extent that he immediately made arrangements to bring his team to the Karoo to enjoy a similar special hunting experience. The participants also thoroughly the fresh air and being able to relax for the weekend.

NOTE: There are two other hunting farms in the Richmond area. They are John X at Merriman and Magnum. Every year many international hunters visit these venues.


The Beaufort West Caravan Park’s hospitality was recently highly praised by 50 Kimberley rugby players. They were en-route to a match in Cape Town and needed a suitable place for a lunchtime break. Lenore Lombard, manager of the caravan park, undertook to organize a braai for them. She arranged to have the fires, chops, wors, rolls and refreshments ready when they arrived. It worked out perfectly. All they had to do was relax and enjoy themselves. “This is Karoo hospitality at its best,” said the tour organizer. “It saved us time and we did not have to run around looking for food, which can be quite time-consuming.”


It used to be Chota Broneiron, a combination of Hindustani and Welsh names, meaning The Little House of Peace, but the name of this lovely Victorian cottage in Prince Albert has changed to Morning Glory Guest House. The owner, Pat Werdmuller, says people found the previous name too difficult to remember. The new one suggested itself because of the glorious display of morning glories at the gate. This is a totally self-catering holiday house, cutely furnished and centrally located in Market Street. Pat arranges for her guests to be fully informed about what to see and do in Prince Albert and its environs.


The Radio Kontrei team, which was travelling with Eben Niemand and en-route to the Lost City, paused to spend some time at the Karoo National Park. There they enjoyed a mouth-watering meal. On their route home, this team paused at the Park again to enjoy a delightful spit-braai around a fire. “Absolutely wonderful and definitely a night to remember,” they agreed The Radio Kontrei team plans to return to Beaufort West later in the year as guests of the Gardening Club, to be shown a range of beautiful gardens in the town and surrounds.


The cold winter mornings at the foot of the Nuweveld Mountains, have not bothered the Cape Town school children holidaying at Boesmanskop with Wynand and Rietjie Viviers. Wynand wakes them in the early hours to “help” with the milking and they each bring a mug for warm, fresh milk. Their days are filled with goat feed, dipping, and scanning sheep, herding, horses, riding, visits to the Karoo National Park and hikes at Mountain View. The tour organizer, Dianne Zechner, said “At night they are taken out into the veld on an ‘eyes at night’ game spotting drive. They can’t believe the number of animals they see. She said feedback on the first trip she organized was ‘excellent’ and that her follow-up trip for July 12, is already fully booked. “In fact there are only a few places left on the September and October trips. Children find farm holidays exciting. Rietjie’s cooking is superb and she really spoils the children,” said Dianne.


“Saam Die Toekoms Tegemoet”, (Together Into The Future) is the theme of Richmond’s 150th anniversary festival celebrations which are scheduled to take place from October, 8 to 10. On Friday there will be a parade of floats, cadets and drum majorettes. World Merino Day will be celebrated in the town on October 8 and a steak braai and dance has been organized for that night. There will be another street parade on Saturday, followed by the official opening of the festival, which will be handled by Professor Bun Booyens. A tea party, fashion show and flower arranging demonstration, has been organized by Flower Walker, a well-known florist in Cape Town and a former Richmond resident . In the afternoon there will be a spit braai and in the evening a cocktail, finger supper and concert by Andre Swartz. A cemetery visit has been organized for the Sunday, as well as communion and the unveiling of a plaque. Tea will be sponsored by the Municipality.


Johan Loock, senior lecturer in the Geology Department at the University of the Orange Free State, has returned to the Karoo to continue his field work and research into the sandstone layer. He is being assisted by Ilke Marais, a B SC student who hails from Beaufort West. They will work on farms between Nelspoort and Stellenboschvlei, then on Soetdoringkuil, Ryskuid and from Bokvlei to Stellenboschvlei. Johan hopes to complete this research before the University reopens.


There’s a song about “home cookin” and guests who regularly visit Alexanderkraal, the farm of Hentie and Hugonette van der Merwe, often think about it. They agree it’s the tasty meals that keeps them coming back. The Van der Merwes enjoy entertaining visitors and love introducing the Karoo, its fauna and flora to them. Alexanderkraal was badly damaged in the heavy rain of 1999. Water roared through the house and deposited mud throughout the interior. The house’s beautiful old wooden floors were ruined They had to be lifted and replaced with tile The only reminder of the disaster now is the tennis court, but it is still quitter suitable for a social match.


The current issue of Sarie magazine has an article about Prince Albert Interviews for this feature were done during the recent Swartberg Olive Festival. Sarie journalists said they thoroughly enjoyed meeting the locals and visiting the town


Ronnie Joubert, owner of the North and South Hotel, at Prince Albert Road, reports a good July season. “More people seem to have become aware of our facilities and the cold winter nights have encouraged holiday makers to opt for a warm room and supper. We’ve managed to keep our prices low to ensure we remain a value for money stopover on the north/south route,” he said. “Other factors which contribute to our popularity include the fact that we are able to offer discounts for pensioners and secure parking, so that cars do not need to be unpacked. Most tourists value this.” Ronnie has special plans in the pipeline for summer tourists.


Annetjie Joubert, one of Hendrik Mostert’s daughters and a former resident of the Hell (Gamkaskloof), is planning to return and to create a guest farm in the valley. She and her husband, Bennie, who intends to retire from Robertson Municipality, one of these days, are the only family that still own private land in the Hell. They plan to be ready for tourists in the Christmas Season. The Jouberts also intend to farm once again on their little farm in the Hell, where they plan to make honey beer, an old traditional beverage, of the area, for tourists to taste.


A Finish couple, Martin and Juajn Quist, and their four daughters, recently spent two enjoyable days in Beaufort West where they were able to explore using Ye Olde Thatch as a base. This formed part of their two-week South African holiday. The Quists are stationed at Dar-Es-Salaam, where Martin is a headmaster of a private school. South Africa and the Karoo in particular, have always fascinated him. “The Karoo is something quite special,” he said. “Also, its guest houses are novel to us. We truly enjoyed ourselves in these homely and different environments.” He complimented Edith van Vuuren, owner of Ye Olde Thatch, on taking time to show them and a family from Brits around Beaufort West, the Karoo National Park and the Nuweveld Mountains.


A TV crew recently visited the Beaufort West area in search of The Eye, (Die Oog) a ghost mentioned in Lawrence Green’s book, Karoo. Some say it is the ghost of a woman who was murdered in this area by her husband in the last century, while others maintain it is a girl who drowned here and yet others state that this fiery will-o-the-wisp, which terrifies horses, is caused by rotting plant material. However, it was a cold, fruitless night. Perhaps, those who believe The Eys exists, but only appears in wet weather, are right.


Game from the Karoo National Park was recently sent to Portugal. Included in this consignment were four vaal ribboks, two rooiboks and four klipspringers. They are part of an exchange scheme for a lovely rhino cow, Shabula, that was sent from the Game Reserve to Lisbon two years ago. Shabula is now in the Augrabies Park. This year this park also sent vaak ribboks to the West Coast National Park and some springboks to Tanqua Karoo Park.


There’s a new accommodation venue in Prince Albert – a tiny cottage called Mon Pleisir. It is in the main road and it features one bedroom, a lounge, kitchen and bathroom. It is fully furnished, equipped and serviced and this self-catering venue offers comfortable accommodation for two people at R25 per head per night. The owner, Denise Ohlsen, provides tea, coffee, sugar and rusks.


The Wildsveleisfees (game festival) weekend, recently held in Victoria West, was a great success. The weekend started with a street parade. At the showgrounds there were a variety of little stalls and any interesting products. Melanie Young was chosen and crowned as Miss Game Festival at a dance on Friday night. Her princesses were Lizette van der Merwe and Nicolene Leonard. On Saturday people from far and wide enjoyed visiting the town and the food festival. Talks were given by Andrew Conroy, on game farming in South Africa and overseas, Roy Hayes on taxidermy and how to prepare a buck for mounting as a trophy; and Jeff Cilliers, of Gun Smithing, who spoke on local rifles. Eben Niemand of Radio Kontrei broadcast directly from the showgrounds during lunch time.


Pierre Kotze has been appointed information officer and curator of the Fransie Pienaar Museum at Prince Albert. He and his wife, Cathy, who hopes to start a tea garden in the museum grounds, will arrive in mid-July. Pierre has a keen interest in preservation of books and paintings. His responsibilities will include further building up of the town’s communications and public relations programmes, which have been set in motion, promoting the museum, arranging exhibitions, fetes, festivals and generally disseminating information on the town. Pierre and Cathy, who were formerly residents of the Verwoerdburg area, are looking forward to re-locating to the Karoo,


Arrangements are now being finalized for two popular and important annual Karoo marathons. They are the Beaufort West 52 and the Karoo Marathon that is held in Laingsburg. The Beaufort West Marathon, covers a distance of 52 km. “It begins at Nelspoort and ends in Donkin Street in Beaufort West,” says organizer Kobus van Zyl. On the same day, August 21, a half marathon will also be held. Both these events are very popular. So is the Laingsburg Karoo Marathon, scheduled for September 27, says organizer Attie Stadler. A record number of entries have already been received for all of these marathons.


A team of rugby players from the Worcester School for the Blind recently visited Beaufort West as guests of Pieter and Yvonne Nortier. It was the second time that this team, the only one of its kind in the world, has visited Beaufort West to learn more of the Karoo, its history and environment.