Most people know that Beaufort West owes its name to Lord Charles Somerset, second son of the fifth Duke of Beaufort. He was Governor of the Cape from 1814 to 1824, and when a new northern frontier outpost was s established in 1818 he named it in honour of his father. What is not so widely known is that Lord Charles was one of the highest paid British officials of his day. He earned £10 000 a year at a time when the town secretary for Bathurst, for instance, got £60 annually. The next Governor, Sir Lowry Cole did not have it quite so good. He took home only £6000 a year


With the help of transparent files from Sanlam a series of tourist promotional booklets have been made. This cost-effective material has gained high praise. Colour photographs are being used with background material to convey the information to tourists and where necessary, or if requested, copies can easily be made. Rose Willis will give a talk on the effectivity of these booklets at a meeting of the Kannaland Tourism Association at Amalienstein, on August 2. This is the old German mission station that was named in honour of Countess Amalie von Stein, a philanthropist. The Kannaland Association promotes the small towns of the Klein Karoo.


Rev Bismark Drude of Christ Church Beaufort West, was enjoying the winter sunshine in his garden when he saw an elderly gentleman slowly making his way up the church steps. He went to officially welcome this visitor and so an old Beaufort West love story was shared. The man, Wilfred Douglas Jones, now 86, knew the town well in the late 1930s. It was very special to him. He was a surveyor on Donkin street and stationed at Rhenosterkop. On October 2, 1939, he and Margaretha Elaine Fisher were married in this church by Rev Norman King. Wilfred adored Elaine. Their 54 years together were blissfully happy, but since her death last year he has been extremely lonely. So en route to Cape Town with his daughter, he visited Christ church to recapture the magic of their wedding day. Rev Drude said: “He prayed alone in the church for an hour, then we prayed together. We looked up the record of their marriage in the church register and just seeing her signature brought the enchantment of the day rushing back. He left feeling happier.”


After a recent successful workshop SATOUR has announced that the next Indaba Tourism Show will be held in Durban from May 1 to 5, 1995.


A recent trip to photograph the blockhouses of the isolated Dwyka and Ketting railway sidings was easily accomplished thanks to a Spoornet maintenance crew. They took great pains to point out the correct route in a most tourist friendly manner. Well done, such assistance makes travelling in the Karoo a pleasure.


While doing historical research in the Cape Archives recently Dr Arthur Davey found a report on the first 11 months of Beaufort West Red Cross Committee. The society was launched during the Anglo-Boer War on December 5, 1899, under the chairman ship of magistrate, A Faure-Robertson. It’s mission was to attend to the sick and wounded on the ambulance trains and in field hospitals. The report states that scarce and expensive items such as milk and eggs were supplied and the Beaufort West people were generous when troops arrive donating fruit, butter, cakes and dainties, as well as everything in the smoking line. There were seven women on the committee – Mrs Weeber, wife of the member of the Legislative Assembly, Mrs Krummeck, wife of the municipal chairman, Mrs Gething, wife of the Anglican Priest,, Mrs van der Merwe, the Dutch Reformed Church minister’s wife, Mrs Bedgood, wife of the Railways Traffic assistant manager, Mrs Westby, the district surgeon’s wife and the magistrate’s wife. In one week in 1900 over 1 000 wounded and convalescents received attention. On average between six and ten trains passed through town each week.


There is a song about Nelson the sea-gull that flew high and free. This inspired Major Bath of the South African Air Force’s Harverd Aerobatic Flying Team to such an extent that he decide to name his aircraft Nelson. Recently, this aircraft named Nelson, the oldest Harvard in the world that flies on a daily basis, performed at the Victoria West Game Festival and had visitors on their toes with excitement as it carried out its role in the aerobatics team display, under the guidance of Major J Venter. He and other members of the team, who included Captain F Steenkamp, Major L Sawyer, Major L Bath, safety officer major C Ninneman and public relations officer, Major A Odendaal, all thoroughly enjoyed their visit to the Karoo. While in the area they also visited Nobelsfontein, home of Rugby Springbok Mannetjies Roux, who once was also a member of this team.


Miss Tina Joemat, the Northern West Cape’s Minister of Education, Culture, Languages, Sport, Libraries and Museums, officially opened the Victoria West Game Festival with a positive speech regarding planned future developments.. Afterwards she visited a hunting farm with game farmer Andrew Conroy and professional hunter, Greeff Heidenrych. After only a brief lesson on handing of a hunting rifle and a few practice shots, she accompanied a hunting party into the veld and with her first shot downed a prize Roeland Hartebeest. “Not only a magnificent shot, but a trophy animal to boot, “ said Greeff,


Hunting is not only about shooting animals, said Minister Tina Joemat. It plays a major role in nature conservation and the creation of job opportunities mainly because it brings international money into the country. It also offers a healthy relaxation because hunters get the opportunity to walk across the veld, and to make news friend around the campfires. It is also a way to overcome stressful problems of daily life. This all formed part of Miss Joemat’s opening address at the Game Festival.in Victoria West. She underlined the fact that responsible and honourable hunters did not litter the environment. They enjoyed nature, helped conserve indigenous wildlife and encouraged to the veld to rehabilitate itself. This played a great role in the promotion of tourism, which in turn led to the building up of the infrastructure and economy, she added.


City children can now enjoy a mini-farmyard at North and South Hotel at Prince Albert Road. The idea of creating this feature occurred to owner Ronnie Joubert when he was faced with the problem of what to do with a hand-reared lamb. He developed a mini-farmyard area alongside the hotel, added a few ducks and chickens and ;it was an instant success. Ronnie is hoping to add more animals and has appealed to farmers to donate a young Springbok.


Satour’s South African Tourism Workshop at the National Exhibition Centre in Durban was a winner. A record number of tour operators attended, as well as over 300 international travel writers from 30 countries – the largest contingent of foreign journalists ever to visit such an event in South Africa. This turn out was attributed to South Africa’s new international status and renewed interest in the country as a tourist destination. Satour also launched its Explore South Africa, 1995 campaign at a gala cocktail party at the Playhouse for over 2 000 guests. It was attended by the Premier and ministers of KwaZulu/Natal, as well as other dignitaries, such as Mr Bantu Holomisa, Deputy Minister of Tourism. Guest speaker was Dr Dawie de Villiers, Minister of Tourism and the Environment.


Two Beaufort West businesses helped the Regional Tourism Office recently to prepare professional material for the SATOUR Tourism Workshop in Durban. They were The Courier, that sponsored a print run of Rose’s Round-up and Sanlam, who provided transparent file covers for the preparation of an accommodation profile. The Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert loaned the show stand linx, aardwolf and bakoor jackal skins for display. This regional co-operation led to the stand being a great success.


The Garden Route, Klein Karoo and Central Karoo, presented themselves at the Secret Garden of the Cape, at Satour’s National Tourism Workshop. While the exhibition stand was most attractive and those on duty had information at their fingertips, revealing the “secret” was difficult. The problem, there was no combined regional promotional material. This is immediately being rectified Work has begun on a regional brochure and cost-effective mini guide for wide distribution The mini guide will cover arts and crafts, culinary specialties, hiking, bird watching, general history and tips on how to link the regions by travelling through the passes. Would those interested in participating in this guide please supply material for inclusion as soon as possible.


Beaufort West now has its first private nature reserve. It was opened by Ken Coetzee of Central Cape Nature Conservation. This is a beautiful, tranquil area, so the owner, Solly Herselman, has decided not to allow cars to drive into the conservation area. Visitors may walk or go in on horseback, bicycles on enjoy the facilities at the reserve by travelling in a horse or donkey cart. Solly says that the declaration of this reserve is a dream come true. He says he decided ten years ago to turn his farm into a nature reserve. He then let the ground rest and lie fallow for three years before bringing in 20 breeding pairs of various antelope, zebra and ostriches, porcupine and so on. The veld recovered remarkably well and today there is an abundance of game there and all are in prime condition.


The Great Karoo is to be part of a New York Times travel feature. Local correspondent Amy Waldman and a photographer recently visited and were enchanted by the region. She decided to concentrate on three special towns -: Graaff-Reinet, “because it is so old, but has been beautifully restored”, New Bethesda, “because it is so absolutely unusual”, and Prince Albert, “because it is so beautiful and very interesting.


Agricultural services and the role of organized agriculture in the Karoo are to be discussed at a farmer’s day in Beaufort West on August 26. The guest of honour will be Mr Lampie Fick, minister of Agriculture for the Western Cape. He, Dr Johan Burger, Director of The Winter Rainfall Region and Mr Stoney Steenberg, Director of the Karoo Region, will address the meeting. Johan van Rensburg, CEO of the Northern Cape Agricultural Union, and Gert Bosch, CEO of Western Cape Agricultural Union, will also attend.


Facilities at Matjiesfontein are being revamped and up graded. Plans include the creation of an upmarket, five-star holiday resort with several exciting new facilities. There is also an old jail under the station and this is to be opened to the public. A glance at the station building does not reveal that the small barred windows and heavy door are much more than a cell. The old jail was huge and even had a separate solitary confinement cell. Built of dressed stone, it is dank and gloomy. It brings to mind Herman Charles Bosman’s story of his imprisonment in told in Cold Stone Jug. It certainly is worth a visit, just to experience the atmosphere. Spoornet is currently restoring the old station and soon the Matjiesfontein Museum, now being upgraded, will become part of the old station building, where there will also be two conference rooms – one for 20 to 30 people and a smaller one for 12 delegates.


There is a side of the Karoo that few know about. This is the Karoo that prominent paleontologists consider as the greatest natural wonder of the world. Hundreds of million of years ago this area was home to a series of weird animals and plants. Their story is captured in the rocks of the Karoo and is regularly researched by experts. Recently a group of experts revealed some of the secrets of the Karoo on Afrikaans Stereo and shared the secrets of this fossil rich world with listeners to this programme. Participants of the program were Dr Bruce Rubidge, Dr James Kitching and Dr Chris Faul, from the Bernard Price Institute, Johan Welman, Leon Leroy and John Mafudi of the National Museum, Johan Loock, of the Department of Geology at the Free State University, Dr Francois du Rand, chairman of the S A Association of Amateur Palaeontologists and Ken Stofberg of Damplaas.


An unemployed and destitute man recently packed his worldly possessions on a rickety donkey cart and with his two hungry sons left Oudtshoorn in search of a childhood friend on a farm called Damascus. Drawn by underfed donkeys and followed by a thin dog, Jacob Lottering set off up the Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert and the farm on which he had spent a happy childhood with Hennie Du Plessis, the owner’s son. The journey was almost too much for this little band. By the time they reached the top of the pass the donkeys were exhausted and bleeding. The people of Prince Albert, hearing of their plight and touched by the man’s faith in an old friendship, rushed to their aid with food and warm clothing. They were helped down the mountain and housed in the village until Hennie du Plessis, who had moved to another farm, was found. Hennie immediately fetched them. “My farm will always be home to anyone who prizes my friendship so highly,” he said.


Trevor Young of Mac Youngs, is the man behind the planning of Beaufort West’s first Octoberfest and for this he has already laid in 6 000 liters of beer and half a ton of spare ribs The festival will take place at the show grounds from October 6 to 10. During the festival the Kaapse Klopse, police dogs and sheep dogs will give displays and demonstrations. There will be a float parade through town and there will also be a flea market.


Beaufort West became a small piece of South African aviation history when the first airship ever to fly in the country’s skies landed at the airport to refuel and stop over the night. At sundown on Monday, July 11, local residents were entranced by probably the rarest of Karoo sunsets. Its center piece this craft wafting gently to and fro on its moorings with its 40-metre hull illuminated by internal lights. The airship, which is used for advertising and promotional wok left Beaufort West for Cape Town at sunrise on Tuesday. It is one of four owned by an English American company, Virgin Light Ships and was brought to S A to help launch MTN’s cellular telephone network.