The Central Karoo District Council walked off with the top award at the 21st Annual Congress of the Institute of Municipal Public Relations Officers (IMPRO) held recently in Kuruman. The Institute named tourism co-ordinator Rosalie Willis the IMPRO public relations officer of the year in South Africa. The award was presented to her at a banquet by the Premier of the Northern Cape Province, Mr Manne Dipichia. He said: “It is indeed a pleasure to present this award to someone involved in promoting the platteland, and the Karoo in particular, as this is such a special area – part of which also belongs to my Province.” IMPRO President Fanie Krige said, “This prestigious award has gone to Miss Willis for the excellence of her achievements in the fields of public relations and communications. She has created cost effective programmes and developed a unique, well-written, bilingual publication, Rose’s Round-up, which has filled a gap and brought the Karoo to the attention of a wide spectrum of people.”


Die Karoo Natuurbewaringsvereniging het Wêreldomgewingsdag op kleurvolle wyse gevier. Beaufort-Wes Standard 1 leerlinge. het vanjaar se Wêreldomgewingsdag tema, “oop spasies vir die mens”, uitgebeeld op ‘n muur in Van Schalkwykstraat in Rustdene. Die muur is deur die kinders gekies om hulle omgewing te verfraai en die boodskap oor te dra aan die gemeenskap. Verf is deur verskeie besighede In die dorp geborg.


The vast amount of original research done by Rose Willis into the Boer War and the graves of British soldiers in the Great Karoo has been recognised at national level. The Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane, has appointed her to the British War Graves Committee for three years. This committee is responsible for over 35 000 graves of British military personnel buried in South Africa from 1795 to 1914. In the course of her duties Rose has identified, photographed and written reports on most graves in the Karoo. Her research into the backgrounds of those buried in the area has uncovered many a poignant story, and done much to make these soldiers real. The graves are included in several tourist routes she has developed.


‘n Top kenner van Die Hel het onlangs haar kennis met Beaufort-Westers gedeel. Marlene Kotze van C P Nel Museum, Oudtshoorn, wyd bekend virr haar navorsing oor Gamkaskloof, het ‘n praatjie en skyfievertoning oor Die Hel gelewer by die Vriende van die Museum-vergadering op 13 Junie. Dit was lets besonders en het belangstelling in die gebied geprikkel.


Matjiesfontein is in a class of its own. Here the tourist does not find glitz and glamour, but rather the ambience of an old British Club. This is the opinion of former British diplomat, David Upton, who recently visited the village. “The most wonderful thing is that nothing is new, nor obviously freshly painted. It doesn’t look like Disneyland nor a movie set, it has a loved and lived-in look, rather like an old tweed jacket with leather elbow patches. There’s an elegance, comfort and style to Matjiesfontein which makes it unique. A red London bus at the station took us by surprise and we felt transported back to an older England. Then, there was the Marie Rawdon museum. I saw many bits and pieces there that I am sure a British museum would love. Matjiesfontein is individualistic, timeless and unique. Those who’re touched by its atmosphere will surely come back. We certainly intend to!”


In vandag se wêreld van toerisme praat alma] van ontwikkeling en opleidinq. In die laaste eeu was dit ook ‘n prioriteit van James D Logan, van Matjiesfontein. Bewus van hoë standarde en professionele diens, het by ‘n opleidingskool vir spoorweg kookkuns by Matjiesfontein gestig onder toesig van ‘n professionele sjef.


The latest film producer preparing a documentary on the Great Karoo is Sir Richard Attenborough. A crew from his organisation is currently exploring the Great Karoo to gather background material for a feature that will be broadcast worldwide later this year. The Swartberg mountains and vast plains of the Karoo have captivated the crew and provided them with superb material.


Dit staan Beaufort-Wes te eer om die eerste publieke vertoning van die 160-lid Nuwe Apostoliese kerk mannekoor op 11 Augustus te hoor. Die fees van sang gaan in Gamka Oos-kerksaal aangebied word en is lets om na uit to sten. Die groot koor is ‘n samesmelting van talle kleinere kore wat nog gereeld in hulle eie kerke sing.


An article on Dennehof, one of Prince Albert’s oldest farmhouses, in the Sunday Times “Inside” Magazine has led to owner Elaine Hurford being inundated with requests for special Karoo meals. Dennehof is normally a self-catering venue, but Elaine caters for groups on request. “I put a great deal of thought and preparation into menu creation and treat each group individually,” she said. Guests maintain that the fresh garden herbs, which she so skillfully blends into the dishes, make these meals really special. The popular radio programme “Lifestyles” also recently took a closer look at her exciting meals.


Kobie Jeppe, van die plaas Gannakraal, naby Kromrivier, nooi toeriste wat die Karoo wil ontdek om by haar te kom kuier. “Ons plaas Is in die berge en daar is ‘n prag van voels in die klowe. Daar is plekke om lui-lekker te ontspan en weg to kom van stedelike gejaag. Toeriste kan stap, wild besigtig, of sommer in die son sit en boek lees. Gaste kan hulle eie vleis braai of saam met ons eet en lekker kuier,” sê Kobie.


Mr Lampie Fick, Minister of Agriculture, Planning and Tourism, in the Western Cape Province, has congratulated Leighton Hare, manager of the Karoo National Park, and Rose Willis, tourism co-ordinator, on their appointments to the Western Cape Tourism Board Standing Committees.


The mystery of the double “p” as used In Beaufort West’s Matoppo House’s name has been solved by Lewis Walter of Fish Hoek. He writes: “Matoppo was in fact the common spelling in the 1890s and early 1900s, and is correctly used If the house name dates back to that period.’ He enclosed an extract from James Bryce’s “Impressions of South Africa,’ written in 1897, which refers to the “Matoppo Hills’. Mr Walter agrees that “Matopo” and “Matobo” were probably corruptions by the early Matabele invaders of the Shona word ‘Matombo” which means ‘rocks”. He states that while the single ‘p’ was unusual in early writing, Selous used it in “Sunshine and Storm in Rhodesia” (1896). The Castle Packet Company’s Guide to South Africa (1897/98), however, played it safe by using both versions. Interestingly enough, most early writings refer to “Karroo” and even “Caro,” whereas today only “Karoo” is used.


Mnr Johan van Tonder van Transnet het onlangs ‘n handvol blink bruin klippies na die toeriste kantoor gebring vir vedere inligtinq. Hulle is by Boteslandstasie gevind en staan bekend as “donderwevrklippies.’ Die klippies is blink, glad, lyk zoos agate en of hulle gepoleer is. ‘Sulke klippies worm in die sediment, van ou riviere en moerasse waar daar ‘n tekort aan suurstof is. Die glans is ‘woestyn vernis,’ sê bekende mineraaloog, Lydia Barella van Prins Albert. ‘Dit is limaniet en dit word in woestyngebiede gevind waar hullw deur intense hitte en druk eeue gelede hulle komposisie verander het. Maar ek wil bale graag weet hoe die naam ‘donderweerklippies’ onstaan het,” sê sy.


Years ago many who travelled through the Karoo remarked on the unusual caravan used by one of the well-known water drillers. His mobile home looked just like the cockpit of an aircraft, they said. And so it was. It had once belonged to the ill-fated Pioneer which made a bid to fly from Cape Town to Cairo, but crashed at Nelspoort. In 1919 Lieutenant E A Nash of the Royal Air Force wrote to Beaufort West Town Council asking if there was a place to land his “machine” as he was planning to fly across Africa to Cairo. He identified an area near Springfontein Dam, today known as the “Steenoonde,” as a landing strip. Work was immediately started on preparation of the site, plus an official reception was planned for February 10. But bad luck dogged the flight of the Pioneer, a Handley Page 0/400 model 0/F British bomber. The aircraft arrived nine days late and needed major repairs. It afterwards took off, but crashed at Nelspoort. The Cape-to-Cairo bid had to be abandoned, but as a tribute to Nash two cottages in Bird Street were named Cape-to-Cairo. In new guises the aircraft lived on in Beaufort West for many years. M C Ellis bought the wood and metal of the wreck to construct a verandah at his house, and the cockpit travelled from one water drilling site to another.


Inverurie, eens ‘n pragplaas van die Nuweveldberge, word nou, oopgestel vir toeriste. Gaste kan in ‘n ten volle ingerigte drie-slaapkamer huis bly en dit as ‘n self-versorgende eenheid gebruik of hulle kan maaltye op die naburige plaas met die Scholtz-gesin geniet. Inverurie, wat na ‘n Skotse dorp vernoem is, het ‘n interessante geskiedenis en daar is tot ‘n ou diamantmyn op die plaas. Dit is op die plato van die berge tussen Beaufort-Wes en Loxton. Daar is ‘n rykdom van voëls en wild te sien. Dis ‘n heerlike plek om te stap of net te ontspan.


Gideon Fagan’s ‘Symphony for the Karoo” is now available on the CD label S A Music (Marco Polo Label No 82237091. It is performed by the SAPC National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Peter Marchbank.


Lasertrans has purchased the farm Brandwag, 85km north of Beaufort West and plans to upgrade the venue to at least a three-star level to fully meet the needs of its directors and management. The venue will, however, still remain in the market for general use by tourists. The upgrade will include the creation of en-suite facilities for all rooms in the existing historic house, as well as the building of chalets. The company intends to stock the farm with nine varieties of buck for game viewing and will appoint a full-time game ranger. The name will change to “Lucerne Lodge,” as research reveals this was the original farm name. Dick Smal and his wife, Herma, will remain as managers and offer dinner, bed and breakfast to overnighters as well as full meals to those who want to stay longer and explore the Karoo.


Drie Susters Vakansieplaas gaan nou ook hulle kamers opgradeer. Elke kamer sal n en-suite badkamer of stort kry sê eienaars Johan en Ina Hamman wie op geriewe vir gesinne konsentreer. “Ons plaas is ideaal geleë vir gebruikers van die NI en N12 roetes en gewild omdat ons etes verskaf. Die beroemde Drie Susters koppies is ook op ons plaas, maar ons het nog niemand tee gekom wat kans sien om hulle te klim nie.”


World Wildlife Foundation researcher, Julie Bass, who normally works at Mokolodl Park in Botswana, recently visited the Karoo National Park for discussions with socio-ecologist Zuilega Rossouw. She was captivated by the Karoo and eco-systems of the park, and has vowed to return for a longer visit as soon as she returns from England in September.


Jan Jacobs van die Karoo Nasionale Park se Inligtingsdienste het ‘n toerisme taxi kursus in Calitzdorp bygewoon en dit terdeë geniet. Dit was deel van ‘n opleidingsprogram wat deur die Ontwikkelingkomitee van Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad aangebied was. “Die kursus was baie insiggewend,” sê Jan. “Groot aandag is aan kommunikasle bestee, veral met die oog op die groeiende mark vir buitelandse toeriste. Ons het geleer hoe om hulle belangstellings uit te vind en hoe om ons eie areas te bemark.”


Grade Three teachers Maylene Daniels and Mirinda Jacobs, of A H Barnard Primary School in Beaufort West, were both highly impressed with the Tourism Education Trust workshop in Oudtshoorn on May 20. They are now looking forward to piloting this project during next term in classes at the school. “Lessons sounded great when we discussed the project,” said Mirinda, “but as we moved through the workshop sessions we became more and more excited. We’re really looking forward to piloting them and hope they’ll become part of our curriculum. They have great potential.”


Onlangs noes ‘n paar Beaufort-Westers van Rustdene ‘n begrafnis in Riethron bywoon. Hulle het nie ‘n motor gehad nie en moes ‘n bussie huur, maar hulle was min en die voertuig was duur. Halle het die ekstra plekke “geadverteer” as ‘n toerisme geleentheid en reelings getref vir ‘n “toergids” by Rietbron. Die plan het geslaag. Die bussie was vol en die “toeriste” het ‘n heerlike dag in ‘n nuwe area geniet.


Tourist guide books seem to be mushrooming. It’s thus interesting to note that one the world’s first guide books, “Description of Greece,” written in 2AD by Pausanias for travellers who thronged to Greece in the heyday of the Roman Empire, was in use for 15 centuries. King Louis XIV was even advised to acquire a copy. Makes one think.