TOURISM MUSHROOMS, SAYS MINISTER
Tourism in the Western Cape Province has mushroomed, yet there is still room for growth. This was said by Mr Hennie Bester, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, at meeting with the Central Karoo Regional Tourism Organisation in Beaufort West. He said tourism in the Western Cape Province represented between 8 and 10 percent of the province’s gross regional product. This meant that virtually overnight tourism, as a revenue earner, had leapt up to equal agriculture, the oldest industry in the province. “The Western Cape is South Africa’s number one destination, with 28% of international visitors to the country coming here,” said the minister. “The top slot also puts this province in number one position on the African Continent as South Africa is the tourism market leader. However, exciting as this is, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels. Tourism will not grow and flourish unattended. It must to be nurtured and encouraged. Much hard work is required to maintain the province’s prime position. There is room for improvement across the board. Pricing structures must constantly be reviewed to ensure that we do not price ourselves out of the market. Standards and service are of prime importance. They have to be high. Road signage too is important. We simply have to ensure that tourists get to their destinations as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said the minister.
FOKUS OP TOERISME MAAND
Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad het September as “toerismemaand” verklaar. Die slagspreuk is “daar’s ‘n toeris in almal” en die doelwit is om toeriste dwarsoor die wêreld in kennis te stel van alle toerisme geleenthede. “Ons beoog om toeriste te oorreed om elke jaar in September op Suid-Afrika te fokus en daardeur hoop ons dat die maand in hierdie land mettertyd net so belangrik op wêreld toerisme almanakke sal word as die Rio Kamival,” se WKTR bemarkingsbestuurder Pieter Rossouw. Beaufort-Wes Toerismeburo het besluit om ook in September op toerisme te fokus deur ‘n foto-kompetisie te reel. “Enigeen wat ‘n foto in die dorp op September 24 neem kan dit inskryf,” se Toerismeburo voorsitter Hilary Steven Jennings. “Alle inskrywings sal by die museum uitgestal word en groot pryse sal op die spel wees.”
ENTRIES ROLL IN FOR MARATHON
The new route of the Beaufort West Metropolitan Marathon, the first event of its kind to be run through a national park in the Western Cape Province, has sparked great interest. Entries are already rolling in as runners look forward to what promises to be one of the most beautiful and enjoyable ecological runs in the province. The half marathon route remains entirely inside the Karoo National Park, and the 50km run, mainly in the park, includes a variety of challenges, such as a portion along a gravel road and a run through the historic core of the town Members of the local running club who have tried these routes are full of praise. “In addition to thoroughly enjoying game spotting as we run, we have been lucky enough to see some of the recently released new quaggas along the Lammertjiesleegte section of the course.” they said. Entries forms are available from Mrs Elwina Otto at Beaufort West Municipality. Metropolitan, sponsors of the Olympic Team, are once again the main sponsors, with Transnet providing the teeshirts. “Interest is high and it appears as if we will have record entries for both the marathon, and half marathon on August 15,” says course organiser Gys van der Westhuizen.
SATELLITES TRACK BLUE CRANES
The blue crane, South Africa’s national bird and a beautiful creature of the Karoo, is highly endangered. The bird also features on the Central Karoo District Council’s coat of arms. There are only about 21 000 left in South Africa and a quarter of these live in the Karoo. The latest technology is now being used in the Karoo in an effort to provide information to help ensure survival of the species. “The status of the blue crane has changed drastically in the last few years,” says Mark Anderson of Cape Nature Conservation. “We urgently need information to help us ensure their survival. So we recently attached sophisticated satellite transmitters to two chicks in the De Aar area and hope these will yield much useful information. The exact position of these birds will be monitored once a week for three years. Information on their movements will be sent to South Africa via Toulouse in France. This information will enable conservationists to gain a better understanding of the crane’s biology and ultimately contribute to the long-term survival of the species.” Major threats in the Karoo include collision with overhead power lines, the illegal capture of young birds and poisoning during locust-control operations.
Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad se bemarkingspan is besig met beplanning om die provinsie in die nommer een posisie te hou. Daar word gewerk op die beplanning vir ‘n reeks toerismetentoonstellings, soos bv Indaba, in Durban, geskeduleer vanaf 1 tot 4 Mei, 1999. Stalletjies word ook weer gereel by volgende jaar se Vakansiebeurs in Utrecht, Holland. “Alle streke kan deelneem mits hulle hul eie reiskostes en lugkaartjies betaal,” sê bemarkingsbestuurder Pieter Rossouw. WKTR se Internet blaaie, wat deur IAfrica.com opgestel is, is uiters gewild en verlede maand het 48 500 mense by hulle “gekuier”.
SEEING THE KAROO BY SCOOTER
Argus columnist David Biggs recently again indulged in a favourite pastime, crossing the Karoo on his Vespa scooter. “This is the ideal way of seeing this beautiful area,” he said. “At 80km an hour you don’t miss much. Also, winter’s a good time as you don’t get fried on the way!” He and Dutch friend Ben van den Berg were on their way to an international Vespa Rally in Groningen, Holland. “Touring the Karoo on a Vespa makes one feel like an explorer,” said Ben, who was looking forward to a memorable trip as Groningen is his home town They had a grand send-off from the mayor of Cape Town, overnighted in Beaufort West as guests of Youngs and from Johannesburg flew to Rome. Soon after landing they were back on their Vespas crossing Italy, Austria and Germany to join the rally.
SMUL KOMBUIS IN PRINS ALBERT
Onthou die heerlike platteland etes van jare gelede? Dik sop, vars gebakte brood, geel plaasbotter, sagte lamsvleis, sous, patats, kraakvars groente en miskien ‘n gemmerpoeding om mee of te rond? Twee vorige SAL-personeellede, Theuns Botha and Denise Potter bied presies sulke kos aan in hulle nuwe restourant, Die Karoo Kombuis, in Prins Albert. En op die spyskaart, wat op ‘n rystoel staan, is daar nog skenkels, bredies en pastas. In somer gaan etes met olywe en kaas op “Griekse-styl” buite bedien word.
PRINCE ALBERT’S SIGRI HONOURED
Sigri Celestino Barella, one-time big game hunter who considers himself “a Roman in the Karoo,” now has a Prince Albert steakhouse named in his honour. Called Celestino’s, it is owned by Pieter Griessel and his sister Anne-Marie Hern. Considered one of the town’s most colourful residents, Sigri is an engineer by profession and one of South Africa’s best known mineralogists.
OKEY DOKEY, PROFESSOR
Alwyn and Joan Pienaar of Beaufort West smiled when they read the story of John Joseph Doke (Round up No 56). It brought back memories of John Joseph’s son, Professor Clement Doke. They vividly recalled their horror when the children first addressed the good professor as “Okey Dokey”. His daughter, Peggy, became Alwyn’s sister-in-law. “She and her father both loved the Karoo,” says Joan. “He was a professor of Black Languages at the University of the Witwatersrand. He later moved to Alice and the University of Fort Hare to further his studies. He wrote several text books which for many years were used as standard works.
GREAT RIVER FOR EXPLORERS
The Dwyka River in the Great Karoo is much mentioned in the writings of early explorers. None, however, call it “lioness”, as Dr P C Luttig did in his diary, now kept in the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert. Johan Loock, of the University of the Free State, and Dr Lucie Mailer, of the Human Sciences Research Council, both reacted to Luttig’s statements (Round-up No 53). They say according to G S Nienaber and P E Raper’s dictionary, Toponymica Hottentotica Dywka means brak or salt. Swellengrebel mentions crossing the Dwinka, or Salt River, in 1776 to reach the Koup Mountains in the north. In 1785, Gordon reports arriving at a drift in the Dwinka “which was dry” and after a further 5% hours’ riding reaching the Gamka. Seven years later, in 1792, Gordon was again in the Karoo at the “Dwinka or Brakke River.” In 1797, Barrow wrote of crossing the Dwyka or Rhinoceros River and in 1823 Thompson also used rhinoceros as an alternative name. He wrote of reaching Jakhalsfonteyn, near the foot of the Zwartberg on the Dwyka, or “Rhinoceros River.” The river is mentioned again in 1803 by Lichtenstein and in the 1872 to 1877 reports of the Berlin Missionary Society. it is called the Tweke, but corrected in a footnote. According to Nienaber and Raper, the words dwi-, dwei-, dwy-, and the rarer twe- all mean brak , salt or saltpetre and -ka means river. Rhinoceros River also appears on Burchell’s maps. This is simply an alternative name which has fallen into disuse.
NUWE LEWE VIR DIE KAAP KOMMANDOS
Taffy Shearing se eerste boekie in haar Kaap Kommando reeks plaas die kollig op Kommandant Johannes Cornelius ‘Hans” Lotter, ‘n man wie skaars ‘n perd kon ry. In 1901 het hy ‘n kommando van Kaap Middelandse boere in die lewe geroep en vir maande was hy ‘n doring in die vlees van die Britte. Uiteindelik is die uitgeputte kommando in gure weer op die plaas Paardefontein, naby Pearston, gevang. Viertien het daar gesneuwel. Van die gevangenes is na Bermuda verban. Lotter en vier van sy offisiere is terreggestel. Mev Shearing skryf nou die verhaal van Kommandant Gideon Scheepers.
WOODCUTTER WAS A SCHEEPERS MAN
A well-loved old Coloured man, once in great demand as a gardener and woodcutter in Beaufort West, had strong ties with Commandant Gideon Scheepers. He was the commandant’s “agterryer” and the man to whom Scheepers entrusted his horse. Known to all as Hendrik Wynbek, this old fellow vowed to mourn Scheepers forever. To the end of his days he proudly wore the Scheepers’s insignia, a commando-style hat with white band into which was tucked an ostrich feather. Hendrik entertained all who would listen with tales of his adventures with Commandant Scheepers during the Anglo-Boer War. “He was an absolute delight,” remembers Ray de Villiers, once an attorney in the town and a man who greatly enjoys history. “It was with immense pride that he told me he’d been with Scheepers when he was captured. He had wanted to stay at his side, no matter where they took him, but the commandant asked him to take care of his horse. “There is some confusion about Scheepers’s horses, says Mrs Taffy Shearing. “He bought his famous horse, Albany, in the Pearston district in 1901. However, in the diary he wrote while in hospital in Beaufort West he refers to his horse, Jubilee. He states Jubilee was shot in the hoof at Prince River, and says he had to grab ‘an old nag’ to get away. I’ve tried for years to establish what happened to Albany. Did he reach a stage when he was too exhausted to ride? Was he left somewhere to recuperate. Was he shot? Where did Scheepers acquire Jubilee, and was this the horse entrusted to Hendrik. Did he recover?” If any one knows the answers please write to Round-up.
A CHURCHILL MEMENTO LIKE NO OTHER
An inheritance to gladden the heart of any history buff must certainly be a set of pictures taken by the great Winston Churchill. That is exactly what Elize Abdinor of George found when her grandfather left her a box of 3-D pictures taken during the Anglo-Boer War, complete with viewer. Among them was a complete set of photographs taken by Winston Churchill before he was captured. “The family treasures these. It’s quite incredible to see these ordinary-looking little pictures leap to life when viewed through the strange, old-fashioned viewing contraption. The set includes rare pictures of General Christiaan de Wet and his brother. Wading through these brings that period of South African history into focus. An item in Round-Up No 57 mentioning that museums were seeking display material relating to the Anglo-Boer War prompted Mrs Abdinor to call. She has been put in touch with George Museum.
THE DAY ST CHRISTOPHER LOOKED THE OTHER WAY
The long, lonely, winding road from the peaks of the Swartberg down into The Hell can be a thirsty drive. Even regular travellers may feel the need to stop and “wet their whistles” before reaching the narrow valley. And so it was with Oom Henk Mostert, the local policeman. He often stopped at a little drift, 16km from the start of the route, where the road takes a tight turn and starts up a steep incline, for “a little pick-me-up to damp down the dust.” This became so widely known that the spot was called “Oom Henk se Drif” A proud and concientious man, Henk took his task of law enforcement seriously. He thus kept his secret nip well hidden from public view in a flask tucked well out of sight under a hard wooden bench in the lockup section of his Black Maria. Keeping it up front in the cab was dangerous as fellow officers could accidentally happen upon it and would perhaps not understand how essential it was for keeping out the cold, easing nerves and lifting spirits. The back presented no problems because the prisoners who rode there were handcuffed. One windy day after an unusually rigourous drive, Henk negotiated the turn with aplomb, alighted with sigh of relief and expectation, marched round the to the back of the van and climbed in. Just as his hand touched the bottle a capricious breeze slammed shut the door. He tried in vain to prize it open. Of course, this was impossible as there was no handle on the inside. What seemed like hours passed. He was almost at his wits end. Then, almost as if in answer to a prayer, a car came along. There was no room to pass, so it stopped. Puzzled at seeing an unattended police van with solitary captive, the new arrival surmised the driver must simply have dashed into the bushes to answer the call of nature. He waited. No one came, but the “prisoner” was kicking up an awful racket. He seemed to be pleading to be let out. No one in their right minds would do such a thing, he thought. He was becoming impatient, and the “prisoner” seemed to be weeping with rage. The stranger carefully approached. Henk shouted, screamed, cajoled, swore and pressed his badge against the window. The stranger plucked up courage. Perhaps, after all, this was the policeman. He decided to open the door. A red-faced Oom Henk stormed out, brusquely snarled a thank you and roared off. Never again did he risk stopping at his favourite drift without a stone firmly wedged in the door.
BLOMLYN WEER IN WERKING
Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad stel weer vanjaar ‘n Blomlyndiens in werking. Om te verseker dat die Karoo daarin deel word elke Toerismeburo in die gebied versoek om vir Rose Willis by die Distrikraad Toerismekantoor te bel en vir haar inligting oor waar blomme te sien is te gee. Sy sal as die skakel met Blomlyn optree. “Toeriste bel daagliks vir Blomlyn om te vemeem waar die beste blomverskynsels is,” se WKTR bemarkingsbestuurder Pieter Rossouw. “Heelwat inligting word benodig om die diens effektief te maak.”
GARDEN ROUTE GUIDES PAY A CALL
Prince Albert rolled out the red carpet for Garden Route tour guides and operators recently. “A group of 21 visited for a ‘whistlestop educational tour’,” reported Elaine Hurford, chairman of the marketing committee. “The idea was born when Michelle Smith of Knysna addressed us on tourism development and training. She helped plan the trip. Our aim was to showcase the town and persuade these roleplayers to include Prince Albert in itineraries.” The group met at the Fransie Pienaar Museum where they were welcomed by the mayor, Mr Dawid Rossouw. Curator Lydia Barella then showed them around and took them on an architectural historical walk. The visit focussed on accommodation venues and local products such as olives, cheese, witblitz and dried fruit. Dinner hosted by the Swartberg Hotel, the new tractor trail devised by Johanna Luttig and Annelien Bothma and game drives offered by Christo and Hannie de Wit were highlights. Michelle will report back on facilities, standards and service.
ONTHOU DIE HARTFEES
Beaufort-Wes Tourismeburo is gelyktydig besig met twee Hartfeeste. Vanaf 4 tot 7 November vanjaar sal ‘n puik fees vol pret vir almal aangebied word. Die gewilde vuurwerkvertooning sal weer op die program wees. Maar planne word ook al beraam vir volgende jaar se fees wat ‘n top intemasionale geleentheid gaan insluit. Die 1999 Hartfees word saam met die Suid-Afrikaanse Bokhaar- en Internasionale Angora Bokkampioenskappe gekombineer. Die program sal heerlike kos, modeparadcs, brei en weef kompetisies insluit en beloof vol opwinding te wees.