The historic Monument Cemetery, 10km south of Matjiesfontein, now has a safe parking area. It was recently constructed by the Central Karoo District Council with assistance from Western Cape Tourism Board. “Our aim was to provide visitors to the cemetery with safe parking away from the busy N1 highway,” said district council chief executive John van der Merwe. “Formerly, tourists had to park at the gate, climb over a stile and walk almost 1km to the graves. Most visitors were concerned about leaving their vehicles unattended so far away. Also, there was room only for one or two cars and buses could not park there. We are delighted that Western Cape Tourism Board has made it possible for us to create this new, bigger car park.” The cemetery is a popular stop for Anglo-Boer War enthusiasts and history buffs. The two obelisks on the koppie encourage many other tourists to stop and explore. One was erected in memory of George Maxwell Grant, killed in a rail accident, and the other is a British Army memorial in honour of Major-General Andrew Wauchope, affectionately known as “Red Mick.” A hero of Scotland, he was killed at the Battle of Magersfontein, near Kimberley, during the Anglo-Boer War. Wauchope’s grave in the cemetery below is marked by a simple sandstone memorial erected by his wife Jean. Nearby are the graves of James D Logan, founder of Matjiesfontein, and his wife Emma. Their daughter, Catherine, son, Daddy Jim, and several other family members lie nearby. In the cemetery are many historic graves, including that of English cricketer Edward Alfred Lohmann, considered to have been one of the world’s greatest all-rounders ever.


Die Rapportryerskorps van Beaufort-Wes het onlangs fondse ingesamel om alle Anglo-Boere-oorlog grafte in die dorp se ou begrafplase te herstel. Die werk word deur Goodall & Williams behartig. Hulle is tans besig met die herstel van sement en baksteen graf-omheinings en maak die marmer kopstene skoon. Nuwe grafmerkers word ook opgerig. Die oorspronklike merkers is in die tagtiger jare deur vandale verwyder. Hulle het ook die prag graf van Kaptein George Parker Bull, eens die Britse bevelvoerder op Beaufort-Wes, geruïneer. Dit het gebeur net voor aansoek gedoen sou word om die graf as nasionale gedenkwardigheid te laat verklaar. Oor die jare is heelwat pogings aangewend om hierdie graf te restoureer, maar alles wat beoog is om die helm en swaard te vervang altyd te duur. Nou gaan daar net ‘n gedenkplaat op die graf geplaas word.


Every year thousands of German tourists arrive in the Cape and all they want to see is the Great Karoo, says author and businessman Clem Sunter. While discussing his new book Winning in the New Millennium in a recent Readers Digest, he says: “You have to be a fox to come out on top. The Karoo is marketed as a unique area to German tourists, and each year thousands of Germans arrive in Cape Town with the specific aim of visiting places such as Beaufort West, Graaff Reinet and De Aar, to experience the world class, personalised service offered by some of the B&Bs.”


A recent interview on the SAFM radio programme Women Today kindled renewed interest in the Karoo. Compiler Nancy Richards had hardly finished an interview with tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis when the telephone lines began to buzz. The diversity of calls stretched from the Uruguayan Embassy to 12-year-old Justin McLean, of Klerksdorp Primary School, who needed help with a project on heart-transplant pioneer Chris Barnard. Listeners enjoyed hearing about fossils, frogs and colourful history. Many requested back copies of Round-up and wanted to join the regular mailing list .


Die wêreld van die goue-mol, pantser-gordelakkedis, rooiklip konyn, ystervark en witkruis arend is onlangs deur 77 Graad 6 leerlinge van Nico Brummer Primêre skool in Beaufort-Wes betree. Hulle het ‘n weeklange veldskool by Moutain Viewkamp in die Karoo Nasionale Park bygewoon om meer te leer van die ekologie van die Groot Karoo. “Ons het ‘n spesiale staproete waar hulle meer oor die diertjies se lewenswyse en habitate kan leer sowel as die wêreld van dassies en arende beskou,” sê toerisme beampte Sidney Witbooi. “Gedurende die week het ons ook van grond, rotsformasies en die belangrikheid van water, veral in droeë gebiede, gesels. Toe kom die reën en ons moes huistoe has.”


The planned commando ride through Beaufort West, part of the commemorative commando ride from Stellenbosch to Pretoria to honour the horses and horsemen of the Anglo-Boer War, has drawn wide response. The steering committee has received many inquiries from horsemen wishing to ride with Piet Ellis’s Commando or with David Pickard-Cambridge’s British Brigade. The ride through Beaufort West takes place on June 6. A message of goodwill will be handed to the leader of the commemorative ride to pass on to the State President in Pretoria. Then, many of the horsemen will demonstrate their skills.


Ten minste een skool in elke dorp van die Sentrale Karoo neem nou deel aan ‘n nuwe toerisme projek wat deur Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad ondersteun word. Die belangrike projek is deur Hennie Bester, Minister van Besigheidsbevordering en Toerisme, en Helen Zille, Minister van Opvoedkunde, by ‘n primêre skool in Kraaifontein bekend gestel. In die Karoo is die projek tydens ‘n voldag seminaar in Beaufort-Wes deur Lorraine Bryant, besigheidsbestuurder van Tourism Education Trust en Mthethelene Hugo, van WKTR se ontwikkelingspan, geloots. Benewens die kursus het deelnemende Graad 1 onderwysers ‘n staptoer deur die dorp, gelei deur toerisme beampte Rose Willis, geniet, sowel as ‘n besoek aan die museum en die Karoo Nasionale Park se Ou Skuur Toerisme Projek.


A tiny Karoo town has declared war on litter, and the result has been a major tourism boost. The pristine surroundings of Hanover recently caught the eye of Iris Bester of SATV, so she stopped to investigate. Iris then found Willie Mathee of the local tourism committee. Tired of seeing kilometres of plastic bags littering the veld, he and his committee offered to swop a bundle of firewood for a municipal rubbish bag of full of litter from the veld. “Everyone from township dwellers to school children instantly began to pick up paper, plastic bags and litter,” says Willie. “Within short, Hanover was the cleanest town in Africa.” Iris was so impressed that she featured the project in her programme Focus. Then Getaway editor David Bristow praised Hanover’s effort in an article. Soon many other local and international journalists trooped in for a look. Next, a TV crew arrived to do a feature. All this publicity has attracted many more tourists to stop and overnight in Hanover’s spotless guest houses.


Die uiters populêre Karoo Nasionale Park is van plan om sy geriewe uit te brei. “Ons beoog om nog 10 drie-bed chalets by die Stolshoek Ruskamp te bou, die restourant area uit te brei en verbeter, en veranderings aan te bring aan vier van die huidige agt ses-bed chalets,” sê bestuurder Leighton Hare. “Insette word nou ingewag van alle rolspelers en belangstellendes.”


The grave of an English-speaking Boer soldier is among those being repaired in an old Beaufort West cemetery by the local Rapportryerskorps and Goodall & Williams. He was John James Bester Watson, 22, who joined General Wynand Malan’s commando with his two brothers William Henry and Charles. The Watson brothers came from Barkly East where they were well-known and liked. One day, while at Juriesfontein, near Nelspoort, Malan’s commando was surprised by the British. The Boers scattered. John hid in a stable, but someone on the farm, whom locals had labelled a “hans-kakie,” pointed out his hiding place. He tried to escape but was shot in the back. The farmer’s wife undertook to nurse him, but the army decided to move him before his wounds had healed. During the bumpy trip to town on a mule wagon (scotch cart) his wound opened, and he bled to death. He was buried in the Dutch Reformed Church cemetery. During the symbolic Great Trek of 1938, the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) erected a memorial on his grave. Later, a second stone was erected by Murraysburg friends. In 1904, Mrs De Villiers, the wife of Reverend De Villiers of Carnarvon, who was deported to Beaufort West during the war, tried to obtain Watson’s army pay for his parents. In a letter to the authorities, she wrote: “Young Watson was a fine specimen of a South African. I still deplore his untimely death brought on by the treachery of a Colonial Dutch-born Boer.” Watson’s brothers were taken prisoner and when peace was declared they decided they did not want to live in a land ruled by the British, so they emigrated to Argentina. William’s wife and Charles died there. William returned to South Africa in 1939.


(Tel No. 083-255-6931)

Onlangs is Merweville uit die veld geslaan deur die oorweldigende reaksie van mense wat ‘n naweek in hul dorpie wou deurbring as gevolg van ‘n radio program. “Ons het omtrent 25 voertuie verwag, maar die uitnodiging op Franscois Rossouw se Radio Sonder Grense program het 96 aansoeke gelok,” sê Kallie le Roux van Springbok Lodge. “Ons asem was weggeslaan. Uiteindelik is ‘n uitstappie gereel vir 46 voertuie en hulle het die dorpie uit sy nate laat bars. Almal het die geselligheid van Merweville en die uitdaging van ons puik roetes geniet. Dié wat hierdie keer nie kon kuier nie is genooi om later te kom. Daar is reeds groot aanvraag na ons winter uitstappie.”


Frontier outlaw Coenraad Buys, a huge, powerful man, was an adventurer and smuggler who left a dash of wildness in the story of Beaufort West and the Nuweveld farms recently acquired by the Karoo National Park. Buys, also known as Coenraad de Buy or Buis, was born of Huguenot stock in Montagu in 1761. He clashed with the law and took refuge among Xhosas on the eastern frontier. He also traded in cattle with them, illegal in those days. His treatment of these people is said to have contributed to the outbreak of the Second Frontier War. Buys developed a passionate hatred for the British who declared him an outlaw, banished him from the Colony and put a price on his head. Buys wandered through the Karoo in the late 1700s. When Graaff Reinet burghers chased their magistrate out of town and declared a republic, Buys tried to persuade the Xhosas to join these burghers in an uprising against the British. He failed. For years, Buys lived among the Ngqika people. Then, with his Thembu wife and numerous children from that marriage, as well as from a liaison with Maria van der Horst, a woman of Black\Khoi-khoi descent, he moved to the area of present-day Beaufort West. There he disrupted the mission work of Erasmus Smit on the farm Kookfontein, raided cattle herds and generally created havoc. By 1821, he had moved across the Vaal and settled in the Soutpansberg. When his wife died in 1823, he was so grief-stricken that he wandered off into the veld and was never seen again.


Tagtig lede van die Marincowitz-familie het op 25 Maart, op die ou familie plaas Vrolikheid, naby Klaarstroom, vir ‘n reunie bymekaar gekom. By die herehuis wat in 1834 deur hul stamvader Gerolm, van Triëst in Kroasië, gebou is en wat vandag ‘n nasionale gedenkwaardighied is, het hulle druiwe gepars, witblits gestook, kranse op familie grafte gelê, en heerlik gekuier.


An ancient poem telling of a beautiful lily and a noisy beetle, called the sonbesie in the Karoo, puzzled Greek scholars for centuries. Then in the 1930s, a South African solved the riddle. The great Greek poet Homer mentioned “the lily-like sound of the cicada” in one of his poems and dumfounded his followers. Eventually, learned men decided “lily-like” was an error of translation, and that explanation was accepted for 3 000 years. But, in the ‘30s, Professor Kolbe, of Cape Town University, discovered when picking chincherinchees that when the stems of these lilies rubbed together a shrill sound was emitted. It was just like the shriek of the cicada. Thus, the ancient mystery surrounding these beautiful lilies and the tiny beetle was solved. The cicada, known as the sonbesie or Christmas Beetle in arid zones such as the Karoo, uses his shrill shriek as a serenade, a love song sung only by the males. The females do not have voices. Which is why the ancient Greeks quipped: ‘Happy are cicadas’ lives, as they have silent wives!”


(Tel No 023-541-736)

Swaar reen in die Karoo het Gamkaskloof, Die Hel, heeltemal van die buitewêreld afgesny. Vir ‘n week was Zannie van der Walt , van Natuurbewaring, stoksiel aleen in hierdie afgeleë vallei. “Na die rivier gesak het was die stilte asemrowend. Dis nou eintlik hoe mens die prag van die berge moet geniet, in die eensaamheid.” Toe die rivier begin styg was daar ‘n werkspan oorkant van die rivier. Zannie het hulle op die radio geroep en opdrag gegee om dadelik terug te keer. AHulle het onmiddelik gery, maar die rivier was al klaar te hoog. Hulle het omgedraai en die bakkie bo die 1981 vloedmerk geparkeer. Teen daardie tyd was die water al so hoog dat hulle te bang was om die rivier aan te durf. Ek het deur die waters gestap om hulle tot veiligheid te help. Die rivier het so sterk afgekom dat dit tot twee meters bo die 1981 vloedmerk gestyg het. Takke en ontwortelde bome wat die vloedwaters saam gesleur het, het die telefoondrade afgeruk en ons van die buitewêreld afgesny.” Later was Zannie en sy vrou Anita genoodsaak om die ou roete langs Die Leer aan te durf om voorade en medisyne te gaan haal. “Dis ‘n groot klim,” sê Zannie. “Dit het ‘n uur gevat om tot bo op die berge te kom. Op plekke is die roete ontsettend steil, en dit was boonop glibberig en modderig. Ons moes versigtig wees op die nat gilbberigge rotse. Dis ‘n ervaring wat ons nie gou sal vergeet nie.” Flip Esau, ‘n natuurbewaring diploma student, wat hulle op die kruin van die berg sou ontmoet, het ‘n avontuurlike reis gehad om by hulle uit te kom. Vanaf Oudtshoorn het hy Calitzdorp toe gery maar die Huisrivier het die pad en brug beskadig en hy moes via VanWyksdorp en Ladismith oor die Rooibergpas na Seweweekspoort ry en toe na Bosluiskloof om aan te sluit met ‘n pad na Die Leer. Anita is saam met Flip na Oudtshoorn, maar Zannie het omgedraai en die steil afdraend huis toe aangepak. “Ek het rustig gestap en op pad terug ‘n pragtige skulpfossiel ontdek,” sê hy.


(Tel No 023-541-1332)

The Swartberg Country Lodge in Prince Albert has once again come up trumps in the Diners Club Wine List Awards. For the second year in a row it is the only Karoo establishment on the list. Merit Certificates were awarded to 64 establishments throughout the country, and Blackie Swart, owner of the Swartberg Country Lodge, received one of the 32 awarded in the Western Cape Province.


(Tel No. 023-541-1366)

‘n Program vol pret word vir die Prins Albert Olyffees 2000 saaamgestel. Vanaf Vrydag, 28 April, wanneer die straatmark open tot Maandag,1 Mei, is daar volop vermaak. Op Saterdag is daar pret van vroeg tot laat. Die dag begin met ‘n eg Karoo-ontbyt. Daarna word die feestlike atmosfeer behou met parades en kompetisies by die stalletjies. In die aand is daar die “Karoo Kabaret en Dans in die Dam.” Ook op die program is gholf, ‘n trekker rit, ‘n “Milky Way” toer, ‘n half-maraton en ‘n veiling.


(Tel No 082-920-11240)

‘n Groot Karoofees gaan in Laingsburg gehou word vanaf Oktober 20 tot 22. Daar sal interessante stalletjies wees, heelwat uitstappies om die natuurprag te besigtig, ‘n 4 x 4 vloedroete, ‘n mini Boeredag met veteraan trekkers en heelwat oudtydse Boeresport en ‘n braaivleis en dans.