A rare and well-preserved fossil of a Gorgonopsian was found on Leeukloof recently when Friends of the South African Museum in Cape Town visited the Beaufort West area. “What made this find exciting,” said Dr Roger Smith, head of the museum’s palaeontology department, “is that it was a good example of this ancient carnivore and included a radius, elna and fingers. Also, it was found by a student, Jennifer Botha.” The 45 enthusiastic fossil hunters spent three days in the area searching for fossils under the guidance of the Museum’s Karoo-Paleo Team which includes Paul October, Hedde Stummer, Georgina Skinner and Roger Smith. They used the caravan park at the Karoo National Park as a base. “In general results at Leeukloof were good and the group found this most encouraging. We also spent time at Highlands and La-De-Da sampling three different time zones and looking at a variety of fossils. At present interest in fossils is high, particularly among international tourists. I would like to see this grow.I am thus delighted when farmers like Pottie Potgieter of Leeukloof offer us their support and work in close liaison to help us preserve the Karoo’s valuable fossil heritage. Anyone interested in searching for fossils should contact a research group such as ours as no one is allowed to excavate fossils without a permit. South Africa must take great care not to exploit this valuable heritage commercially.”


Die gewilde Wes-Kaap radiostasie, KFM gaan weereens tydens die Kersseisoen vanaf Beaufort-Wes uitsaai. En, vanjaar gaan die bemarkingspan van Wes-Kaap Toerismeraad met hulle kragte saam snoer om toeriste na die provinsie te verwelkom. Van die gewildste KFM omroepers sal vanaf 10 tot 17 Desember met reisigers gesels op die grasperk van Nuweveld Motors aan die noorde ingang tot die dorp. WKTR bemarkingsbestuurder Pieter Rossouw sê: AOns beoog om die vakansie seisoen weereens op ‘n feestig noot te laat begin. Ons will ook graag vir toeriste aanmoedig om op ‘n plesieriege en prettige wyse hul reise na die Kaapse-oorde aan te pak en so veel moontlik langs die pad te rus. Ons hoop om sodoende die ‘pad van die dood’ naam wat die N1 in hierdie gebied gekry het uit te wis. Groot pryse is dus tydens die promosie op die spel” STO voorsitter Herman de Witt, sê: “Ons sien uit na ‘n besige seisoen. Die N1 roete deur die Karoo is baie gewild. En die pragtige roete vanaf Beaufort-Wes deur Meiringspoort na die oorde van die Suid-Kaap, is weereens oop vir verkeer.”


A TV team tracing the route the British Army followed to battlefields of the Northern Cape and Free State during the Anglo Boer War recently stopped over in Beaufort West. Cameraman Jan Englebrecht and producer Henna Renfuran, of Nederlandsche Omsendingstigting (NOS) in Hilversum, Holland, were also commissioned by Satour Amsterdam to compile a short feature on the Karoo National Park. “We could not have wished for more perfect weather,” said Jan. “The days were ideallic and we managed to capture some excellent footage. We were impressed at the number of animals we were able to film. They almost appeared to come out and pose for the camera.” While in Beaufort West they also filmed part of the Anglo-Boer War section of the graveyard.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all readers

Geseënde Kersfees en ‘n Voorspoedige Nuwejaar aan alle lesers


Riverine rabbit numbers have dwindled to such an extent that they are now among the most endangered species in the world. These tiny creatures, threatened by loss of habitat, exist only in the Victoria West, Beaufort West, Williston and Sutherland areas in the centre of the Great Karoo. Chizette Kleinhans of Nature Conservation said: “Their numbers have dropped to dangerous levels and the species is on the brink of extinction. In 1986 there were 1435 riverine rabbits in the area, but current counts reveal that this has dropped dramatically.” Together with Dr Vicky Ahlmann and Dr Rob Little, director of WWF SA, she appealed to farmers to ensure that any small colonies on their farms be protected and allowed to survive. Riverine rabbits have only one kitten a year and only four offspring in their lifetime. For survival they depend on soft sands and ganna-like vegetation on riverbanks.


The Karoo National Park features in Caravan and Outdoor Life’s prstigious Top 20 South African Restors List for the third consectuive year. Only three National Parks are listed, and it is the only park in the Western Cape to be chosen. Tsitsikamma National Park, at Storms River Mouth in the Eastern Cape, was rated sixth, the Karoo National Park, eighth, and Letaba Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park, fourteenth. The magazine describes the Karoo natioanl Park as a “real gem in harsh Karoo landscape with large shady trees and extensive green lawns for caravans.” Its “Friendly reception and efficient approach to tourism” were praised by Mark van Dijk, who compiled the review.


Die vervardigers van die gesondheidsdrankie Red Bull span saam met Shell om padveiligheid te bevorder Tydens die Kersseisoen. Hulle het ‘n reeks promosies in Laingsburg, Beaufort-Wes en Colesberg gelanseer om die “drankie wat vlerke verleen” aan toeriste op die Warm N1 snel-wag bekend te stel en motoriste aan te moedig om versigtig en veilig te bestuur.


The people who once farmed on the land recently acquired by the Karoo National Park were all recently treated to an outing through the area. This was organised by the park’s Socio-Ecology Department and Central Karoo Regional Tourism office as part of an on-going campaign to record as much history of the area as possible. A talk detailing research conducted so far was given by Tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis during a potjiekos luncheon, co-sponsored by Shoprite. The event took place on the farm Grantham. The get-together helped jog many memories and much new material was recorded. Deon Strydom, manager of Shoprite said, “We were pleased to be part of this project as we are committed to the preservation of history.”


Murraysburg se mense het vanjaar met ‘n slim plan voor die dag gekom om die asemrowende gebied van die Sneeuberge wyer bekend te stel AOns het alle fietsryers van die Karoo genooi om saam met ons oor ‘n afstand van 105km deur die berge te ry,” sê Percy en Sarie Reynolds, organiseerders van die Karoo Cycle Crawl. “Die roete het 60km grond- en 45km teerpad ingesluit en dié wat saam gery het het die dag, en die prag van die gebied geniet. Ons het heelwat aanvrae gekry om dit te herhaal.”

LOOKING FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT (021-852-5968 or 023551-1751)

The Karoo has a subtle magic that invades the souls of those who enjoy holidaying in arid zones. It lures them back time after time in search of a different experience. To cater for these desires several new venues have entered the market, all offering eco-tourism experiences. In the Matjiesfontein area, on the farm Rietfontein there is a new self-catering cottage fully equipped for six visitors. “We built it in beautiful surroundings,” said Alan and Jean Veasey, owners of this historic farm. “Visitors are encouraged to explore, watch birds and game and generally discover the Great Karoo. There is a beautiful scenic drive through an area of fynbos and proteas behind the mountains, and of course, the charming little village of Matjiesfontein is nearby.”


Roy Oosthuizen, the Karoo’s own amateur palaeontologist has died. “He was a diligent researcher and highly respected by many academics around the world,” said Dr Roger Smith of the S A Museum. “He had a fossil named in his honour and for an amateur managed to establish quite an incredible collection. It included a variety of invertebrates, ancient lichen and the only eurypterid ever found. This is a large arthropod, rather like a giant sea scorpion. His unflagging interest was greatly admired by all who knew him, and many palaeontologists enjoyed visiting Roy on his Karoo farm, Swartskraal. As his interest developed and his collection grew, he sought our help. The SA Museum assisted him in cataloguing, labelling and displaying his collection in the tiny, private museum he established behind his house. As a mark of respect for our efforts and interest he willed his collection to the S A Museum. Most will now go to Cape Town, but some items will be moved to the display of Karoo and Bokkeveld fossils in the Fransie Pienaar Museum in Prince Albert. This is dedicated to his memory. His son is also considering maintaining a small museum on the farm in memory of his father. We will assist him with displays if he decides to go ahead with this idea.”


Die Karoo Nasionale Park het onlangs ‘n waardevolle geskenk gekry. Dis ‘n silwer gedenkmuntstuk wat deur die Parkeraad in 1979 met die opening van dié park geslaan en aan direkteure oorhandig is. Ou Raadslid Theo Behrens het by geleentheid van ‘n onlangse besoek aan die park syne weer aan die bestuur oorhandig. ADit muntstuk het vir my baie beteken en ek het dit altyd sorgvuldig bewaar. Nou skenk ek dit terug aan die park vir uitstal doeleindes.”


The name ‘Khoi-Khoi’ was concocted by the German philologist\trader\surveyor, Teophilus Hahn in 1880. “It first appeared in print a year later,” explains historian\researcher, Dr Cyril Hromnik, continuing his explanation of the 2000-year history of the Quena people (see Round-up No 72.) “Hahn’s aim was to try to find a better sounding replacement for the by then abusive name ‘Hottentot’. He did not invent it to rediscover the true name of the Quena people, but rather because he wanted to assuage the ‘misunderstanding and heartburning’ of his fellow ‘ethnologists’. Hahn never claimed that he had heard this name used by the parishioners at his father’s mission, nor by Quena in the Colony or further afield. Khoi-Khoi and all its variants never appears in the records of the old Cape Colony. Wellknown ethnologist Isaac Schapera used it in 1930 in a footnote to his book. While he refers to ‘Hottentot’ people and the ‘culture of the Hottentots’ in the main text, in the footnote he falsely claims that the ‘Hottentots’ called themselves ‘Khoi-Khoi” After him the name was picked up and misused by many academics who never investigated its meaning and origin. Any serious researcher would have found ‘Quena’ first recorded in Jan van Riebeeck’s Dagregister on January 9, 1653, and again on October 31, 1657,” said Dr Hromnik.


The official delegates from 14 countries at the First National Bank’s International Mohair Symposium during the 1999 World Expo in Beaufort West all returned home with more than a memory. Western Central Tourism Board provided copies of the province’s new promtional video The Western Cape – Truly Africa’s Fairest.” These were handed to the head of each delegation by Central Karoo RTO chairman Herman de Witt. The delegates represented New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, the USA, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Argentina, Swaziland and Lesotho. International speakers included Robert Weatherall, MD of Alpha Tops, and Richard Stork, chairman of British Mohair, both from Bradford, England, Duncan Davidson, CEO of Whitley Willows Mill in Huddersfield, England, and Kaj Hordijk chairman of Schellens Textiles in Eindhoven, Holland. The latter is part of Gamma Holdings, one of Europe’s largest textile producers. They discussed production, products, ladies’ fashion and furnishing fabrics. Non-fashion textiles was discussed by Denys Hobson, chairman of Cape Mohair Holdings. and men’s wear by Dieter Mielke, chairman of S A Fine Worsteds, in Cape Town. A short while ago he set up the Karchane Afshar Mills in Persia. There was also a top-class fashion show, featuring some of the country’s top models, a gala banquet and a champagne breakfast


Twenty-two legendary Ghosts were recently seen cruising the streets of Prince Albert. All these magnificent vehicles belonged to members of the International Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Association taking part in the Wholly Ghost Rally from Durban to Cape Town. Eighteen vehicles, all made between 1908 and 1926, were brought to South Africa especially for this rally. Eleven came from the United Kingdom, five from Australia and two from the United States, where, in the 1920s Rolls Royce had a factory in Springfield, Ohio. One of the American vehicles was last year driven from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Pacific Ocean at the tip of South America. A visitor from Guernsey boasted another American-made ghost. It ‘starred’ with Robert Redford in the film The Great Gatsby. The oldest vehicle came from Northern Ireland where, quipped the owner, “A Rolls Royce is the easiest car to steal. No Irish policeman would ever have the temerity to ask a man in Rolls if he owned the car!” “The rally, arranged to raise funds for the Red Cross Childrens’s Hospital in Cape Town, took two years to organise,” said club member Bob Johnson, from Simonstown. “Response from overseas was good, so we planned routes to include as many scenic spots as possible.” The Aarid zone route” included two magnificent passes of the Swartberg Mountains. The drove through Meiringspoort to Oudtshoorn and back into the Great Karoo across the awesome Swartberg Pass to Prince Albert. AThe Silver Ghost has been acclaimed as the best car in the world,” said Bobby who illustrated the point by pointing out that he has driven his Silver Ghost for over 50 years. “Rolls Royce is considered the vehicle of royalty, the rich and famous, but they are extremely functional. Many were used as armoured cars and ambulances during World War I.”


In 1919 het ‘n jong man besluit om in Beaufort-Wes agter te bly toe die res van sy gesin Kaapstad toe getrek het. Kort daarna het hy spoorloos verdwyn, of so wil dit vir mnr C H Mostert voorkom. Hy is besig om ‘n geslagsregister van die Mostert-gesin saam te stel. AAntonie was die vierde van Tobias en Hester Mostert se veertien kinders. Sy oupa-grootjie Tobias was die eienaar van Dawidskolk op Fraserburg, ‘n plaas wat sy oupa, Dawid, en later sy pa ook geêrf het. Antonie Johannes Christoffel is op 24 Junie 1895 gebore en my pa, een van sy broers, onthou die broertjie nog goed. Maar, toe die familie in 1919 na die Kaap verhuis het, het Antonie besluit om in Beaufort-Wes agter te bly. Teen daardie tyd was hy al 24, so ek vermoed hy het dalk in die dorp getrou en miskien eiendom besit. Ek hoop iemand sal vir my kan help om sy storie op te spoor.”


Three breeding pairs of martial eagles that nest in Escom powerlines on La-De-Da, outside Beaufort West, have been carefully watched for years Shortly after the first pair chose a huge pylon along the 400 000V line as a home, Escom’s Arnold Hutchinson began monitoring their activities. Under his kindly eye and in this rather hostile environment, they built nests and raised their chicks for years. “In time two more nests appeared and the area of my survey increased. I compiled regular reports on all movements and activities at each site for Koos de Goede of Raptor Research.” In recognition of his work at these sites as well as those at Zeekoegat and Hottentotsriver, Arnold received a badge and certificate from the Raptor Research Organisation and the compliments of researcher Gerhard Verdoorn. Then Herman de Vries, owner of the Oasis Hotel in Beaufort West, purchased La-De-Da, and applied to Cape Nature Conservation to declare the eagle nests conservation sites within their environmental conservation programme. His request was granted. Total South Africa has now also become involved and erected information boards on the farm declaring it a conservation area.


Prins Alberters beoog om ‘n pont reis op die Gamkapoortdam te begin. Die roete sal toeriste met asemrowende uitsigte van die berge beloon. Die pond roete sal naby die Swartbergpas begin en in die omgewing van Seweweekspoort eindig. Diegene was in so in ‘n rit sou belangstel kan Prins Albert Toerismebeampte Trudie Nel bel by 023-541-1366 bel. Sy ko-ordineer alle menings.