A highlight among the messages of congratulations received in Richmond, on the occasion of the town’s 150th anniversary, was a telegram from the 10th Duke of Richmond. It read: “I am pleased to send you my warmest congratulations on the 150th anniversary of Richmond. One day I would like to visit you, I hope all citizens of Richmond enjoy the celebrations.” Messages were also received from the mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Councillor Gina MacKinnery, and from Eileen Leo-Hayden, honorary secretary of Richmond Overseas Links, a non-political, non-sectarian organization formed to establish and maintain cultural, educational and social contact between communities bearing the name Richmond.


Hannes Botes, owner of the little Rietfontein farm stall at Leeu Gamka on the north/south route, has opened a restaurant. It meets the demands of tourists for an informal stop on this busy route where they can find a tasty treat and even a place to braai close to the N1. “Local communities ae delighted with this new stop and some have come from as far field as Prince Albert to enjoy these facilities,” says Hannes. “They say they aim to visit more often on Saturdays and Sundays. There is also much excitement at the fact that this spot also gives the locals a place to celebrate informal birthday parties.”


The Karoo National Park is to host the annual congress of the National Parks Board‘s Honorary Ranger Association next year. This event which is planned for October, 1994, promises to be an exciting one for the Karoo as such a congress has not yet been held in this area. Normally about 100 delegates attend these seminars which cover the ecology and conservation, as well as general information on the specific area and National Park where the congress is held.


A licence has been granted to Inter Cape’ Inter-City Bus Company to run a day time service through the Karoo. The company aims to start this on November 8. As part of the service they also plan to introduce a walk on\walk off ticket which will make it possible for tourists to get on and off the busses at specific places to enjoy a day’s visit to a particular area. Arrival time in Beaufort West will be just before lunch.


The caravan park at the Karoo National Park has been voted one of the top ten caravan parks in South Africa by the Caravan and Outdoors magazine. A certificate has been presented to manager, Fanie van Tonder, who was delighted with this top honour. “We did not even know they were here and carrying out an inspection. I feel that it is a feather in the cap of my staff who keep the facilities in tip-top shape at all times.”


Katie Klue of Klaarstroom has discovered that the demand for romantic weekend is increasing. At her farm Middelwater she offers accommodation in two elegant and tastefully appointed rooms with en-suite bathrooms. These suites lead onto a beautiful, shady and enclosed garden and a private lounge/dining room. Katie does all the catering and serving herself. For such clients she provides breakfast in bed, complete with fresh homemade bread and jams, as well as fresh flowers on the breakfast tray. Or, perhaps a sunrise snack in a secluded spot in the heart of the Swartberg. There are a series of secret shady spots along the river banks and in the foothills where lunchtime picnics can be enjoyed, or for those who really want to be alone, there is a huge dam filled with cool water from the mountain streams where a day can be spent skinny dipping and picnicking, if that is what is desired. And, in the evening special candle light dinners are provided. The area is a birding paradise and there are many magnificent walks, hikes and cycle trails through the Swartberg Mountains and local farming area that can be completed by using Middelwater as a base.


Dominee “Bombaai” van Rensburg and members of the Dutch Reformed Helderberg Community in Somerset West will visit Beaufort West on November 13 and 14 to discuss their international mission work programme. This minister was once stranded for quite some time in Bombay, India, during his student days and this led to him acquiring his curious nickname. Ds Bombaai had also done important work in regard to the collection of funds for the supply of Bibles to outlying communities.


A top German authority on tourism and internationally known travel writer, Dr Matthais Brenzinger, of the Instut fur Afrikanistik, at the University of Cologne, recently visited Prince Albert. He was on a brief study tour of South Africa to collect material for new guides that he is compiling on the holiday potential of this country.
While in Prince Albert he visited the Fransie Pienaar Museum to gain a better picture of the cultural history of the Karoo. He also gathered material on the town’s architectural heritage, the old gold fields on the farms Klein Waterval and Spreeufontein, as well as general information on fossils, the museum at Zwartskraal and on the fauna and flora of the Central Karoo.


A follow-up workshop in respect of strategic planning for tourism was once again arranged by SATOURand held in George. Co-operation between the regions was once again on the agenda as well as the creation of a committee to control regional promotional finances. The committee will be made up of members of the public and private sectors and this funding will come from SATOUR levies, among other sources.


A well-known South African artist and advertising consultant, Charles van Niekerk, visited Prince Albert in April and was so captivated by the area that he stayed for a while taking pictures and making sketches for a series of paintings. The paintings were recently exhibited and elicited a great deal of interest in the town Mr Van Niekerk also presented the Publicity Association with a series of 12 full colour A3 enlargements of the best photographs in his portfolio and agreed to make more photographs available so that post cards can be made.


Jurgens Klue a man who has lived in the Klaarstroom area for his entire life and so knows the Swartberg area extremely well, recently came across a curious spectacle that he had never before seen While conducting a fence inspection in an area deep in the mountains, he came across the body of a dead baboon that had been covered with rocks. There were also little snips of vygies and veld plants on the grave. “I could not believe my eyes. This place is so isolated that only the baboons could have done this,” he said. “No one else ever goes there. The fences were almost flat, so it must have been a very important funeral.”


Soon after the accommodation guide Staying in the Central Karoo was published radio personality Leslie McKenzie interviewed tourism officer Rose Willis on the venues and holiday potential of the area. This was broadcast in his Saturday morning show, Traveller’s Check. The response to this radio broadcast was overwhelming. Not only were more than 150 letters received in the first week after the broadcast, but there were also a great many phone calls/ The response came mainly from city people wishing to try somewhere different and more affordable for a holiday. Among the most interesting letters was one from Aubrey Hinchcliffe, who is currently slowly sailing around the world in a 35-foot junk-rigger schooner built on the design of Angus Primrose’s Warrior III hull. He said that this craft, built for ease and safety of sailing single-handedly, was called Upik. This was a word is from the Inuit language and it means “snow owl”.


TV presenter of the programme Boude en Blaaie, Pieter Pieterse, who also is a well-known South African author, recently called in at the Beaufort West Caravan Park with a small group of other “friends in vans”. He said they all thoroughly enjoyed relaxing in the shade of the trees and braaiing in this park. “There’s nothing like a relaxing stop, good food, and good company,” he said.


Every third Saturday throughout the summer busses from Pappa Nine stop at the Beaufort West Caravan Park. This is a company which arranges trips to south Africa for groups of between 26 to 40 German tourists. The Karoo is their first real stop in South Africa and they love it. A spokesman said: “These groups arrive at Jan Smuts. We collect them and drive to the Karoo via Kimberley They are amazed by the wide open spaces and the mountains. The friendliness of Lenore Lombard and her staff, as well as the hospitable atmosphere at our braais, which are arranged by the Gamka East Dutch Reformed Church all goes towards a very successful introduction to this beautiful country. We strive to arrive early enough for member of the group to walk in the veld, do some bird watching, or visit the Barnard exhibition in the local museum,”


Bagpipe music while you enjoy a meal? And, this is Beaufort West? You can hardly believe it, but it’s true. There is now a new restaurant in the heart of the Karoo and it is known as Mac Young’s. There is a Scottish theme throughout the dining area and this is even reflected on the menu. Trevor and Melony Young certainly did their homework. The Ladies’ Bar is known as St Andrew’s – the home of golf in Scotland. Tartan table cloths grace all the tables and chairs too are covered in tartan. Trout and whiskey, as well as Drambuie, appear on the menu. The theme goes right through to works of the Scottish bard, Robbie Burns, that are framed and hung at strategic spots through the restaurant,


Research has revealed more about Deelfontein and the Adamstein family who once lived there. The founder of the Hotel and business was Elias Adamstein, a penniless Lithuanian who came to South Africa in about 1890 Ostriches interested him and, as one of the pioneers of the industry, he did very well. He started a general dealer’s business in 1893 and travelled frequently to Cape Town. On one of these journeys he met James D Logan of Matjiesfontein. Elias was most impressed with this man and decide to emulate his style and start a hotel at a railway siding alongside the main road. He chose Deelfontein, a beautifully located site against koppies with the plains stretching in front of them. Initially he called his establishment the Deelfontein Hotel, but the name was later changed to Yeoman Hotel in honour of the Imperial Yeomanry tent hospital that once stood on these plains.

NOTE: Since this story was written it has been discovered that while Elias operated a successful farm in this area, it was only after the Anglo-Boer War that the hotel was built. The idea behind its establishment was to create a place for family members of the 135 service men buried in two nearby cemeteries to visit their graves after the war.


Farm holidays for school children at Boesmanskop were such a great success this year that Rietjie Vivier and Daine Zechner are already planning to arrange four more for 1994. The good news is that they have now had considerable enquiries from adults also wishing to experience the same sort of farm stay and take part in things like veld camps and nature viewing walks, that the children have so enjoyed.


The 1994 Arid Zone Ecology Forum will be held in Beaufort West over a three-day period in September next year The theme will be the Scientific, Economic and Social Integration of Range Management. This conference is an annual event presented by the foundation for research development and during the three days a series of scientific and agricultural papers will be presented, The chairman of the planning committee is Tim Hoffman of the University of cape Town and David Shearing is the chairman of the local organizing committee.


THE production team of the widely known television series, Spies and Plessis, as well as Jan Spies and PG du Plessis, recently visited Beaufort West museum. They recorded an interview with Professor Chris Barnard in the Barnard Museum in the old mission church, as well as in his old family home, next door, and from there went with him to the Karoo National Park. The interview will be broadcast later this year. This team also recorded a programme during the Richmond 150th anniversary celebrations and it was broadcast during the last weekend of October.


Mr Paul Brewsner, of the Department of Geography, at the University of Pretoria, is an authority on the development and management of hiking trails. He hopes to visit the Karoo to talk on this subject and to assist those towns and farmers who are interested in developing hiking trails. He stresses that trails must be well-planned and well-administered to succeed. They must fully meet the ecological needs of the area, as well as the psychological expectations of the hikers.


Victoria West is planning a huge game and hunting festival. This follows on the success of their first game festival which formed part of the town’s 150th anniversary celebrations earlier this year. The 1994 festival will be held over the weekend of June 24 and 25. Apart from rifles hunting and trophy hunting, a wide range of delicious venison dishes will be served. To date there has already been a great deal of interest and many hunting packages have already been booked. An air show and demonstrations by an aviation team and parachute jumpers will be the highlights of the Saturday programme. Knife makers, gun smiths and rifle engravers will also hold a series of talks on hunting, trophy hunting and game farming . The organizer of this festival is local farmer, Greeff Heydenrych


Pat Werdmuller, the “SPCA Lady” of Prince Albert is appealing for any old clothes or unwanted books. She uses these to raise funds to purchase much-needed medication for the animals which she tends. Full details of these items which she desperately needs can be obtained from the Information Office at the Fransie Pienaar Museum.


The Letjiesbos Farmer’s Association is planning to arrange six stock auctions each year. These will be held on the second Wednesday of every second month and will take place at the Beaufort West cattle kraals. The first is planned for December 8. Full details are obtainable from Gawie Theron.


Do you know a good tale and would you like to tell it? Well, the fund-raising committee of the Fransie Pienar Museum, Prince Albert is organizing a storytellers dinner. It is to be candle light event at the Golf Club on November 12. The rules are simply, the storyteller must be over 40, not object to the tale being recorded or written down and the tale should be about Prince Albert and its environs.


Please remember to keep Rose Willis and the tourist information office in formed of any dates of important functions and festivals that are being planned, so that these may be included in the Karoo Diary.