A new brochure which brings the magic of the Great Karoo to life will soon be available. It reveals the enchantment of this vast area with its kaleidoscope of colour. It is for those who plan to visit and to remind those who know and love the Karoo of its delights. This information brochure details the Karoo’s evolution from swamp to semi-desert. It has information on rocks, fossils, fauna and flora through the millenia to the present day, as well as backgrounds on towns, settlements and unusual places, such as Matjiesfontein, the passes and Gamkaskloof, better known as The Hell. As it is also aimed at the international market, the text is in English, but an Afrikaans version is on the way.


Mnr John van der Merwe, van die Sentrale Karoo Distrikraad is een van nege hoof uitvoerende beamptes van distrikrade in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie wat seem met die Minister van Landbou, Beplanning en Toeriame, mnr Lampie Fick, oorsee gaan reis om toerisme te bevorder. Die groep sal besoek aflê by World Travel Market, London, en Bath, Engeland, sowel as in Dublinin Ierland.


Sunnyside, once a top holiday venue in the Karoo, has been rediscovered by Beaufortwester John Smith. This guest farm/hotel. only 29km from town, was started in the 1930s by Senator H Nel. It had 20 en-suite rooms, which was quite something in those days. It was extremely popular until it stopped operating about 15 years ago. Then Dennis and Miemie Nel lived in a portion of the building until they retired to Still Bay. Today the fragrance of old roses still greets one as you drive into the grounds and park under ancient pepper trees. The garden is still striking, filled with many secluded little spots and fish ponds. It has been allowed to ramble, which adds greatly to the charm. Here the magic has not faded. It still pervades the huge, cool rooms, comfortably furnished in the style of yesteryear. John plans to develop Sunnyside into a Karoo hideaway and conference centre. Part will be opened to meet the demand of the festive season.


Beaufort-Wes Toerisme- en Reklamevereniging het groot planne vir die toekoms. Onder leiding van die nuwe voorsitter, Hillary Steven-Jennings, beplan hulls ‘n reeks werkswinkels vir 1997. Die doel sal wees om diens en standarde hoog te hou. Die vereniging poog ook om ‘n inligtingskentoor in die museum oop te meek voor die Kersseisoen, sodat toeriste van die nodige inligting oor die dorp voorsien kan word. Daar is ook heelwat ander plane om toeriste in die dorp te vermaak.


Good service will always be a winner. This was recently proved in Laingsburg when a thank you card written 35 years ago came “home”. In the 60s when Dagbreek Rooms, which started as a boarding house, entered the tourism market, Mrs Grieta van der Merwe, mother of the present owner, was intensely aware of the importance of good service. As a courtesy gesture, she always wrote a personal note of thanks which was presented with the bill. One American guest was so impressed he kept the card. Back home he passed it on to a colleague, who gave it to a German friend. In his turn he recommended these humble rooms to acquaintances who passed the card to a party of young Germans intending to visit South Africa. They confidently arrived at Dagbreek and, as they instantly seemed at home, current owners Mollie van der Merwe and her sister Lida du Plessis asked how they’d heard of the place. They were then proudly told the tale and the card was produced. Unbeknown to them it had attracted several budget-conscious guests to their door.


Beaufort-Wes se Formula 1 Hotel is nou oop en dis ‘n wenner. Dis dedl van ‘n groep wat meer as 370 hotelle deur die wêreld het wat skoon, netjies en veilige akkomodasie teen billike pryse voorsien. Kamers het slaapplek vir een, twee of drie gaste. Daar is ‘n dubbelbed en vol-grote stapelbed, stort, toilet, lug-reeling, kleur televisie en wekker in elks kamer en ‘n kontinentale ontbyt word vanaf 06.30 tot 10h00 bedien. “Natuurlik ook teen ‘n billike prys,” sê bestuurder Rob Pollitt. “En gaste wat ‘n grater maaltyd wil geniet kan gerus by die nuwe Saddles Restourant langsaan eet.’


The annual Metro Specialist Road Rescue Service is once again gearing up to patrol the notorious “Death Stretch” of the N1 between Beaufort West and Laingsburg. Units will be stationed along this route as the holiday season peaks from December 11 to 16. Geoff Bettison, head of the service announced that the organisation this year hopes to have sufficient sponsorship to offer a 24-hour service from Three Sisters to Worcester. He has appealed to organisations interested in supporting the operation to contact him. Metro is a voluntary, community-based project manned by professionals qualified to assist in cases of medical emergencies on the highway. Last year 44 patients from 18 motor accidents were treated and a wide range of non-medical assistance was also given. “Over the years the public has become more aware of our service and motorists encourage us by flashing lights, hooting, waving or stopping for a chat,” he said. The project is supported by Laingsburg and Beaufort West who offer duty officers. food and accommodation.


Somige mense glo vas dat dit spook op die pad tussen Beaufort-Wes en Leeu Gamka. In die sewentiger jare het stories in Die Courier verskyn onder opskrifte soos “Haunted Highway.” Onderhoude was veral gevoer met vragmotor-bestuurders. Baie het gesê hulle vermy eerder daardie stuk pad in die donker. Daar het glo vreemde ligte verskyn en verdwyn. Ene Norman Solelego het gesweer dat ‘n motor wat twee keer by sy trok wou verbysteek, eenvoudig verdwyn het toe die motor gelyk trek. ‘n Ander keer toe hy snaakse ligte in die truspeel gewaar het by onmiddelik gestop, maar die ligte was skoonveld. ‘n Ander bestuurder, Benjamin Maseko, het hierdie stories bevestig. Hy het ook ‘n vrou langs die pad gesien wat net verdwyn het, en ene mev Palwiet, ‘n spoowegwerkster van daardie dae, het vas geglo die stories is blote bog totdat sy eendag self die ligte gewaar het op die spookpad tydens ‘n rit terug na Beaufort-Wes. “Spook of te nie, ek het my boeglam geskrik, toe hulle sommer voor my oë verdwyn het.”


International scientists recently treated to traditional hospitality in Prince Albert, loved it. An “experience not to be forgotten” was the consensus of a group that included 58 members of the International Association of Vegetation Scientists. They came from Austria, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Korea, the Czechoslovakian Republic, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and United States. The trip was organised by Professor K A Lubke, of Rhodes University Department of Botany. Local tour leaders were Drs Sue Milton and Richard Dean, who arranged an extensive study programme of Karoo succulents. The Karoo it richest succulent area in the world.


Prince Albertere werk met ywer om die kultuur historiese erfenis van hul dorpie te behou. Die dorp bet onlange nog it juweel in sy “erfenis kroon’ gekry met die verklaring van Forsyth se Winkel as nasionale gedenkwaardigheid. Die winkel, vandag die eiendom van Julie Smit, en tuiste van Pep Stores, het in 1860 begin as ‘n klerasie en ysterwerke winkel. Vir jare was dit die grootste en belangrikste winkel in Prince Albert. Alles van rok materiaal en spykers tot doodskiste en windpompe kon hier gekoop word. Toe die Swartbergpas gebou is en goud in die area ontdek is, het die winkel ‘n bloeitydperk beleef. Die Anglikaanse kerk is ook onlangs as gedenkwaardigheid verklaar. Daar is nou 13 nasionale gedenkwaardighede op die dorp.


A public meeting will be held in Prince Albert on October 31 to discuss the declaration of the town’s historic core as a conservation area. A wellknown architect, Derek Thomas, and a representative of the National Monuments Council will be present to answer questions residents may have before the proposal is put to the vote. Johan Mulder, Tourism Bureau Chairman, and Lydia Barella of the Fransie Pienaar Museum Board of Trustees, have both stressed the importance of conservation. “It is indeed vitally important in the platteland and a major factor in tourism promotion. Even the humblest cottage has a role to play,” said District Council Chairman Herman de Witt. “If keen attention is not paid to preservation, the architectural heritage of the hinterland will end in a heap of rubble. That is why it was indeed a sad day recently when in Beaufort West a Karoo cottage was demolished without permission We strongly appeal to the National Monuments Council to assist us in preventing such happenings in future.”


Amptelike proklamering van ‘n voëlreservaat by Beaufort-Wes rioolwerke beteken baie vir die William Quinton Wildevoëlvereniging. “Lede het lank daarvoor gewerk,” sê voorsitter Japie Claassen. “Tot hede is meer as 125 species al daar aangeteken. Ons het bevestig dis ‘n belangrike broeiplek vir teeleendjies, bleshoenders, gryskopmeeue, bloubekeende, geelborshandliewietjies en bontkiewiete. Baie seldsame, swerwers van die Karoo, soos die nonnetjie-eend, kleinswartrugmeeu, witpelikaan, water dikkoppe en grootlangtone, kan ook hier gesien word. Die reserveat bied kykers ‘n geleentheid om die spesiale voëls van die Karoo van nader te besigtig. Besoekers het al wardevolle voëls soon Kemphowe, gewone-, bos-, groenpoot- en moerasruiters, sowel as klein- en krombekstrand-lopers daar gesien.”Die vereniging is nou besig om fondse in te samel sodat hulle ‘n uitkykplek kan bou.


The Southern African Tourism Services Association has opened a new category of membership open to all who wish to be “Friend. of SATSA’. Office manager Lyn Marx says anyone directly or indirectly involved can now join at an annual fee of R140 plus tax.


Laingsburg bied ‘n Rugbydag aan op 5 November. Die dorp nooi nie net alle Oud Laingsburg Rugbyklub-spelers uit om die naweek saam met hulle te kom geniet nie, maar ook enige oud-spelers wat in die bevordering van rugby op die platteland belangstel. “Dit sal ‘n pretige naweek wees,” sê Piet Geldenhuys, een van die organiseerders. “Daar sal interessante wedstryde wees. ‘n uitstalling van ou fotos sowel as ‘n braai en dans. En, die rugby stories sal iets wees wat nie misgeloop mag word nie.”


Conservationist Ken Coetzee is now offering a new service to those requiring conservation assistance. His field of advice covers design, planning, habitat, fencing and management, game utilisation, erosion control and all aspects of management. He can advise on all aspects of setting up private reserves, planning of hiking routes, hides and the like, right through to the correct signage to erect. He service is based on 25 years’ experience in conservation and tourism.


Die St Mathews skoolgroep Wat as finaliste in die Bestuur- en Omgewings-kompetisie die Jeug symposium in Golden Gate bygewoon het, het goed presteer. Daar is hulle as ‘n top span beskou en as “brugbouers” in die natuur benoem. “Dit is ‘n groot eer vir die span,” sê Zuilega Rossouw, sosio-ekoloog van die Karoo Nasionale Park, wie ‘n dryfkrag agter die kompetisie was. “Beaufort-Wes spanne het albei goed gevaar.”


The teachers of Beaufort West are going back to school to attend a three-day workshop at the Karoo National Park. Presented by NATSOC, the Naturalist Society. “This workshop is designed to give teachers the necessary grounding and basic knowledge to enable them to introduce ecology into the curriculum. It is a very sought after course, presented by a highly skilled group of eight facilitators,” said Zuilega Rossouw, socio-ecologist at the Karoo National Park. “We expect about 50 teachers to attend.”


Boere-oorlog navorsers Taffy en David Shearing het onlangs weer die Groot Karoo besoek – die keer op die spoor van “rebelle”. Hulle soektog het hulle deur die Beaufort-Wes en Murraysburg omgewings geneem en tot in die Oos-Kaap. “Ons wil die name opspoor van almal wat aan die kant van die Boere geveg het,” sê David. “Ek het al agt duisend name op my rekenaar, en ek wil sorg dat eer ook aan hierdie stryders betoon word tydens die herdenking van die oorlog in 1999.” Terwyl hy in Beaufort-Wes was is David Shearing met die ere onder-voorsitterskap van die Boere-unie bekroon. Hy is die sesde ontvanger van hierdie toekenning. Ron de Villiers, die eerste wat so vereer is, was ook by die vergadering.


A move is now afoot to try to collect the names of all the men who rode with General Jan Smuts on his dash through the Cape in 1901. The names of locals who joined Commandants such as Ben Bouwer, Jaap de Villiers and Kirsten, who came from the Marico area of the Transvaal to join Smuts, are also needed. Please call the Tourism Office if you have any information.


Daar is ‘n juweel op die spoorlyn deur die Karoo, en dit is Beaufort-Wes stasie. Dit is onlangs as die mooiiste in die Wes-Kaap aangewys en het ‘n beker van mnr Dolf Kloppwers, hoof van Hooflyn Passiersdienste op 23 Oktober ontvang.