Rose’s Round-Up September 2000 No 82

//Rose’s Round-Up September 2000 No 82

Rose’s Round-Up September 2000 No 82


An illiterate who uses a sophisticated scientific system as an everyday tool has presented the Great Karoo to Dutch TV viewers. A TV crew from the Netherlands recently visited the Karoo National Park to film the ultra-modern CyberTracker wildlife management system for the popular Jules Unlimited series broadcast by VARA. “Each 25-minute broadcast, designed to keep viewers abreast of the latest scientific developments, has well over a million viewers” , says researcher Julia Greiner. “The programme relies on active hosts and good camera angles to make viewers feel part of what they see”. The man who uses the CyberTracker and who put it through its paces for the TV team was Pokkie Benade, an illiterate but expert game tracker.

Pokkie’s first contact with the park was 23 years ago when he worked as a labourer on one of the teams contracted to clear the area so that it could be proclaimed a national park. Once the park became a reality, Pokkie joined the permanent staff. As the park developed, so he moved up through the ranks to become a field ranger. “His keen eyesight and superb powers of observation made him an ideal choice” , says park manager Leighton Hare. “Pokkie has never learned to read and write. At first he tracked the animals on foot. Later he used a vehicle to reach specific spots and then flitted from tree to tree like a shadow, recording the movements of various species. Now he uses the CyberTracker, a computerised, satellite-linked system which makes use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) to record the movement of individual animals, their grazing patterns and footprints for a databank”.


Meiringspoort, die gewilde roete tussen die Groot en Klein Karoo, word op 20 Oktober heropen. Dertig maande gelede is die poort so erg beskadig tydens ‘n vloed dat dit gesluit moes word. Vir twee en ‘n half jaar was eenrigting verkeer moontlik en daar moes lank gewag word by verskeie versperrings, Maar dis nou alles oor. Die pad is herstel, herbou en verbeter en hierdie pragtige toerisme roete deur die prag en natuurskoon van die Swartberg kan weer ten volle benut word.


Matjiesfontein, the grand duchess of the Karoo, has been given a facelift. Owner David Rawdon recently completed a major revamp and refurbishment of the village and the Lord Milner Hotel complex. This included the provision of new riverside accommodation, the creation of a conference centre and motor museum. To celebrate the completion of the project he invited a small party of friends to “an opening weekend”. On arrival, they were transported into the elegant world of Old England. They were required to “dress for dinner” before being conveyed in a red London bus to a 1940’s railways dining car to enjoy cocktails. A splendid dinner in the Lord Milner’s Victorian dining room followed. Much later, nightcaps to the music of a minstrel group in the traditional pub set the folk dancing, some almost until dawn. “It was wonderful. Gave us a taste of what Matjiesfontein must have been like in its heyday” , said one.


Tourism is an exciting world with a wide variety of job opportunities. This was the message given to matriculation pupils at Mandlenkosi High School in Beaufort West by Central Karoo regional tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis and Western Cape Tourism Board’s co-ordinator of the Tourism Education Trust programme Msi Nxele. Their talks were designed to create an awareness of the wider world of tourism. “All too often people see a jobs in tourism as only guides, tour and travel organisers, ticket booking services or information dissemination”. said Rose. A We tried to show them that there is wide scope with many exciting possibilities in the world of tourism”.


Die Suid-Afrikaanse toerismebedryf gaan omvattend herskep word deur nuwe wetgewing wat in die Parlement ter tafel gelê word. In ‘n artikel in Sake Burger skryf Hein Swart dat Satoer en die toergidsstelsel herstruktureer gaan word. Dit beteken dat enigeen wat voortaan as gids wil optree geregistreer sal moet wees. Die transformasie vind plaas teen die agtergrond van nuwe beleidsontwikkelings met betrekking tot toerisme, onderwys, opleiding, arbeid, geslagtelikheid, menseregte en omgewingsbestuur. Satoer sal suiwer ‘n toerisme bemarkingsorganisasie wees.


Beaufort West, Laingsburg and Murraysburg delegates said they were given fresh impetuous by the Tourism Help Desk workshop recently presented at the Karoo National Park by Charles Langdon and Bruno Dusman of Empower. The programme, backed by the Department of Tourism, is designed to establish Tourism Help Desks to assist with development of small, tourism-related businesses throughout each region of the Western Cape Province..


Gerry Theron, parkhoof van Blyderivierspoort, was verheug om onlangs seldsame diertjies op ‘n Karooplaas te sien. Hy het verdere ondersoek gaan instel en vir André en Suzaan Theron van Nova Vita later laat weet watter eienaardige diertjies op hul plaas te sien is. “Een is die Namaqualand panser akkedis Gerrhosauris typicis wat in die rooi data boek as bedreig aangedui is” , sê hy. “Dan was daar ‘n mosseltjie, of ‘fairy tadpole,’ wat net in die Nuweveldreeks voorkom, en ‘n dikkop gelemijntjie Barbis anoplus wat totaal by sy omgewing aangepas het. Hierdie vissies is normaalweg silwerkleurig, maar hier het hulle goud geraak en lyk nou presies soos sonstrale op water”.


Jan Schoeman, better known in the Karoo as Outa Lappies, recently received the Tourism Personality of the Year award in the Western Cape Tourism Board Premier’s MTN Cape Tourism Awards competition. It was presented to him by Western Cape Premier Gerald Morkel. Outa Lappies built a “Wall of Culture” on the farm where he lives, Botterkraal, about 20km from Prince Albert. He is often seen along the byways of the Karoo pulling his strange rickshaw which has attached to it a line of rattling little “lighthouses” of dwindling size. This conveyance, his colourful patchwork clothes and the wall of glass and shards intrigue tourists and encourage them to stop for a chat on the road between Prince Albert and Prince Albert Road.


Daar is normaalweg net ses dames in Laingsburg wat gholf speel, en jaarliks sien hulle uit na die Dames Gholfdag op die plaaslike baan. Maar vanjaar is dit vol bespreek. “Die geleentheid het so populêr geword dat laat inskrywings nou weggewys moet word. Dames van regoor die Wes-Kaap sal op 20 Oktober meeding vir ‘n trofee en groot pryse” , sê Francis van Wyk een van die organiseerders. “Die Laingsburg Dames Gholfdag is baie meer as net nog ‘n gholfwedstryd. Ons gebruik die geleentheid om toerisme in ons gebied te bevorder en besoekers ‘n heerlike Karoo ontbyt by Laings Lodge, een van die hoof borge van die geleentheid, aan te bied. Gaste word ook ingelig oor Laingsburg se


The riverine rabbit in-pen breeding programme at the Karoo National Park has come to a successful end. As agreed when this programme was started almost seven years ago, four adult rabbits, three females and one male have been returned to Jan Human, of Sandgat near Victoria West, who contributed breeding stock to the original project at De Wild Research Centre, near Pretoria. “These were the only rabbits still in the pens when we closed them down” , said park manager Leighton Hare. “We are thus confident a small colony has settled and are breeding naturally”. The two experts, Ken Coetzee of Conservation Management Services, and Dr Rod Randall, of S A National Parks, recently completed phase one of a research project to identify rabbit habitats in relatively flat terrain and on the edges of the escarpment. They combined their expertise with remote sensing devices and digital satellite imagery to identify habitats” , said Leighton. “This clearly demonstrates how modern technology can be used in conservation”.


Tussen Johanna Spann van Beaufort-Wes en Sydney Witbooi van die Karoo Nasionale Park is die geheim van die pragtige bome naby die waterval buite die dorp ontrafel. Na Johanna die storie in Round-up No 81 gelees het, het sy ‘n stuk van die boom vir identifikasie doeleindes gaan haal. Sydney het dit nageslaan en uitgevind dat die Schotia afra var.angustifolia is. In Afrikaans word dit dit Karooboerboon genoem, in Engels die Karoo Boer-bean en in Xhosa die umQongci. “Daar is nie eers een van hierdie pragtige bome in die park nie” , sê Sidney. “Ons vermoed die bome by die waterval die enigstes in die gebied is. Karooboerboonbome kom normalweg voor langs riviere en teen heuwels in die Klein Karoo en Oos-Kaap. Dit is wel moontlik dat die bome naby Beaufort-Wes gegroei het van sade wat ingekom het saam met perde voer tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog “ , sê Sydney. Boerbone is wonderlike blombome met soet nektar wat voëls lok. Die volksnaam “boerboon” verwys na die sade wat vroeër jare deur die boere fyngemaal was as a plaasvervanger vir koffie. Argeologiese ontdekkings bewys dat sade deur mense benut is sedert die Laat Steentydperk.. “Bome kan maklik van vars saad gekweek word” , se Sydney. “Hulle groei egter baie stadig”.


Members of Murraysburg’s tourism committee are beautifying this Karoo town by planting trees and flowers at strategic spots. “We hope that by Christmas our village will be beautiful enough to encourage tourists to stop” , said project organiser Alida Vermeulen. Research reveals that the town once before held a festive-tree planting day. This was back in 1902 to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. An article in the Courier of August that year states: “Notwithstanding the great trials Murraysburg has had during the years of war, there was a good attendance of local residents and farmers from the district for the coronation celebrations. With few exceptions there was a hearty show of goodwill. Rev Perold of the Dutch Reformed Church preached a stirring sermon calling for loyalty to king and country. After this an oak and acacias were planted and New Park was renamed Coronation Park. Speeches were made by the Rev Perold, the mayor, Mr van der Merwe, the magistrate, Mr Hudson, as well as Mr Sackville-West and Mr D Theron. The health of the king was drunk at noon to great applause. In the afternoon horse races and other events were held and in the evening a display of fireworks wound up one of the brightest days the town has seen for years”.


“Ek was bly om in Round-up van Junie te lees dat mnr Arnold Hutchinson van Beaufort-Wes die pseudokool laag van die Karoo bestudeer” , skryf Johan Loock, geoloog van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat. “Ek het ses jaar gelede die pseudokoollaag van Leeurivierspoort se ‘myn’ gesien en ek koop nie die storie dat die myne toegeskiet is om die Britte te verhoed om die kool te gebruik tydens die Anglo-Boereoorlog nie. Die pseudokool kom voor as ‘n dun en nie ‘n dik laag nie. Die storie van die Prins Albert myn is vreemd. Ek sal graag meer wil weet. Daar is wel swart skalie naby Klaarstroom, wat gemyn was. Daar was wel ‘n myn noordwes van Laingsburg”.


When Laingsburg mayor Mike Gouws heard of German tourists stranded outside the village he personally sped to the rescue. This greatly impressed Professor Wolfgang Mitter and his wife, who were on a conducted exploration of the Karoo with Keith van der Schyff of Redwood Tours. Their vehicle broke down a short distance from Laingsburg and Keith, a former resident, telephoned the village to see if anyone would collect his passengers and take them to tea. “We were greatly honoured and surprised to be told our good Samaritan was the mayor. He did us proud”. said Professor Mitter. “Not only did Mr Gouws show the visitors Laingsburg and its surrounds, he entertained them with tales of its history and delivered them safely to the farm where they were to have lunch. This is top class service” , said Keith. Professor Mitter, an expert in comparative education, met with tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis in Beaufort West to discuss the Western Cape Tourism Board’s Schools Training programme and the Karoo National Park’s Ou Schuur Information Centre and Community Project, which he pronounced as impressive.


Twee jong mans wat tydens ‘n kragonderbreking in Prins Albert beland het was baie beindruk met die gasvryheid van die dorp. Hulle was langsafstand atleet Frikkie Cornelius en sy bestuurder Fanie Stanton. “Voor ons in die donker verdwaal het was vriendelike inwoners byderhand om akkommodasie en kos aan te bied” , sê Frikkie wie elke dag 50km hardloop op ‘n vondsinsameling veldtog vir Transoranje Skool vir die Dowes. Sy mikpunt is R200 000. Frikkie en Fanie was by The Views gehuisves, die Swartberg Country Lodge het hul etes geborg en Valentine Retief van Bijlia Cana het Frikkie se bene gemaseer voor hy weer die pad gevat het.


The Karoo forms part of the programme for international Guernsey breeders attending a congress in South Africa next year. They will explore the Karoo and Swartberg Mountains from Prince Albert from March 11 to 13. Their programme includes drives through Meiringspoort and across the Swartberg Pass, a stroll along the Koppie Bossie Trail, a historic tour of the village and a visit to the museum. They will also enjoy safari drives, bird watching, a traditional braai and a breakfast at Gays Dairy.


Prins Albert Tuinbouklub het die tuin van die Fransie Pienaar Museum onder hulle vlerk geneem in ‘n poging om die dorp vir toerisme op te kikker. Heelwat inwoners het stamrose ter nagedagtenis aan geliefdes geborg om langs die paadjie na die voordeur geplant te word. Die idee is om ‘n prag tuin te skep wat toeriste se aandag sal trek en meer besoekers na die museum lok.


Eighteen Prince Alberters recently attended a special training course arranged by Mari du Toit of the development committee. Thirteen passed the tests. “The reason for this is that some people attended only to gain more information about their town” , said Mari “One of these was eight-year-old Lance van Niekerk, who wanted to find out more about the cannon in the church grounds”. Badges and certificates were presented to these new info guides at the Tourist Bureau’s Annual General Meeting. These people will assist the bureau during major events such as the Olive Festival.


Kuier om ‘n kampvuur is ‘n heerlike ervaring en ‘n egte erfenis van die Karoo sê Prins Albert se toerisme ontwikkelingskomitee. Hulle het dus ‘n kampvuur kuier in die Swartberge vir Erfenisdag gereël. “Dit was ‘n reuse sukses” , sê organiseerder Mari du Toit. “Ons het in die agtermiddag met ‘n piekniek begin, sommer vroeg ons vure aan die gang gekry want dit was donkermaan. Teen die aand het ‘n fris windjie opgekom en dit het almal styf teenmekaar laat sit om na spookstories van die berge te luister terwyl hulle heerlike potjiekos geniet het. Toeriste wat bygewoon het het die uitstappie geniet”.