Beaufort West Tourist Bureau wants to establish a Karoo Botanic garden right in the heart of the region. Newly-appointed BWTB marketing chairman, Koos van Dyk, says: “We constantly tell tourists that the Karoo has the richest desert flora in the world, that Beaufort West alone has more plant species than the whole of Great Britain, yet we cannot show them much of this indigenous flora. The nearest place to see it is at the Karoo Garden at Worcester.” This garden originated at Matjiesfontein, where “Daddy Jim,” son of charismatic James D Logan, Laird of Matjiesfontein, indulged his love of Karoo flora by assembling a considerable private collection of plants. Fearing their loss when he died, he bequeathed his collection to Kirstenbosch. As arid zone plants could not survive there, experts moved the collection to Worcester, where over the years the desert garden has become a top attraction. Now, Beaufort West wishes to take the promotion of Karoo flora a step further. “With the aid of experts, we would like to create an indigenous garden alongside the N1, a major highway carrying millions of tourists to and from Cape resorts throughout the year. If we are successful in accessing funding, we would harness local talent and create many sustainable jobs. We envisage including several special features designed to encourage tourists to stop. Research reveals a growth in tourists wishing to see indigenous flora in its natural surroundings,” says Koos.


Toe Herman en Susan Perold hul agt jaar gelede in die Karoo kom vestig het, het hulle geglo dit was om te rus. Maar, dit was nie so maklik om die wynwêreld van Stellenbosch agter te laat nie. ʼn Besoek van ʼn ou vriend, Wouter Pienaar, kellermeester van Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery het hulle oorreed om ʼn “paar wingerdstokkies” te plant op hul een hektaar erf. “ʼn Paar het ʼn paar honderd geword en toe ʼn paar duisend,” sê Susan. Nou na vele hardewerk het hulle geoes, wyn gemaak en bottles vol ryk helder rooskleurige wyn pronk op hul rakke. “Dis die wonderlikste ding om ʼn klein wynbedryf in die middel van ʼn Karoo dorpie soos Prince Albert te hê,” sê Susan. “Ons het besluit om ʼn ‘soete’ te produseer omdat Prins Albert min reen kry en warm is. Ons is trots op ons Karoo Karmosyn wyn,” sê Susan


When Herman and Susan Perold decided to move to the Karoo eight years ago, they believed it was to rest and relax. But, all to soon they found it was not so easy to leave the Stellenbosch “world of wine” behind. A visit from an old friend, Wouter Pienaar, cellar master of Stellenbosch Farmers’ Winery convinced them to plant a few vines on their one-hectare erf. “A few soon became a few hundred and then a few thousand,” said Susan. Now, after a great deal of hard work they have harvested a good crop and produced a new rich rose-coloured wine. It has pride of place on their shelves. “It is quite exciting to be ‘wine producer’ in the middle of a small Karoo town like Prince Albert,” said Susan. “We decided to produce a sweet wine because Prince Albert gets so little rain and the weather here is quite hot. All worked out extremely well. We are immensely proud of our efforts to produce our own ‘Karoo Karmosyn’.”


It’s the end of an era, but not the end of Rose’s Round-up. Circumstances have compelled editor Rose Willis to move from Beaufort West to Bloemfontein, but once there she will continue to produce Round-ups filled with Karoo stories for all who’ve grown to love them. Soon after arriving in the Great Karoo from Johannesburg in 1989 Rose became fascinated with the Karoo. She was convinced it could be promoted through its history. She began delving into everything that is the Karoo. “I amassed so much material I knew I had to share it, so in 1992 I started writing Rose’s Round-up to share some long-forgotten facts on the Great Karoo with local tourism role players,” she said. The idea was an instant success. Round-up mushroomed and carved a unique niche for itself in tourism circles both in South Africa and abroad. It appeals to all who love the Karoo. So now, from a base in Bloemfontein, Rose will continue to share her special stories of the Great Karoo.


A dated bridge post, part of the busy N1 for almost 60 years, is moving to Beaufort West museum. “It’s neither beautiful, unique, nor different. Most pass it and never see it. Yet, it is a bit of Karoo history I’d like to see preserved,” says Beaufort West Councillor Pieter Lund. “It marks a time when the highway ‘moved’. I remember when the northbound route out of Beaufort West, fondly known as “The Jo’burg Road,” was on the south side of the railway line. Alongside the rail it swept off to Nelspoort. There the road crossed the rail between the station and sanatorium.” Then in the 1940s a tar road, eventually named the N1, was built. The bridge, constructed to carry traffic over the Kuils River and across the railway line, was simply known as “North End Bridge”. It was completed in 1944 and this date, cast in concrete, became part of the bridge. “Now a double-carriage way, scheduled for completion in June 2004, is being constructed and I would like to see this ‘milestone’ in the town’s history preserved,” says Pieter. He discussed the matter with Meyer Moolman, head of the project team and he agreed to have it carefully removed. “A dangerous level crossing led to North End and the Loxton Road in the early days,” says Pieter. “Many accidents occurred there, so in 1944 we welcomed the new bridge.”


Beaufort-Wes Museum beplan ʼn uitstalling van werke van plaaslike kunstenaars in September. Die hoof rolspeler agter die ideë is oud-onderwyser en Trusteeraadslid Henry Brown, wie kuns gestudeer het. Hy sê “Kunstenaars wat genader is het baie positief gereageer. Almal sien uit na die uitstalling.” Beaufort-Wes Museum gaan ook tydens Skole Vigs-week, vanaf 1 tot 5 September, ʼn opvoedkundigeprogram van poppekaste aanbied in samewerking met die munisipaliteit se gesondheidsdepartement “Die plan is om plaasskole ook te betrek en terselfde tyd vir hulle die geleentheid bied om die museum te besoek,” sê museumhoof Sandra Smit. In ʼn poging om hulle beeld verder uit te brei stel Beaufort-Wes Museum twee “goue” seuns van die dorp bekend by die Cape Learning Festival werkswinkel, by die Karoo Bronnesentrum, op 18 Augustus. Uitstallings van Joseph Kunene en Prof Chris Barnard word daar opgerig . Die museum het ook deel geneem in The Western Cape Tourism Showcase by die nuwe Konferenie-sentrum in Kaapstad vanaf 15 tot 17 Augustus. Laingsburg Toerisme Buro se inligtingsbeampte Katrien Makanda was ook daar om haar dorp bekend te stel en plaaslik gemaakte goedere te verkoop.


Beaufort West museum plans to exhibit works of local artists in September. The man behind this idea is former teacher and Trustee Board member Henry Brown, who spent quite some time studying art. He said: “All the artists who we’ve approached have reacted very positively to the idea. Everyone is looking forward to the exhibition.” Beaufort West Museum is also assisting with an educational programme during Schools Aids Week, from September 1 to 5. This will take the form of a puppet show and be done in collaboration with the municipality’s health department. “Our aim is to include farm schools and at the same time to encourage them to visit the museum,” said Sandra Smit, museum head. In a further effort to broaden its visibility and improve its image, the museum introduced two of Beaufort West’s “golden” sons at the Cape Learning Festival Workshop, at the Karoo Resources Centre on August 18. These displays covered Joseph Kunene and Professor Chris Barnard. The museum also took part in the Western Cape Tourism Showcase at the new Conference Centre in Cape Town from August 15 to 17. Laingsburg Tourist Bureau’s information officer Katrien Makanda was also there to promote her town and sell local crafts and produce.


Prince Alberters will see a range of “ancient” rifles, many of which date back to 1850, being put through their paces on the old Commando Range in September. But the ground has been sold and the range will soon to disappear. So, the forthcoming Black Powder and Muzzle Loaders Association’s annual competition, scheduled for September 26, will be the last event of its kind to be held there. “Such competitions date back to the Middle Ages in Europe and were very much part of the social life of small villages,” said Black Powder Association secretary, Professor John Austin. “The Karoo has been home to this competition for over a decade. Our annual shoot was held at Matjiesfontein for nine years then, the .303 Club joined us, new events were introduced, and we found the range was too short. A search for a new venue led us to the Prince Albert’s Commando Range. We were delighted by facilities in the town and by the warm welcome we received at last year’s event. We are sad to find ourselves looking for a new venue again. Nevertheless, we look forward to welcoming all those who’d like to see muzzle-loaders, military muzzle-loaders, breech-loaders, 577s, and.45 caliber rifles, free breech loading target rifles and replicas in action, at this year’s competition.”


Dr Robert Adler, a science writer from Santa Rosa in the United States of America has just completed a book on the history of medicine for publishers, John Wiley and Sons. In it he included the history of the world’s first heart transplant done by Professor Chris Barnard. He approached Beaufort West Museum for assistance. They supplied some information and a picture for inclusion in this book.


Riverine rabbit research and conservation is taking a step forward. Efforts to conserve this highly endangered species, found only in the Karoo are being linked to the far-reaching efforts of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. This was announced at a recent meeting of the National Riverine Rabbit Co-ordinating Committee. A special Riverine Rabbit Working Group has been established under the auspices of the South African Wildlife Trust and Dr Vicky Ahlmann from Loxton was elected chairman. Since moving to the Karoo Vicky has done a great deal of meaningful research work on riverine rabbits. “More samples are now urgently needed to complete genetic analysis on the species,” she said. “Prof. Terry Robinson and Dr Conrad Mathee, who are currently working on this at the University of Stellenbosch, urgently need to take ear clippings from a total of ten riverine rabbits to further their research. The animals will be captured in the Fraserburg district in September and once the clippings are done, they will immediately be released back into the wild. “While we are working and taking these clippings wildlife documentary makers will have a wonderful opportunity of photographing these unique animals. Normally these rare, shy creatures hide away in the undergrowth and are difficult to find. So much so that local labourers call them “boshase” (bush rabbits). Hopefully the wildlife photographers who join us will get some great shots of these treasured bunnies,” said Vicky


Die Karoo se eerste toergids opleidingskursus was “absoluut uitstekend” sê diegene wat dit bygewoon het. Dit was in Prins Albert aangebied vanaf 25 Julie tot 3 Augustus, onder leiding van professionele en geakkrediteerde toergidsopleiers, Julian en Kirstie Kotze. “Om hierdie kursus aan te bied was vir ons ook ʼn belewenis,” sê Julian. “Die ‘studente’ het verskillende vlakke van kennis gehad en dit was wonderlik om te sien hoe hulle saam gewerk het en mekaar ondersteun het.” Kirstie het gesorg vir diegene wat die Karoo en Tuinroete wou doen, terwyl Julian spesiale aandag aan plaaslike gidse gegee het. “Daar was ook tyd om ʼn ‘toer’ na Gamkaskloof, Die Hel, te reel en almal het dit geniet,” sê Julian. ʼn Onverwagte “ekstra” was aangebied deur Eric van Rensburg van Kaapstad. “Hy is ʼn deskundige op besigheid en die stigting van klein sakeondernemings, en het sy kennis graag met mede-studente gedeel.” Almal is nou besig met spesifieke projekte en voor te berei om eksamens te skryf ook ses weke.


The Karoo’s first tour guide course was “absolutely wonderful” say those who attended. The course was held in Prince Albert from July 25 to August 3and lecturers were accredited trainers Julian and Kirstie Kotze. “Presenting this first course in the Karoo was also an exciting experience for us,” said Julian. “The students’ level of competence varied greatly, and it was wonderful to see how well they worked together and supported each other.” Kirstie took care of the needs of those who wanted to include the Garden Route, while Julian paid special attention to local guides. “There was also time to arrange a tour to Gamkaskloof, The Hell, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed that,” said Julian. Eric van Rensburg, a business skills developer from Cape Town, presented an unexpected extra. “He is also an expert on small business development and shared his knowledge with fellow students.” Everyone is now busily preparing specific projects and readying themselves to write exams within six weeks.


A desire to see Karoo plants and succulents in their natural environment brought Swedish photographer, journalist and author Susanna Rosen to Beaufort West. Susanna’s enduring interest in indigenous flora has led to her writing several books on plants. Some of these include South African species. But, the plants of the arid zones fascinate her. In the Karoo she was able to see the start of an early spring as flowering plants turned roadside verges into gardens. “Seeing gazanias growing wild was a treat,” she said. “In Sweden, they are potplants.” Cape Town tour guide Emilene Ferreira, accompanied Susanna on her whistle stop tour hosted by Western Cape Tourism Board. Both enjoyed the Karoo National Park and Koka Tsara private reserve. Then, after soaking up regional tourism co-ordinator Rose Willis’s stories of the Karoo, it was on to Matjiesfontein for a peek into the past and with local guide John Theunissen.


Prins Albert se Fransie Pienaar Museum soek inligting oor ʼn eensame en vergete graf. “Dit is op die pad na Gamkadam, omtent 25km van die dorp,” sê museumhoof Jonathan Rolfe. “Op ʼn Karoo klip kopsteen, staan ‘Augustus 1823, Eulazbeth Kateuna Detoet’ en ʼn Bybel vers. Ten spyte van die feit die steen so oud is is dit nog redelik leesbaar. Ons verneem graag van enigeen wat kennis van die graf dra.”


Prince Albert’s Fransie Pienaar Museum is searching for information on a lonely and forgotten grave. “It is on the road to Gamka Dam, about 25 km from town,” says museum head Jonathan Rolfe. “The headstone carved from Karoo rock, has a Bible text and ‘August 1823, Eluzabeth Kateuna Detoet’on it. Despite its age it is in reasonable condition and still legible. We would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the grave and perhaps who Eluzabeth was.”


High schools taking part in this year’s Western Cape Tourism Awareness Competition are being challenged to write a radio script to promote their town. “Getting to grips with this will keep pupils talking tourism for some time,” said WCTB co-ordinator Msi Nxele. “The competition also aims through this competition to empower youngsters and allow them to voice their opinions on tourism.” First prize is R8 000, second, R6 000, third R3 000.


A fascination with houses led Prince Albert estate agent, Denise Ohlson, into a world of wonderful stories. Houses that had survived demolition in “Die Rooikamp,” an old Coloured area, caught her eye. She decided to take a closer look and found herself transported back to a time when “Die Rooikamp was in its prime. Her guide on this historic journey was Elizabeth Lekay, 68, who was born and bred in this area. “Elizabeth talks with grace and a quiet charm. She has no political agendas and is a skilled storyteller,” said Denise. “Just listening to her brought “Die Rooikamp” to life. I was so absorbed that I embarked on a mission to collect old photographs. To my surprise found quite a few. Suddenly I knew there was much more to “Die Rooikamp” than pictures. It is a story of a special time and place in the annals of Prince Albert. It is a chronicle of loves and lives, of warm-hearted, caring people and remarkable characters.” Denise asked local artist Maggie Boshoff to draw a map of “Die Rooikamp” depicting places of interest linked to Elizabeth’s stories. From this The Rooikamp Tourist Walk was developed. Then, these two energetic women “tested” their walk on members of the Prince Albert Cultural Foundation. “People truly enjoyed the outing. Most called it excellent entertainment,” says Denise. Elizabeth now regularly takes tourists along the route at a cost of R10 a head. Starting from the corner of Deurdrift and Market Streets visitors enjoy an hour’s walk at a steady, relaxed pace. Denise and Elizabeth are now writing up the stories of the area under the title “Rooikamp Revisited” for inclusion in a book on the town’s cultural history currently being compiled by the Prince Albert Writers Guild.


Elizabeth Lekay, of Baba soos sy bekend is, deel deesdae graag stories van Prins Albert se Rooikamp, met toeriste. Op 4 Oktober 1936, is sy daar in Klipstraat 4, die huis van haar grootouers Chrisjan en Sarie Lodewyk, gebore. Daar het sy groot geword. Haar ma Koekoe, het in die Kaap gewerk. Ouma Sarie het wasgoed gedoen. Elizabeth en haar suster het graag die netjies gestrykte en gestyfde bondels terug besorg vir ʼn belonging “van ʼn heerlike dik sny vars brood met ʼn behoorlike smeersel konfyt.” “My kinderdae was vol liefde,” sê Elizabeth. “Ons het in ʼn lekker huis gebly. Daar was nooit ʼn tekort aan kos of klere nie. Ek onthou heerlike warm sop en brood; die skoolsopkombuis, vars melk en vrugte. Ons kon ons veral aan die mispels, rosyne en droëvrugte versmul.” Elizabeth vertel van “Mies Stienie se Winkel” waar Rooikamp se mense “twee sjielings se meel, ʼn pennie se suiker en ʼn tiekie se sout” gekoop het om ʼn broodjie of drie te bak. Skoenmaker Willem Houtbeen, kleremaker Dan Rank, Dominee, of “Meneer” soos hy genoem was en die prinsipaal, “Oumeester” vorm deel van die sage. Ook van Ouma Wang se boom, die “Downstairs-huis” en Lisa Delport wat haar kleindogter, Griet, aan die peperboom vasgemaak het en wie se hoenders welkom was om op haar kombuistafel te “wei”. Transportlorrie eienaar Koos Witbooi, het ʼn groot rol in die jongklomp se lewens gespeel. Oor naweke het hy hulle “kloof toe” geneem om te piekniek, baljaar en te swem. In sy buitegeboutjie kon hulle dans. “Mister Makkie,” ʼn Indier winkelier, wat Vrydae vars vis vanaf Oudtshoorn laat kom en dan heerlike gebakte vis verkoop het is deel van die verhaal, asook “Jan Tops”, die koster, wie Sondae mense na die top van Swartberg geneem, maar hulle stiptelik terug besorg vir aanddiens in die pragtige Sendingkerk. Die kerk se fasade het behoue gebly, maar in latere jare is dit in ʼn woonhuis omskep. So kry Rooikamp weer lewe.


Elizabeth Lekay, or Baba as she is widely known, readily shares stories of the “Rooikamp” with tourists. She was born there at No 4 Klip Street, the home of her Grandparents Chrisjan and Sarie Lodewyk, on October 4, 1936. She grew up in this house because her mother Koekoe worked in Cape Town. Sarie took in washing and it fell to Elizabeth and her sister to take the ironed and starched bundles back. “We did this with the greatest pleasure, because our reward was a lovely thick slice of fresh bread spread thickly with delicious jam,” she said. “My childhood days were full of love. We lived in a nice house. We were neither short of food nor clothing. I well remember hot soup and fresh bread, the soup kitchen at school, fresh milk and fruit. We gorged ourselves on fruit, which had fallen from the trees, on raisins and on dried fruits.” Elizabeth tells of “Miss Stienie’s Store,” where Rooikamp people bought “a shilling’s worth of flour, a penny’s worth of sugar and a tickey’s salt” and from this made a couple of loaves of bread. Shoemaker Willem Houtbeen, tailor Dan Rank, the ‘Dominee’ (Reverend) who was called “Meneer” and the school principal, “Old Master” are all part of the sage. Then, there is Granny Wang’s tree, the Downstairs House and Lisa Delport, who tied her granddaughter, Griet, to a pepper tree and allowed her chickens to freely “graze” on her kitchen table. Transport lorry owner Koos Delport was central to their lives. Over weekends he took them to the “kloof” to play, lark about and swim. He also had an outside room in which they were allowed to dance. “Mister Makkie”, the Indian shopkeeper, ordered fresh fish from Oudtshoorn every Friday and then sold delicious freshly fried fish in the Rooikamp and Jan “Tops” are fondly remembered. Jan took people to the top of the Swartberg Pass every Sunday, but diligently ensured they were back in time for the evening service in the beautiful mission church. Its façade remains unscathed, but in later years it was remodelled into a dwelling. In this way Elizabeth’s story telling talents bring the Rooikamp back to life.


It’s September and Tourism Month again. This year S A Tourism CEO, Cheryl Carolus, has called upon role players to concentrate on the local market. “Focus on introducing affordable and accessible travel packages to South Africans. Encourage domestic travel and support the local tourism industry. Help South Africans to become tourists in their own country, to explore, discover and enjoy it,” she said.


Op 12 Oktober vier Prins Albert hulle tweede Oktoberfest. Dit volg op laas jaar se geleentheid wat ʼn reuse sukses was. Die fees vereer Koningin Victoria se geliefde man, Prins Albert van Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, na wie die dorp vernoem is, en die feit dat sy vir hom op 15 Oktober 1839 gevra het om te trou. Tradisionele eisbein, sauerkraut en bier is op die spyskaart en die PA Kiliebeentjies Orkes, die “musikantenknochen” vir die geleentheid, sal vir egte “oem–pah-pah” musiek sorg.


On October 12 Prince Albert will be holding its second Octoberfest. This follows on last year’s event, which was a giant success. This festival honours Queen Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg-Gotha, after whom the town was name, and the fact that she asked him to marry her on October 15, 1839. Traditional eisbein, sauerkraut and beer are on the menu and the Prince Albert “Kiliebeentjies” Band, the “musikantenknochen” for the occasion, will provide genuine “oem-pah-pah” music.