TRAVELBUCKET

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ST AUGUSTINE’S, FRAZERBURG

During 2011  me and my hubby riding buddy went on a motorbike trip to Namakwaland to see the spring flowers in all its majesty.  The first night we slept at the sleepy town of Frazerburg in The Groot Karoo. Waking up to a freezing but spectacular sunrise and after a hearty breakfast we set off on our long day’s ride.   First of all we had to get Daisy (for those of you who do not know – that is my GS) and Ogre (that is hubby’s GS) going in the chilly weather.   Like our cold and stiff fingers they were not used to these low temperatures of the Karoo.  Welcome in the heartland of the Karoo! On our way out of town I was fortunate enough to track down another Sophy Gray church at 31°55′00″S 21°30′47″E which was built in 1870 – one year before her death  on 27 … Read more >

DUTCH REFORMED CHURCH VOLMOED

Just outside the town of Oudtshoorn you will find the settlement of Volmoed adorned with  a beautiful sandstone church with an interesting history. The architect of this masterpiece is Watson Hall (1876 – 1941) and was ”compelled to come to South Africa for his health” arriving in Cape Town in 1897 at the age of 21.  He first worked as an assistant in the famous Sir Herbert Baker’s office in Cape Town before he became an assistant in John Parker’s office in Cape Town.  He lived in Claremont since his arrival in 1897 until his departure to Oudtshoorn in 1908 where he practised until 1920. In 1910 Hall won a competition for the Dutch Reformed Church in Calitzdorp but “owing to the dissatisfaction expressed by the congregation” the job went to the second prize winner, Wynand Louw.  During 1920, at the age of 44, Watson Hall returned to Claremont.  At… Read more >

HISTORIESE GEORGE

Die storie van George, wat na King George III vernoem is, begin reeds op 23 April 1811.  Ek begin stap in Yorkstraat, wat vernoem is na die Duke of York en tweede seun van King Geroge III, by die Old Town House.  Dit is reeds in 1847 opgerig en het eers die George Museum gehuisves, maar vandag dien dit as restaurant. Dan 100 jaar later in 1911 word daar op die hoek van Mark- en Hiberniastrate, ‘n gedenksaal opgerig wat vandag die Ingenieurs Departement van die George Munisipaliteit huisves. Ek kruis die straat en stap na die witgeverfde Poskantoor met sy mooi houtdeure en kenmerkende rooi posbusse.  Nie net is dit in 1948 voltooi, maar spog ook met ‘n hout kloktoring. Dan verder op in die straat kry ek onverwags, agter mooi ysterhekke in ‘n lowergroen tuin, ‘n glimps van die statige Bishops Lea, huis van die Diocese of George…. Read more >

FOREST LEGENDS

While everyone else was hanging out on the beach for the first day of  January 2016 our family went to visit the Forest Legends Museum on the gravel road as you traverse the Prince Alfred Pass from Knysna to Uniondale. What a pleasure to drive through the damp forest and then unexpectedly arrive on top of the hill at the coffee shop.  It was a lot busier than we expected.  Families with grannies and young children were having something to bite in the shade of a tree, others were taking hikes and on the decks families camped out and were just relaxing and enjoying nature.  This is far from the maddening crowds and cell phone towers. First we ordered something to eat from the coffee shop – a vetkoek stuffed with curried mince, a home made hamburger and toasted bacon and egg sandwich washed down with delicious home made gemmerbier. … Read more >

ST GEORGES CHURCH, KNYSNA

Today, while on my way to Diepwalle Camping Decks in the heart of the Knysna Forest I made a quick stop in the centre of Knysna to take some pictures of another Sophy Gray church so I entered through the old wooden gates to explore some more. Sophy’s stone churches stole my heart and now I am on a quest to tick them off one by one.  This quaint church with its tranquil garden is situated in the Main Road, but is easily missed when one is in a hurry. John Rex., son of the legendary George Rex, laid the foundation stone in 1849 and soon after in 1850 construction started on plans adapted and provided by Sophy.  Her church, the first in Knysna, is standing in front of the newer, darker church building which was only constructed in 1926. The gardens are well kept and the green grass, edged… Read more >

GAMKABERG NATURE RESERVE

        What do you do for a summer holiday break? Well we planned a camping trip to Gamkaberg Nature Reserve, tucked away in the mountains between Oudtshoorn and Calitzdorp, where the summer temperature easily soars to 40˚ C during summer.  Arriving at reception and while checking in with the helpful staff I glanced at the visitors book and noticed that we were the first campers in over a week.  Really not a favoured destination for the summer holidays! After buying wood from Willem at reception we set off via the 4×4 trail climbing up Lawsons Pass to Bakenskop at 1105 meter (which were our highest elevation) to enjoy lunch in the cool breeze and enjoy the views from the top. Arriving at Oukraal we found that the facilities really exceeded all our expectations.  The camping huts and stone shelter, providing cover against the relentless sun, were spotlessly… Read more >

VICTORIA FALLS FROM THE ZIMBABWE SIDE

After packing up our overnight camp in Kasane we left Botswana through the Kazangula  border post (06:00- 18:00) to enter Zimbabwe.  Everything here was plain sailing – the gardens tidy, offices neat and even the official on duty greeting me unexpectedly in Afrikaans. Today we will be revisiting the Victoria Falls after nearly 20 years.  The mission of this?   To show the wonder of the Falls to some newby Africa travelers to marvel at one of God’s creations.  The first thing I noticed was the spray of the Falls forming the background of a rather quiet Victora Falls town.  The buzz of tourists wandering the streets lingering at sidewalk popup vendors are notably absent.   Instead “sale hunger” vendors follow your every step in the desperate hope to put something on their table tonight. We parked our vehicles in the shade of a tree at the Kingdom Hotel where the hotel… Read more >

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