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Tag Archive: Eastern Cape

THE ROAD TO RIETBRON

My first visit to Rietbron was on 31 December 2013. Yip, we spent the last day of 2013 in the settlement in the Karoo between somewhere and nowhere.  To be exact – 85 kilometres from Beaufort West (Western Cape) and about 64 kilometres from Willowmore (Eastern Cape). Recently Amore Bekker from RSG asked who knows where Rietbron is.  I could reply with an answer that I have twice been to this populated area (population approximately 1 184 in 2011).  I think with our revisit eight years later in 2021 the population even declined further as it was noticeable that also the only guesthouse closed down since then. With an early start from our base in George we crossed the Outeniqua mountains into the Klein Karoo.  First we made a quick stop at Karoo Lusern Slaghuis, one of the best kept secrets in the Klein Karoo, to stock up on some… Read more >

YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE TRANSKEI : THE KEI BRIDGE

For most of us this bridge confirms that you are officially crossing over from the Eastern Cape into the former Transkei. Running parallel with the new bridge over the N2 you will notice the old stone bridge to your left when driving eastwards.  Find the road to the old bridge and have a look at it.  I was quite impressed at the engineering skills considering the period in which it was built and the machinery available to create these types of structures. The steel bridge built by Westwood Bailie Engineering Works from London and completed in 1879 so nearing its 150th year soon.  Although the bridge’s length will not make the Guinness Book of Records, as it is only 0.46 kilometres long, it is still used by local farmers and pedestrians in the vicinity.  Attempts to build a bridge over the Kei River started in 1877 when materials were shipped… Read more >

ANN’S VILLA – A GLIMPSE INTO THE PAST

This national monument, formerly known as Webster’s Hotel, was built in 1864 and lies at the foot of the Zuurberg Pass has a colourful history spanning decades.  The year 1867 marks the year that diamonds were discovered along the Orange River and fortune hunters flocked to the mining sites via every known route.  The Webster Hotel was conveniently situated and benefitted from this as they offered accommodation, food, a smithy and a well-stocked retail shop on the premises.  Business was good.  When and how the name changes from Webster’s hotel to Ann’s Villa came about is not clear from old papers, but today it is still known as Ann’s Villa.  From old records it seems that a school was started 24 years after the villa was built.  The teacher for the school, stayed in the first room upstairs in the villa.  It seems that the Websters also paid the teacher’s… Read more >

A CRISSCROSS ADVENTURE

by Inge Triegaardt Picture yourself on a crisp Saturday morning, blue skies above you, on the back of a Safari vehicle, driving through some export quality citrus orchards with some foreign languages filling the air.  That is exactly how we felt when we joined Crisscross Adventures in Addo for an amazing day filled with activities that makes you want more.  First up was the river safari.  I had a preconceived idea of what this might entail and with my very limited canoeing experience that I obtained as a kid, using some rented canoes on a Sunday morning outing in Wilderness, I was excited to see whether my picture was close to what they had to offer.  On the way to the drop-off point further up the Sundays river, the guide was sharing his knowledge of the working citrus farm and we made a quick stop at one of the oldest… Read more >

THE GLOBE ON THE HILL

It was a rainy day, but still perfect for an outing to explore the R72 and some gravel back roads of the Eastern Cape and to visit places we have not been before.  We came across a brown sign at a turn-off that just says Karel Landman Monument.  That is it.  So this was the indication for us to put on your indicator and turn. We were not quite expecting this type of structure for a monument!  Well maybe I am old school but a monument in my mind is sort of a subdued grey stone structure and not a huge ocean blue structure! Now who was this Karel Landman, because I mean to have a famous architect like Gerard Moerdijk design such a structure and plonk it down here in the green scenery near Alexandria you must be quite well-known?  I was scratching my memory to find something familiar… Read more >

A CAR FOR THE NATION

I am pretty sure most South Africans has one or another Volkswagen advertisement that lingers in their minds.   Be it Gugu Zulu with his little rally car or David Kramer and his red veldskoene and the Volksie bus.  Which one is your favourite?  As the interest in motor sport runs deep in our veins we have visited a couple of motor museums in Europe in the past.  This is no Porsche Museum or Alfa Romeo museum that spread over several floors and hosts any model that  you can think of and more.  This is rather an intimate display of loved Volkswagen products on the premises of the factory located at 130 Algoa Road in Uitenhage. In  the “Meet the Beetles” area you will meet Herbie from the movies who needs no introduction.  Delilah which is in pristine condition with no plastic surgery done and less than 1 000 km on… Read more >

THE DONKIN RESERVE

The Donkin Reserve is truly one of the most iconic sites and sights in Port Elizabeth and has been named one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s Top 10 tourism icons.  The pyramid (I bet you never knew that we have our own little one here in South Africa) was built as a monument to Lady Elizabeth Donkin, after whom the Friendly City was named, by her husband Sir Rufane Donkin, who was sent to Port Elizabeth to oversee the landing of the 1820 Settlers.    The lighthouse was originally built in 1861 and the first lighthouse keeper was Charles Hammond.  The cottage next to the lighthouse was erected for Hammond’s family in 1865.  Hammond must have enjoyed a lush green scenery from the top of the lighthouse.  However, today the view of the city is quite different.  The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1973 as there were too many city lights interfering… Read more >

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