If you have travelled along the N1 from Cape Town to Johannesburg you probably passed through the Karoo town of Laingsburg, previously known as Nassau. Normally all are in hurry and do not spend a lot of time intown apart from filling up on fuel, visit the loo and get something cold for the road. With the sharp hike in the fuel prices, we started to explore closer to home. The road took as to Laingsburg and Matjiesfontein.The most famous happening that put the town on the map and earned a place in history was probably the disastrous flood on 25 January 1981. With an annual rainfall of only 175 mm per year a flood was for sure not on the minds of this Karoo town when it started raining on 24 January 1981. The Buffalo River burst its bank and with the confluence of the Wilgehout, Baviaans and Buffalo… Read more >
I just love to find all the little churches of this remarkable lady – Sophy Gray. This one dating back to 1879 adds another tick to my Gray list! The church with its lovely setting is situated close to a grove of trees and overlooks the beach and ocean towards the distant Tsitsikama Mountains. In 1848 when the Grays (Rev Robert and his wife Sophy) arrived at the Cape of Good Hope there were almost no Anglican churches in the diocese in Cape Town. Bishop Gray’s enthusiasm – the obvious need for churches – and apparent lack of architectural services as well as money probably encouraged Sophia Gray (a self taught architect) to design buildings to suit the immediate needs. Saint Peter’s was built from a random selection of stones and boasts beautiful glass stained windows. The church welcomes visitors, but please show respect when entering the premises.
When driving our 1962 Land Rover home from Gauteng to George we had some mechanical difficulties and were compelled to stay over in the farming town of Winburg for two days to get the problem sorted. This gave me the time to roam around town and to explore all of the few choices of shops in Winburg. In the centre of town is the magnificent old stone church with the following interesting history. The European community of Winburg is famous for the differences in political heritage. The town was divided into two camps, due to their support to either the South African Party of General Jan Smuts, or the National Party of Dr Daniel François Malan. This led to the division of the Dutch Reformed Church into two separate congregations, Klip Kerk (Stone Church), which was the original church for the Dutch Reformed Church, and Rietfontein Church in Voortrekker Road…. Read more >
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 >
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 >
The last couple of weeks were quite busy and I did not get to my blog for some new posts. On our travels to Bloemfontein, for a school reunion, we took a detour through the rather depressing Karoo town of Noupoort where we stumbled upon two little stone churches. Situated across the street from the run down municipal building we found the St Agnes Anglican Church dating back to 1901. It was erected by a railway engineer in memory of fallen British soldiers, of whom some were stone masons, and were stationed at Noupoort during the Second Boer War. However before the troops could complete the church they were repatriated. That is probably the wall that I noticed just below the bell tower and was wondering what went wrong. It was the first time that I noticed this unique timber type bell tower on a church. I sort of like… Read more >
I took some time off from my day job and did a bit of exploring in my own town. I must confess that I have been living in George for more than 15 years and have never visited the little stone cathedral in the middle of town. Arriving over the lunch hour on a sunny day I found the gardener attending to the lawn with love and care. He only gave me a quick glance and carried on with his tasks at hand. Today the little stone church stood out against the blue sky with picture opportunities aplenty. This is another one of the legendary Sophy Gray churches. The design of the cathedral is based on the Littlemore Church near Oxford in England which was designed by Henry Jones Underwood. Three stonemasons were used to build the cathedral and it was completed in only 13 months. Without the modern technology… Read more >