Category: Uncategorized

  • Swift Action on the Water Front

    It has rained in Beaufort West, but there is still no water in the Gamka Dam.   It dried up in September, 2010.   Worse followed. The water table dropped and the 30 boreholes which were also used to supply water to the town soon also dried. The drought reached a critical point in November when Beaufort […]

  • Focus On A Career In Agriculture

    During the severe drought in the Karoo in 2008 AgriWes’s chairman Carl Opperman already appealed to young people to make agriculture a career.  “We need researchers, veterinerains, climatologists, food scientists and technologists.  These people are vital in the mix the future of this country and its food production is in their hands.  They will assist…

  • Part of Life in the Arid Karoo

    While the recent drought is hailed as the worst yet experienced in the Central area, such weather phenomena are part of Karoo life. Farmers remain philosophical. As David Shearing who farmed most of his lift in the Beaufort West area said: “Not to make light of the drought, but we all know what the Karoo…

  • Sheep Railed To Safety

    In 1959 the South African Railways undertook a giant rail-lift to assist farmers in the drought stricken Karoo.  According to the magazine Commercial Transport officials said it was without precedent in South Africa.  More than a quarter of a million sheep were ferried to pastures in the Free State and Transvaal and four special trains…

  • The Karoo Melts A Heart

    The Karoo is often overlooked by travellers,  yet loved by those who know  it. So wrote a contributor to The Beaufort West Courier in November, 1901, when  the Anglo-Boer War was at its height. “How often one hears the Karoo condemned as ‘desert’ and adjectived as ‘dreary’ or ‘desolate.’ It is not thus. Those who…

  • ‘A Pox On You Sir, And May A Thousand Fleas …’

    In the mid-1800s,  the swearing of  Irishmen and “navvies” working on the  railway line through the  Karoo was said to be strong enough to make a sailor blush.  At the end of the century,  the lurid language of  British soldiers greatly offended the locals. Then,  in 1901, in an attempt to ease irritations  with a…

  • A Refreshingly Successful Business

    In 1888, Beaufort West, like so many other little Karoo towns, established its own mineral water company.  The aims were to refresh residents in hot summer months and to provide ideal mixers for the stronger stuff.  The company was a great success. No surprise as the Karoo is a dry place.  By August, 1902, the…

  • Beaufort West Contributes To Royal Gift

    Beaufort West women were among  “Loyal Colonial Ladies” who contributed towards a gift for the Duchess of Cornwall and York when she visited South Africa in 1901. In a letter thanking them for their generosity, Helena Kingsley, Honorary Secretary of the Ladies’Executive Committee in Cape Town, wrote: “Her Royal Highness received an ostrich feather fan…

  • Mad Dash To Safety Past A Flotilla Of Coffins

    Heavy rains in the Karoo can conjure up some strange sights.  In the severe flood in Beaufort West in 1940, coffins floating about in New Street delayed a Beaufort man long enough for him to save a young mother and her baby.  On a visit to his hometown, Beaufort West, back in 2000, Almero de…

  • Farm With A Wonderland For Little Girls

    Among the farms purchased by  Karoo National Park when it extended its area in 2000 was  Morceaux. Its stately homestead, high on a plateau of the Nuweveld mountains, once was the pride of Charles de Villiers.  To reasch this beautiful farmhouse one had to travel up a winding, handmade pass. “This pass was built specially…