Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hogsback to Baviaans Kloof via Baviaans River

When we were planning this trip one of the places that I wanted to visit was Baviaans Kloof under the mistaken impression that the Baviaans River flowed through it and the Baviaans River has a special place in our families history because that is where they were deposited by the British government in 1820.  They (the immigrants) weren't informed before they set out that they were to form a sort of buffer between the Boers and the Xhosa to remedy the friction between the two groups, quite how that would ever have worked I am not sure but that is what it was for.

Anyway, we left Hogsback at 08:00 having packed up all our damp camping equipment and made our way to Baviaans River which is just north of Bedford and east of Cookhouse and nowhere near the Baviaans Kloof where I thought it was.  On our way there we passed through Fort Hare which is a small University Town and seems to have educated most of the African elite that went on to form the core of the governments in southern africa; the list of alumni is pretty amazing.

We were surprised to find a long line of wind turbines as below which was just a section of them but by the end of the day we got used to them because there were actually quite a lot of places that had wind turbines.

Looks can be deceiving, the farmhouse below may or may not be a Pringle farmhouse as it is difficult to tell which gate goes to which farm house but as idyllic as it looks it is completely at odds with the rest of the valley which is very harsh, semi karoo.  The only redeeming feature of the valley is the small stream that flows through the middle and enables at least something to grow.

The rest of the valley looks like the background in the picture below of the Glen Lyndon Presbyterian church which my forebears built in 1828.  Just remove all traces of green and you have some idea of what the valley actually looks like.  Aside from where they were deposited the valley is also the resting place of one of the Bezuidenhout brothers who instigated/lead the slagtersnek rebellion which was one of the incidents that motivated the great trek of the boers up to the Free State and Transvaal.

Obviously it is possible to farm the valley but I think our ancestors, at least some of them, were wise to abandon it and seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Just between Paterson and PE we noticed that the one cover for the spare wheel was missing and when we stopped at the next stop/go the car following up got out to tell us where it fell off.  We went back to try and find it but alas we couldn't see it.  The number of stop/go's that we have come across is amazing they are just everywhere and on many different roads; I suppose we should be happy that they are actually fixing at least some of our roads.  The drive through the Gamtoos valley was amazingly beautiful, it looks like it is to citrus farming what the Franschoek valley is to wine farming and aside from being scenically beautiful, seems quite  prosperous as well.

The above is the modifications that I had done to our gas cylinder because the on/off valve gets too hot to touch and is too coarse for fine control of the flame so I made a wooden plug which fits over the existing tap to make it easier to adjust the flame.  I also created the skirt to prevent wind blowing most of the heat generated away and this has proved to be amazingly successful.  Even if there is no wind the coffee pot seems to boil in 1/2 the time it used; of course that is just subjective but it really does seem to make a difference.

We arrived at Komdomo in the Baviaans Kloof nature reserve at 16:30 just as they were closing the office so we just squeaked in. The campsite in the Baviaans Kloof nature reserve is just fantastic, nice trees to hide from the sun under, good ablutions and quite close to the river with flat green lawns to camp on.  The only draw back is that the road is just behind it but there is so little traffic on it that it really isn't a problem, I don't think that there was a single car after about 20:00.

1 comment:

margaret said...

Yes you were right. I last checked your blog on 15th and here we are on 20th.You are doing a great job and old Grandpa Pringle would have been thrilled to know that your are trekking through all the old family linked Eastern Cape forests, mountains etc. Reason for lack of blogging - well I am a busy girl and some of us have to work you know!!. Have spent my birthday visiting doctor and trying to get over my second worst ever bout of sinusitis. My pile of medications almost rivals Heidi's! Well done on photos and text - all a pleasure to read and see. Hope Dad and I are not the only folks following you. love Mom. PS Thanks for the birthday wishes.