Illness, sanitation and fashion in Colesberg in the mid-1850s

The immense heat of Karoo droughts brought problems for humans as well as animals. Thelma Gutsche writes, in The Microcosm, that the great heat of 1852 was accompanied by locusts and typhus fever. This affected the entire Colesberg district and absorbed all of the energies of the local medic, Dr Orpen. All races suffered and […]


Karoo Captivates The Bishop

When Robert Grey, Bishop of Cape Town, set off for the northernmost reaches of the Colony, he was captivated by the Karoo. “There was no time for reading in the wagon,” writes Thelma Gutsche in The Bishop’s Lady. “The arid desert-like Karoo with its abrupt rocky kopjes, occasional mirages and stunted bushes sparsely mixed with […]


Merinos Make Their Mark

By 1830 experts considered the teething stages of the Cape Merino industry to be over. F W Reitz, the man destined to become president of the Free State, believed that 1830 was the turning point for the South African wool industry. He was proved right, states Edmund H Burrows in Overberg Outspan.  In 1830 the […]