Drought

And Now There Are Bones

The early travellers reported vast herds in the Karoo. They wrote of steenbuck, bushbuck, reedbuck, oribi, hartebeest, kudu, buffalo, lion, wildebeest, springbuck, ostrich, hippo and rhino, said Schwarz in The Kalahari or Thirstland Redemption. He dated the drying of the Karoo to the disappearance of the Kalahari lakes in 1820. He said the configuration of […]

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Drought and floods: 1877-1879

The year 1877 was a traumatic one for the Molteno and Jackson families who farmed at Nelspoort, north of Beaufort West. In The Jacksons of Nelspoort, Dr A O Jackson records that a drought which started two years before had taken severe toll of the stock.  “He writes that two-thirds of the small stock and many […]

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Drought Cripples the Central Karoo, 1933

Over the years the Karoo has seen many droughts and, even now despite good rains in the interior, Beaufort West’s Gamka Dam remains empty.  Droughts were reported in 1864, 1877, 1903, 1916, 1925 through to 1928.   The one considered to be the fiercest climaxed in 1933. Known as The Great Drought, it peaked after almost […]

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Drought: Gustav Lund’s experiences in the 1920s

Drought is a constant threat in the Karoo. Nelspoort farmer Pieter Lund has monitored the recurring droughts of the Great Karoo. Intrigued by the many tales of hardship during drought conditions that have now and then appeared in Round-up, he decided to share a series of stories.  “In the 1920s, my late father, Gustav Lund, […]

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Hospitality on remote Karoo farms: 1835

In the mid-1800s, farmers of the hinterland were said to be “hospitable to a fault.” They loved nothing more than endless talk over a pipe and mug of coffee, writes Eric Anderson Walker in The Great Trek. These farmers were related to the people of the Cape Town Peninsula by blood or marriage, but they […]

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The Depression in the Karoo: 1933

The worst thing about the Great Drought was that it coincided with the Great Depression – a terrible time for farmers and almost everyone else in the country.   Many farmers left their farms because they could not afford to stay. Animals stood forlornly about without food or water, abandoned by owners who could not afford […]

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