veld

A country ‘just come from the hands of the Creator’ – 1898

Powerful feelings affect the mind of the traveler in the Karoo. He ponders the self-sufficiency of nature, the insignificance of Man, the mystery of the universe as he moves across the brown desert in shimmering waves of heat. But most of all he wonders how much of this high desert-like interior is fit for comfortable […]

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Collecting specimens at Deelfontein

One unusual aspect of the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital at Deelfontein in the Karoo, was that it had a menagerie for the entertainment, amusement and instruction of the sick and wounded men.  Specimens were collected by principal medical officer, Colonel Sloggett and two taxidermists from the British Museum, who had been sent to the hospital to be […]

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Eve Palmer celebrates the Karoo

The Mid-Karoo region is using the works of author Eve Palmer, a “child” of the area, to promote the route. In The Plains of Camdeboo she writes: “Few people have the good fortune to be born in a desert. I was and all my life I have been conscious of my luck.” Like other deserts […]

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Fauresmith Veld Reserve

A young girl, who was born in Basle, Switzerland, developed an interest in South African plants. She studied the vegetation of the Karoo and later died at the age of 79 at an old age home in Bloemfontein.  She was Dr Marguerite Gertrud Anna Henrici.  After completing her schooling, Marguerite spent some time in France, […]

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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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On a troop train in the Karoo, 1900

On February 4, 1900, Dr Howard Tooth, a British doctor serving at a Cape military hospital received orders to travel to Modder River. It was “at the front” and he was apprehensive. He wrote to his wife stating that he was not taking much in the line of civilian clothing because he was to be in […]

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The Karoo as experienced by a British soldier, 1901

The environment near Richmond, Karoo, as experienced by the British forces in 1901: “It was a typical South African nek [mountain pass]. An execrable path winding over the saddle of a low range of tumbled ironstone. Just one of those ranges which force themselves with sheer effrontery out from the level of the plain. Loose […]

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The Prince of Wales in the Karoo, 1926

The magnificence and beauty of the Karoo were not lost on those who travelled through the region with the Prince of Whales. Ward Price’s account of the journey, published as Through Africa with the Prince of Wales, says the barren interior plateau of the Cape looks harsh and dried up. “Trees are rare. Everywhere grows […]

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Travelling through the Karoo in the 1940s

A South African policeman escorting refugees discovered there was much more to the Karoo than he’d been led to believe. During WWI, after the German forces were beaten in South West Africa, Sam Cowley was detailed to take some German refugees from Roberts Heights (Voortrekkerhoogte), outside Pretoria, to Cape Town, so that they could return […]

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