William Burchell: Crops and spekboom in the Graaff-Reinet valley

William Burchell found “an abundance of verdure” when he traveled into the interior in 1812. On the way to Graaff-Reinet he found the road very steep, and in some places broken and dangerous. He saw trees of a larger size than he had seen before, he said. “The deep glens and bold sides of the mountain were verdant with spekboom (Portulacria afra).  The village of ‘Graaffreynet’, situated in the heart of a country is productive in cattle and corn and has a rapidly increasing in population. It is surrounded by fertile soil, an abundance of water, and it has a healthy climate. Fruits and vegetables of all kinds grow here in perfection. The village is sheltered by lofty mountains. The perpetual and beautiful spekboom covers their rocky declivities.”


© Rose’s Roundup,March 2012 (No 218)

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