Excursion – October 2011: Sutherland & Districts

TRIP TO SUTHERLAND AND DISTRICTS:  7 – 10TH OCTOBER 2011

Your recce team braved freezing weather, rain, roads turned into quagmires and polar winds to find some really interesting places for you to visit on this excursion.

TRANSPORT
Transport for the entire trip will be by comfortable 36-seater bus supplied by Paarl Rock Tours, who gave us such good service on our trip to Swellendam in April.

The best place to park our cars and meet the bus is in Pinelands where the University of the Third Age leave their cars when they go on tour  (details to follow), but obviously first prize is to get someone to drop you and pick you up again. People leaving from outside Cape Town may meet us in De Doorns and leave their cars on a farm there, to be collected on the return journey.

THE TRIP
The first day will be a long one. After a brief stop outside De Doorns at the Veldskoen Farmstall for tea and scones, we will move on to nearby Buffelskraal – where the early travellers were royally entertained and acquired provisions and fresh oxen for the arduous journey ahead. This will be your last gabled building – from here on the building material is stone.

We will then follow the wagon route, stopping at the Karoopoort building before passing through the poort into the Tankwa Karoo. En route we will have a photo opportunity at the Hangklip, a famous rock formation mentioned by many early travellers.

We will picnic at the old farm Bizansgat before crossing the Gousblomhoogte and stopping to see the remains of the old wagon tracks.

Our final stop for the day will be at Veld Cornet Gerrit Snyman’s “hut” on the farm Windheuwel. Burchell actually stayed in the oldest section of this building.

The second day will see us on a walking tour of Sutherland and in the afternoon we will travel by bus out to Kuilenburg which is also mentioned in early traveller records and was probably built in the 1740s! En route we will have a scenic photo opportunity from the site of the astronomical observatory (weather permitting).

On day three, we will travel north to the farm Eensaamheid, which has a corbelled building and a building with roof made of flat stones.
Further on at Groenvlei we will look at two brakdak buildings built and maintained by local farm workers. In the afternoon we will go south to visit the very old farms of Hartbeesfontein and Rheboksfontein.

Day four we depart Sutherland and travel to Matjiesfontein. En route we will stop to see a ruin in the Verlatenkloof Pass and turn off to visit the farm Gunstfontein, home of Afrikaans writer Van Wyk Louw. Before we reach Matjiesfontein we will make another short deviation to see the old Tuinplaas church built in the early 19th century for trekboers when they brought their sheep down to the lower Karoo in winter. It still serves the same purpose to this day.

At Matjiesfontein we will have a light lunch at the Lord Milner Hotel, before returning to Cape Town.

KAROO EXPERT
We will have Karoo expert Dr Judy Maguire travelling with us for the entire trip and those of you who were on the Prince Albert excursion will know that she is a mine of information. She is extremely knowledgeable about this part of the Karoo, having visited most of the farms personally.

DETAILS
Accommodation is at the Sutherland Hotel on a bed and breakfast basis (we have booked out the hotel). Couples will be in double rooms and singles will have to share (rooms, not beds). You must bring your picnic lunch for the first day, but thereafter all lunches (light) and dinners will be provided at restaurants and “bistros” in Sutherland. You only need to bring tea equipment, should you need a cuppa along the way.

Also included in the price are the entrance fees to the DR Church and the Louw Museum and the notes that will accompany the trip.

The price for the 4-day 3-night trip is R2500.  You will only need money to buy drinks (corkage R30 if you bring your own), to contribute to the driver’s tip at the end of the trip, and to tip the hotel chambermaid.

Although this trip is only taking place in October,  I need participants to pay
by the 9th JULY as we have to put deposits down on the bus, hotel and restaurants and I don’t want to drain the Society’s coffers.  Group size is limited to 30 paid up members.

HOW TO PAY

Cash: in envelope with your name on it – to be given to either Joy Saxon or Pat Kramer

Bank Transfer: Standard Bank, Rondebosch

Branch number 025009

Account number: 075624257

Reference: VASSA Sutherland

Cheque: Made out to VASSA – please write “Sutherland” on the back and give it to either Joy or Pat

Whatever means you have used to pay, please let Pat know that you have done so. studio@iafrica.com or 021 4245888

Details will be sent closer to the time of the excursion.

PS the VASSA Tuesday evening talk in October will be given by Nigel Amschwand, who will talk about the wagon route we are going to follow.