Diamonds & Dust

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Impromptu road trips are the best,we planned this one quickly, packed and loaded a few suitable CD’s then headed off to Kimberley,aiming to be there by lunch.Timing was not bad and we stopped at the “Halfway House Hotel” known to all as “The Half” around 12h30.So little time and so much to do- after a quick pub lunch we headed off in the direction of Barkly West to a Wildebeeskuil where the Parks Board have set up a visitors centre,after a brief video Petrus the curator took us to the nearby Koppie to see the San Rock art. The san were previously displaced but have moved back into the area to a nearby village . The Koppie is full of San drawings depicting trance art,animals and geometric shapes.There was also a diorama showing the veld in a easterly direction which indicated the position of the SAAF airfield from WW2,it was great to see this as my father trained there before heading North to Egypt and Italy.

After a phone call to a local farmer we than shot off in a southerly direction to a town known as Plooysburg when the farmer allowed us to view the rock art sites situated on the Riet River,the large black rocks are full of similar carvings dating back around 2000years,it’s a mystical spot and one can actually imagine the San at work.Rumour has it that they carved with diamonds which were buried with them after they passed away.Back to “The Half”,supper and bed as we had another early start.

The next day saw us headed to Gariep Dam via Koffiefontein where the italian POW’s were held during WW2.Adjacent to that camp was a camp where the late BJ Vorster was also held.All that really remains are the murals painted by the Italian POW’s.We arrived at Gariep Dam and checked into our hotel known as De Still,after lunch we headed across to Norvals Pont to view the site of the Boer War concentration camp,then we went right around the dam to Bethulie hoping to see the local hotels book collection and another concentration camp site,we were somewhat dismayed when the hotel owner would not let us see the books or tell us where the site was as we were not residents of his hotel.Undeterred we explored the town and then drove around the Dam back to Norvals Pont,be aware though that the route is almost 160km.We then took photos of some of the old bridges and returned to our hotel for supper.

Early the next morning we shot a few pictures of the sunrise and then went for a 8km walk to the top of the adjacent hill and down to the dam wall,it’s a pleasant walk with lots to see,on the way back it’s all uphill,the walk was good though as one tends to eat well when travelling.

It’s amazing how quickly three days end,on the Monday we headed back to the big smoke that is Jozi,the N1 was a dream after all the secondary roads and we arrived home thoroughly rested and began planning the next trip.I will also do write up’s of the individual spots we visited as there is so much that one can say about them as well.

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