When Rovos Rail – The Pride of Africa stops at Kameel it is
always a special occasion.
For those that is still wondering Rovos Rail is a
train-hotel.. The trains consist of restored coaches with lounges, dinning
cars, private sleeping compartments, each with private ensuite facilities. Then
there is the observation car which is like sitting on the stoep of the train.
The train has different types of accommodation on board.
With names like Pullman. Delux and the Royal Suite, which is half a train car
The company was started in 1989 by Rohan Vos and is family
owned and Rovos Rail has its private station at Capital Park in Pretoria.
The dining car reminds of Edwardian train travel with beautiful pre-1940 and is characterized by the carved roof that is supported with pillars and arches. The button leather seating, cristal glass and branded cutlery is all enhanced with the beautiful light fittings. The fans add to the glamour. This car is referred to as the Pillars.
The lounge car is fitted with deep sofas and wing back chairs and seems like the ideal place for an afternoon snooze as the train makes its way over the plains of Africa. Even the train is air conditioned the windows can open and you can enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of Africa.
When the train leaves Vryburg station toward Mahikeng (Mafeking) there is a couple of stations and whistle stops en-route. Today there is not much going on, on this route as the trains that use this line is transporting loads to neighbouring countries of South Africa. We have travelled on the old service road between Paradise and Madibogo to have a look at the marker boards.
First stop is Paradise. There was not a station but the farmers would leave a parcel at the rail side for transportation to the next place. The marker telling us that Paradise is 781 miles from Cape Town and the 4013ft above sea level.
The next station is Devondale. There used to be water tanks for the steam locomotives. There used to be a little shop built of stone and we would travel on the passenger train from Kameel to Devondale for an outing. The Devondale marker reads 790 miles from Cape Town and 4129ft above sea level.
Next up is Mnyani only 5 miles from Devondale. This stop was used for passengers to get a way of transportation. It was also a popular stop for parcels. The maker reads 795 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4207ft. As you will notice there is a climb in the altitude of 194ft over 14 miles.
Curnow used to be a whistle-stop like Mnyani. It was a popular place for passengers to make use of the train to travel to Mahikeng on the passenger train. As children, we would call this the milk stop. Farmers would load the milk on the train to be transported to Vryburg to the diary. 797 miles from Cape Town 4267ft above sea level.
The next station is Kameel and it is the station we call home. Kameel used to be a busy station with lots of rail traffic. Today the old rail lines tell the stories of better times. It was the station where the grain from the silos was loaded for the next destination. It was extended with more rail tracks round 1980. The station was also equipped with yard lights. Unfortunately, like so many railway stations, the station building and other buildings were demolished. We still have some fun when the weekly train passes by and you feel the rumble of the train under your feet. It will never be the same again but we are trying our best to uplift the station houses and the community. Kameel is 805 miles from Cape Town 4449ft above sea level.
Still, en-route to Mahikeng is Doornbult. Doornbult is a crossing and between Kameel and Doornbult was the old trolley stop. When a train approached the trolley will have a place to park next to the main line. During the Anglo-Boer War, there was also a corrugated iron blockhouse from where the British troops would protect the railway line. Doornbult is 809 miles from Cape Town and the altitude is 4470ft. This is the highest point on the railway line.
Wirsing is a railroad siding and is located in Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality, North-West, South Africa. The estimate terrain elevation above sea level is 1377 metres.
Next up is Rabatho. Rabatho is 819miles from Cape Town and the altitude 4325ft
At the end of our road is Madibogo. Like Kameel Madibogo was a busy station. 821 miles from Cape Town 4038ft above sea level. The water tank is still standing the station buildings has been utilized and forms part of the community.
Thank you to everyone whom made their photo’s available.
Soos julle weet het ‘n Kameeldoringboom yslike dorings. Vir ‘n klein dogtertjie is dit sommer allermintige dorings. Onthou tot vandag dat ‘n doring in die sagte deel van my voetsool gesteek het. Dit het gereën en ons het in die water geloop. Die nagevolg was pynlik. Ma Floss het alles probeer maar die doring het vasgesuig vir dae. Vandag nog is die letsel onder my voet die bewys van die pyn en lyding.
In Suid-Afrika is die Kameeldoringboom is ‘n beskermde boom. Dit lewe vir baie jare. Van die bome op die plaas was daar toe ons as klein kinders daar kom woon het. Niks krap hulle omstandighede om nie. Nie droogte of baie reën nie. Die penwortel roei baie diep en die maksimum van so ‘n penwortel is 68m.
Die Doringboom verskaf kos, skuiling, plek vir die vee en voels. Dit het ook medisinale voordele vir die mens. Pierneef het graag die bome geskilder.
Jare gelede wou Pa Gerald ‘n boom uithaal wat in die pad was
van ‘n ontwikkelling. Die trekker – nogal met so ‘n dakkie – en kettings is
ingespan. Die trekker het gekreun en gesteun, maar toe die ketting breek en
amper vir Ouboet teen die kop tref Pa
oorgegee. Die boom staan nog vandag heel gemaklik op sy plek.
Die boom dra die mooiste grys peule. As jy desperaat genoeg is kan jy die peul oopbreek en die swart sade uithaal en fyn maal en gebruik as ‘n plaasvervanger vir koffie. Die fyn gemaalde saadpoeier is ook glo goed vir oorinfeksie. Gebrande as van die bas van die boom is goed om ‘n hoofpyn te genees. Die sade word ook gebruik as ‘n voer vir die vee. Die gesegde lei dat ‘n Kameeldoringboom nie sal groei voordat dit deur die maag van ‘n bees gegaan het.
Die bygelowe het ook nie die Kameeldoringboom verby gegaan nie. Daar word geglo dat weerlig eers ‘n doringboom sal slaan voordat dit anderbome sou raak slaan. Die storie glo ek swaar. In ons jong dae het die weer 14 van Ma Floss se beeste onder die Kareebome dood geslaan. Die Kameeldoringboom was ongeskonde.
Die Versamelvoëls maak maak masiewe
neste in die Kameeldoringbome. Die nes lyk soos ‘n groot hoop gras wat in die
boom sit. Wanneer jy onder die “hooimied”
staan sien jy die ingange na die verskillende kamers. Dit lyk nogal soos ‘n heuningkorf.
Honderde families woon in so ‘n nes en dit is ‘n gesig om van nader te beskou.
Hierdie neste word vir generasies van voëls bewoon.
Ons huis is natuurlik in die skadu van ‘n Kameeldoringboom gebou.
We are part of the street as much as we are part of the town.
Our house address is 17A Stuart Street.
The name Stuart relates to two possibilities.
*Major Warden named all his children after the Royal house of Stuart. Rumors were that he was an unofficial grandson of Bonnie Prince Charlie.
* Stuart Jacobus, 1803 – 1878, author, diplomatic agent and advocate of emigration, took part in the Sand River Convention in 1852.
After the Boer War in 1904, the British had a huge camp on Kings Hill. Here they broke many stones, cut and trimmed it to be used for building purposes. To get these stones in the town a track was laid from Kings Hill to the town. Some of these stones were used when the Town hall was built. This information probably also explains the existence of many houses and buildings in Stuart St, which were built of stone. There were also traces of the track in Vowe and Bester streets.
The early magistrates were Bester, Chauvin, Theron, D Cloete, J De Kock, Bramley, (that was accused of high treason), Canisius, J N Boshoff, J Z de Villiers, F W van der Riet, Charles Warden. (Steytler 1932)
Mr. Joseph De Kock resides at De Oude Huize Yard from 23 July 1861 till 23 April 1903 almost 42 years.
Concentration camp at the foot of Platberg
After an incident with Lord Kitchener the women were transported to “Tin Town”
Some women were lucky and did not travel in open carriages
An almost mad Kitchener was tormented by the Concentration Camp women and children when they did not show respect when the funeral procession of Dr Godfrey Reid pass them. Instead a hissing sound was made. Reid was killed during the Groenkop battle on Christmas day. The women and children were then moved to “Tin Town” close to Ladysmith. Some were transported in open train carriages and the luck ones in proper passenger car.
Thank you to Leon Strachan, Nico Moolman en Biebie de Vos for their contribution
Hier by De Oude Huize het ons ons eie melktertstorie om te vertel.
Elke storie het ‘n begin en hierdie ene begin jare gelede toe ek in 1978 skoolgehou het in Port Elizabeth.
Die pragtige St Georges park was net ‘n paar meter van my woonstel af en was ek bevoorreg om ‘n see uitsig te hê, maar so ook die baie bekende Havelockstraat wat ‘n paar winkels gehad het onderandere ‘n tuisnywerheid. So staan ek eendag in die einste winkel en kyk wat ek kan aankoop vir die tee by my vriendin wat in Prospect Hillstraat gewoon het. Net so om die hoek van die pragtige St Mary’s Church.
Terwyl ek nog so tussen die koeke en die terte dinge bespiegel kom ‘n Oompie nader geloop, maar ek gaan my gang en toe ek hand uitsteek in die rigting van die melkterte toe vertel hy my sy melktert storie.
“Niggie ek koop toe mos ook so ‘n melktertjie om huis toe te neem. Die dametjie vra een of twee en ek is ‘n man wat gulhartig is so ek stem in vir twee. Die ruilhandel vind plaas geld vir tert en daar stap ek uit. Dit voel vir my al asof ek ‘n paar spoelklippe in die sak het, maar ek gaan vroulief beindruk. Terwyl ek nou my motor se neus so in die rigting van die huis druk wonder ek darem oor die tertjies wat nou saam met my oppad huis toe is. Hulle roep my naam en nooi my om tog net so ‘n stukkie verleiding te proe voordat ek by die huis kom. Ek het die pad langs die rivier gekies om my huis toe te vat dus was daar min verkeer. Ek maak toe ‘n plan en proe so ‘n happie . . . . wat ‘n skok . . . daar was geen verleiding in daardie terte nie. Ek het die kar se deur oop gemaak en die tert laat rol en ek is oortuig hulle het tot binne in die Baakensrivier gerol sonder om enigsins vorm te verloor”.
De Oude Huize se melktertstorie begin by tienuur vanoggend toe ons Nederlandse gaste vanaf die Drakensberg arriveer. Nou moet julle besef die vorige nag se gaste borsel nog tande na ontbyt. So doller dan ‘n afkop hoender hardloop ons rond en die Nederlanders soek ‘n badkamer – wil net noem daar is ses van hulle.
Uiteindelik is die vorige nag se gaste by die hek uit en die Nederlander koek vir ‘n wyle in een kamer terwyl ons die ander kamers poleer en suig en pof en tof om reg te kry. Ek moet byvoeg ek floreer nie wanneer dinge bietjie vinnig gaan nie!.
In die proses vergeet ek om beskuit te bak, ek vergeet om ‘n happie vir 4 uur koffie te bak. Hennie bring uitkoms en gooi ons kar se wiele in trurat en jag SPAR toe. Op TV sê die oompie mos hul bakery is so goed. Ek stel voor hy kyk vir ‘n melktert – so een soos in die brosjure – ‘n outydse melktert van een of ander tannie.
Binne 20 min is hy uit en tuis. Hy het die laaste melktert gekry.
Die gaste sit aan vir koffie en koek en ek haal die tert van verleiding uit die dekseltjie bak . . glo vir my as die Baakensrivier naby was sou die ding ook gerol het. Dis in ‘n tinfoelie pannetjie met baie deeg en min vulsel. Die kalf is in die put ek kerm en verduidelik al die asprekte van ‘n ordentlike melktert en begin die affêre te sny. Die kors splinter is fladers en die tert breek waar dit nie veronderstel is om te breek. Ons lig die ding uit sy tinfoelie houer en sit dit in ‘n diepbord en probeer weer. Groot genade kry ons ses stukkies uit die dingetjie. Ons skarrel om tee en koffie te bedien en dan neem Hennie die bordjies met tert in en . . . .
Ek weet nou nie mooi wat gebeur het nie maar een stuk was seker so moeg vir my afbrekende kommentaar dat hy of dit mag ook ‘n sy wees besluit om uit die bordjie te spring en karplaks op die vloer te land.
Ons altwee staan verstom . . daar was net 6 stukkies
Gelukkig onthou ek dat ons vroeër die dag so ‘n ou versnapperingtjie geëet het en daar ‘n stukkie “bêre vir later” oorgebly het.
Noodeloos om te sê ek is nou verantwoordelik vir enige tuisgebak!
There is a pear tree in our neighbor’s garden but we are fortunate that a couple of branches arched into our driveway. On a windy day the pears would end-up on our driveway and were to bruised to eat or use. Every year we would safe some but end up with a bottle or two chutney or perhaps a starter of blushing poached pears.
This year there was a good crop of little Hood pears hanging over our driveway.
A little research and we were ready for our harvest. Pears ripen from the inside out. Left to ripen on the tree, they may become mushy. They ripen quite nicely once harvested. The old trick of storing the pears in a cool, dry place and the add of bananas did the trick. I put the bananas on top of the pears—and the more bananas, the faster the pears ripen.
Yesterday was Mulled Pear day.
We peeled and core the pears and let is sit in a bowl with salt water to prevent the pears to turn brown.
First the oven needs to be preheat to 150oC.
Then it was time to make the Mulled syrup. I used crab apples to give the syrup a nice pink color. Once there was a nice pink color in the water. The crab apples were removed.
Then cinnamon, star Aniseeds, gloves and allspice were added to the crab apple water.
The water was put to a rapid boil and then sugar was added. The sugar was then added and once the sugar dissolved a good bottle of red wine was added. A Merlot is a fruity wine that add to the flavor. The smells from the big pot was divine. It reminded we of my Mom and the many bottles that she filled during the summer months. Her specialty was canned whole peaches. We called it cling peaches because the pip was left inside and when eating the whole peach you really have to cling on to it or it would flew over the dinning table.
The syrup was then strained through a muslin cloth and I must say the color was looking just right.
The pears pack into warm, sterilized jars. Pears are very bottom-heavy and I find that you have to fill the bottles with more pears than originally though. Heat the syrup to boil and pour into the jars.
Cover the jars with lids, but do not tighten it properly. Place the jars about 5cm apart in the oven for about 2 hours. This will also depend on the size of the jars.
Remove from the oven and seal properly and place on a wooden surface. Leave undisturbed until completely cool and check the seal the following day.
It will last for about 12 months on the shelf of your canning cupboard.
Proof is always in the tasting. For an early evening we had mulled pears, with Parma Ham and Goat’s Cheese Salad
This farm school opened it’s doors in 1934 in a room in my grand-parents house. My Granny – Hester Fincham was very involved with the day to day issues of the school. My parents and family also attended the farm school.
Growth was evident and soon my grandfather – Victor Fincham built a school. Till today it is fondly remembered as the ‘Wit skool” due to the fact that since I can remember it was painted white.
Mrs Vic (Granny Hester) as she was known in the community was still seeing over the day to day running of the school. During break the learners would go to the post-office to get the mail. En route to the post-office was Mr Mackay’s shop and here you could buy to huge Wilson toffees for one penny.
Fifty-seven years ago, my brother, Julian headed off to school. This was a huge family celebration as he was the eldest grandchild of Mrs Vic
It looked like great fun and he even got to take sandwiches everyday too! He had a smart suitcase, BOOKS, CRAYONS AND PAPERS! After not too much persuasion, I went off to school with him. I must have been the first 4-year-old in “Grade 0!”
Binney and Smith Inc., Records 0624 Box 41 Folder 6 Crayola Crayon box about 1903
Our teacher – I can’t remember if it was Miss Betsie or not, but she let me practice writing with the left hand and when that was tired, with the right hand. My mum would come and pick me up at break time soon after all the sandwiches had been devoured.
The most memorable thing from that first school year was Julian’s speech about what happened at home just prior to his leaving for school. I have never quite understood why children must always write a speech or composition about their holiday or what happened at home on a particular day.
Getting back to the story – like most farm children of the day, Ouboet (Big brother) was quite capable of driving the Ford. Hennie says it was a Ford 100. We would catch Uncle Koos’s bus to school. With Ouboet behind the wheel, we would drive to the farm gate and then get onto the bus.
His speech went as follows, “Miss, this morning on the way to school, the Ford’s clutch slipped and the gears locked which nearly resulted in us being late for the bus.”
The following year, school really began and it was a serious business. I recall Maggie and Elmarie who had the most delicious peach jam sandwiches. The sandwiches were later replaced by the most delicious chocolate cake. Elaine could go home whenever she felt like it. She was also my cousin and I would accompany her home during many a break time. She could run like a streak of lightening. Then there was Marieta and Mariette who could both sing so beautifully. Years later they would even get to sing the Drummer Boy song in the NG Church’s gallery. The clever girls were Heila, Riana and Amanda.
It was during this time of my life that I came to meet a certain school inspector. As he walked between the desks, he stopped at my desk. I think it was quite unusual at the time that a child could cope quite well writing with both their left and right hand. Perhaps he had not yet heard of the word ambidextrous! Who would have heard of such a thing back in 1963!
With the following words, “Miss, you had better decide which hand you are going to use to write with!” I got such a fright, I decided to go with the hand in which the crayon was held at the time – it was my left hand. Fortunately, all left handed people are seen by myself as somewhat special, many of whom happen to be in our family.
I remember Mr Basson – he had his classes in the old white school building. We sat according to our classes. The standard 3’s in front, then 4’s and then the 5’s. As the standards progressed each year, we would also move further back too. The thing I remember the most about Mr Basson were his essays. He taught me to write about mountains. He would write key words on the black board and we would have to create a story around them. I always wondered if he were missing the mountains of the Cape Boland as he would spend so much time teaching us about these majestic blue giants. I must say that from where I sit right now, living at the foot of the Platberg, I could even wax lyrical about the colors of this beautiful mountain.
Later on, Andrew would arrive at school with his bandy legs. Like Elaine, he would run so fast you would just spot him disappearing into the distance!
And so, the years marched on. Many of our, “clutches,” would slip and our, “gears,” would jam but at the same time we learned of the Majesty of God’s Grace and Mercy.
May God’s blessings always fall on the Kameel Primary School like a soft and gentle rain.
Next time when you travel between Johannesburg and Durban on the N3 and follow the Van Reenens pass – just pause a moment and notice the beauty around you.
This road is often mistakenly called the Old Van Reenen’s Pass, which is incorrect because the original pass mostly followed the course of the present-day N3 route. The road tracks the course of the railway line, which follows a series of contorted loops and tunnels in an effort to keep the gradient to a reasonable level. There does not appear to be an official name for this pass, so it can be confusing to research and to locate. The road, which is mostly gravel, is in a surprisingly good condition and can be driven in any high-clearance vehicle, provided that the weather allows; like Van Reenen’s Pass, the route is subject to both snow in winter and violent thunderstorms in summer. Thanks to Mountain Passes South Africa for the information
The landscapes around the Van Reenen Pass are stunning and the railway service roads and tunnels top off the adventure. The route is a superb gravel pass but easy going and we duck off the N3 just just after Van Reenen. We traveled on the downhill mode. The scenery is stunning. This is the service road of the railway line and we traveled pass sidings, tunnels and farms. It include a 200m tunnel built in 1925, with a curve.