Kameel Stoepstorie: Details of a railway line

The Cape to Cairo Railway was a dream project to cross Africa from south to north by rail. 

Kameel Station is 805 miles from Cape Town.  It is 4449 ft above sea level 

In the words of Cecil John Rhodes 

” the railway will form the main trunk line connecting the markets of the Cape Colony with the British South Africa Company’s territory and, ultimately, on joining with the Beira Railway Company’s line to Salisbury, will afford through means of transport from Cape Town to Beira.”

The wooden sleepers has made way for concrete sleepers.

The way the sleepers are installed also changed over the years.

Details of the switch (wissel in Afrikaans).
A switch, turnout or points is a mechanical installation enabling trains to be guided from one track to another.
It could be at a railway junction or where a siding branches off. 

The distance meter to Warrenton in the Northern Cape
179.5 km to go to the next junction.
You will notice that there is more of these distance meters standing in a row.
The next one reads 179.6 and these are 100m apart.
After the 10th marker it change to 180.
It reminds of of the road makers.
One can say different ways of transport but sharing the same information.

Dates stamped on the bar of inspections carried out

Trains are part of our daily lives. Our cottage is only 15 meters from the railway line.

Till next time

Sandra

If you love to do trainspotting. Gives us a call on 0822642763 and book the Station Master House. It is fully self catering.

Kameel Stoepstorie: Windpump

A windpump is a type of windmill which is used for pumping water

By the time you’ve bought and erected it, a new wind pump there will be a big dent in your pocket.

How does a windmill pump work?
A water pumping windmill is simple and efficient. The blades of the windmill wheel catch the wind, which turns the rotor. … This motion drives a pump rod, up and down inside of a pipe in the well. A cylinder with a sealed plunger going up and down inside forces the water up the pipe. It is almost impossible to steal. It is a simple, reliable machine. But this is why it’s also the most neglected piece of farm machinery.

What is the purpose of a windmill on a farm?
Windmills can be used to lift water from the aquifer to directly irrigate crops or to pipe water from one location, such as a reservoir or pond, to a location where water is required. This is direct wind-to-water power, a mechanical means of moving water.

It normally runs for years without any trouble – even without an oil change. But when it does break down, you could be in serious trouble. Spare parts are expensive and are not always readily available. You also usually need an experienced wind pump mechanic to fix it. Clean the sump and change the oil. Also, tighten every single nut and bolt. Also, make sure the hood is screwed on tightly to keep out the rain. The job shouldn’t take you more than two hours for each pump, but it will save you a fortune.

But sometimes a very strong wind comes along and the head of the windpump is thrown off.

A bonus to us is that it is picture-perfect.

Till next time
Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: When the sheep come in for a manicure

September is the month in which the sheep are getting rid of their extra warm winter coats.

What is Shearing?
When the wool is cut off of a sheep is called shearing. Shearing doesn’t usually hurt a sheep. It’s just like getting a hair cut. However, shearing requires skill so that the sheep is shorn efficiently and quickly without causing cuts or injury to the sheep or shearer.

Sheep shearing is a practice for the health and hygiene of each animal. Unlike other animals, most sheep are unable to shed. If a sheep goes too long without being shorn, some problems occur. The excess wool impedes the ability of sheep to regulate their body temperature and if sheep are not shorn in the early spring flies hatch in the long winter coats.

Wool continues to grow if not shorn, making the sheep uncomfortable. The heavy wool begins to pull on the skin and can lead to skin sores. Those sores can attract flies, leading to possible flystrike.

Unshorn sheep become itchy in the heat and begin rubbing on hay racks, fences and each other. This can lead to the fleece to felt on the sheep’s body.

The dirty unshorn wool invites flies. Shearing the wool before the flies hatch, gets rid of the dirty soiled fleece. Any cuts or abrasions that occur during shearing will heal quickly before the fly season

Till next time

Sandra

Where to stay when visiting our area

Kameel Rust and Vrede 076054808035 There is different options of accommodation available. You can stay in the Bed and Breakfast, stay in a camper van or a cabin with self-catering facilities or you can camp.

Kameel Stoepstorie: A dove breeder changed into a crockery cupboard.

Things are never just straight forward in our home. There is always room for a twist or two.

On our arrival at KameelZA, we store some of our stuff in a shed, on my brother’s farm. Once a week we would dash over to collect some of our stuff. During one of this visit, I spotted an old dove breeder standing in the shed. This was fascinating. The little doors and little bars made it even more unusual.

My brother was kind enough to pass it on to us. We left it outside for a day or two before the big clean began. Except for being out of use for quite some time, it was also a bit flimsy, but it will be ideal for a crockery cupboard.

The restoration process took Hennie some time. He used my dad little workplace as a workshop. He took the breeder apart and copy some of the doors and beams. The sanding and fitting took some time. Every time he fixed something a new challenge popped up. Some of the planks were bent and had to be flattened.

Hennie had to search for the right size bars to replaced the missing once. Parts of the back were damaged and needed replacement. As we have moved with old tin ceilings, we decided that it will be ideal for the back and it will add some texture to the, now, crockery cupboard.

One morning he announced that he needs the paint for it. I have looked at pictures of paint colours on the internet and was still dreaming which colour would it be. We decided on a steel grey colour with the name Dust to Day.

On a clear day, the compressor started and it took two days to spray paint the cupboard in every crack and nook. Once this was completed, to Hennie’s satisfaction, it was time to select the tin ceilings and installing it as the backing.

With a lot of excitement, it was carried into our cottage. I could start with the unpacking of the crockery. The way to go was to create little displays in every box.

Hope you like the final result.

Till next time
Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Rovos Rail and Kameel Railway Station

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.

The Observation Car is like the stoep of Africa.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Stations and whistle-stop around Kameel

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.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameeldoringbome

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.

n Kameeldoringboom of dan Vachellia Erioloba se dorings van naderby. 

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.

Groot erkenning word aan die webtuiste gegee vir die skildery naamlik die Dyman Gallery

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 kameeldoringboom wat die stryd teen ‘n trekker en ‘n ketting gewen het.

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 peule met hul sagte grys kleur.

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.

Tot volgende keer

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameel Veld plants

On Heritage Day we spend the day in the veld looking for something different than the usual. Decided to put on our camera strap and walking boots and get going.
After six months of living in the North West Province of South Africa, we thought that it is time to learn more about the heritage plants in the Kameel area.

There is grass and what we know as Vaalbosch but as you will notice the red sand is always visible.

We need to get a guide to learn us more.

Our area is very dry with red sand and the summer temperature rises to 45 degrees Celsius. This year the summer rainfall was less than 100 millimeter. The grasslands are very dry and the wildflowers are far and in between. There are no big fields of flowers but when you find one it is almost an ecstatic experience.

It was a special experience to just wander and experience beauty.

A walk in our back yard park. 
The plants are all part of nature and everyone grows on its own time and energy.
This was one of the strangest plants we came across. It grows not higher than 35cm but has this almost to big for its size seed pods.

If you can identify any of our plants we will appreciate it.

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Kameel 250 Rally

A wonderful festive atmosphere was the spirit of the day. Everyone was talking and walking around the sport field of Kameel Laerskool. The mothers were feeding the crowds. People were meeting old friends from far away at the annual Kameel 250 Rally.

You would ask Kameel. Yes, Kameel and our village has nothing to do with camels.

The Kameel 250 Rally brought participants from all over South Africa to be part of this festive day. A record of 46 entries were part of the Kalahari race.

Our village is known for the railway line that was built in 1894 as part of the Cape to Cairo project. The railway line was built on my Great Grand-father, Alfred Ernest Fincham’s farm – Kameelbult.o

A little more about Alfred Ernest. He was born in the year 1869 at The Grange in the Hopetown District and is a son of the late John Thornton Fincham, farmer and general merchant of the district.  In 1870 he gave up the business in those parts and proceeding northwards to Vryburg.  Bechuanaland where he assisted in establishing the firm of Fincham and Sons. He sold out his interest to take up farming in the Mafeking District, by purchasing a block of farms of 9000 morgens at Ramathlabama.  Alfred was one of the defenders in the siege of Mafeking, belonging to the Town Guard, manning De Kock’s Corner Fort through the Siege of Mafeking.  When it was raised he returned to farm life, giving attention to raising both large an small stock.  He married the Elizabeth Ellen West and they had four children. Louisa Elizabeth, Mary Amelia, Ada Ethel and Victor Baden (my Grandfather)

The foot-and-mouth disease took its toll amongst the cattle and the family then moved to the farm in the Stella district. When they arrived at the farm Louise commented that there was a Lonely Hill. The house and piece of land is still known as Lonely Hill.

This piece of land is right next to the Stella Salt Pans and over the years David Livingston and Robert Moffat visited the area. H Anderson Bryden wrote in his book Gun and Camera in South Africa about his visits to the Finchams

The road between lies across a dead flat, unbroken tree or bush, and is inexpressibly wearisome. The telegraph posts, which follow the road between Vryburg and Setlagoli, rather add to than detract from the monotony. This fifty mile stretch to Setlagoli, dull, fiat, and uninteresting as it is, especially if you follow the post road and do not call at Fincham’s, is to my mind one of the most trying in British Bechuanaland . I have ridden it several times alone, and I have noticed at such times, that the utter lack of relief over this deadly bit of veldt seemed to impress itself even upon one’s horse.

Salt was mined and transported via donkey wagons to Kameel railway line. Later on, a wooden building was erected and the everyday running of Kameel Railway Station came into being.

Victor married to Hester Cecilia Guache  and they raised three children namely Alfred Ernest, Gerald Cecil (my father) and Jean Dolores.


Victor was born on 6 June 1900 in a tunnel underneath the town during the “Seige of Mafeking. 

The newly weds moved to Devondale where they made a living running a small shop. They would drive to Kameel to visit family in friends on a motorcycle with a sidecar.
https://deoudehuizeyard.com/2018/05/05/stoepstorie-10-devondale-tot-kameel/

My Great-grandfather passed away on 15 Jul 1937 and was buried in the Mafeking cemetery. Victor and Hester then moved the Kameelbult.

They saw the need for education for their own children and for the children of the farming community. The Kameel Laerskool opened its doors in 1934 in a room in my grandparents house. My granny – Hester was very involved with the day to day issues of the school. My parents and we all attended the farm school. All the kids of family and friends also attended the farm school. Growth was evident and my grandfather built a stone school which was later demolished. He then built a two-class room school building and till today it is fondly remembered as the Witskool due to the fact that since I can remember it was painted white. https://deoudehuizeyard.com/2018/01/17/a-farm-school-in-kameel

The Witskool

Later years the school building was renewed and the school that hosted the Kameel 250 Rally was built. The sport fields are changed into the starting point and pit-stops for the competitors.

My dad, Gerald was a keen spectator of all kinds of sport. When my two younger brothers, Cecil and Mike was old enough they all got into the Off-road racing. An old farm bakkie was transformed into a racing machine. ith now sponsorship and no fancy engines they competed in every race. Dad and Pajapan would be the backup crew and my Mon would follow in a car. This was the beginning of holidays next to off-road tracks for the two. Mom would fondly remember all the funny incidents.

Kameel has also delivered some NR and National Champions over the years in the form of Hein Moolman, Cecil Fincham, Wikus van Deventer and most recently, Victor Fincham. Victor is my cousin.

In the words of Victor : Well to be honest it started while I was still wearing nappies. I basically grew up next to the track. My uncle, Cecil Fincham Snr, (is a NRCCC Champion ) started racing the the late 80’s, and him and my Grandfather use to take me to all the races and that is where I fell in love with racing and the mystique and adventure surrounding it. I had done thousands of races in my head and with my bicycle in the back yard growing up and finally got my chance in 2013 and the rest as they say is history…..

Till next time

Sandra

Kameel Stoepstorie: Water is everything

South Africa is located on the Southern tip of Africa. About twice the size of Texas. Climate change has affected water supplies within the region. Rains that usually come and supply the country’s water has come infrequently. Living on the edge of the Kalahari desert makes us realize how precious water is.
This is the reason why there is a lot of excitement when a new borehole is drilled that will supply water to my family on their farm. In fact it is a huge occasion. Once the drill is in place and it starts to crack the earth there is a lot of dust. Our heads are hanging low in prayer that there will be water at the bottom of the hole. Time goes by and a lot of activity takes place. Hennie and myself is watching the process in anticipation.

The drill is set up.
Everyone knows exactly what to do.
My brother starts the generator.
We all gather to witness this occasion.

All underground water originates on the surface of the earth. The heat of the sun evaporates it, it forms clouds and falls as rain or snow. Water accumulates in streams, ponds, oceans and it seeps into the ground. Just how much water is there underground? Geologist have determined that there is 30 times more water underground than above ground in the world!

My brother gives a hope full smile.
The earth is broken
The big yellow machine is giving a roar
The last check for the right place
Spectators gather under the trees.  

My brother is checking the condition of the soil. He always brought a little rock to mom when he drilled a hole containing water. Is this perhaps it.  Some discussions … Some worries …..

Huge machinery, more dust and huge pneumatic chisel is used

At 60m deep there is a show of water and the spray is unbelievable. There will be another little stone to add to my Mom’s collection.

Today we can all look back and say thank you to the Almighty that water came to the surface. We as humans along side with the animals can enjoy a new lease on life even in the drought that is presently so part of our daily lives. Water might be a basic human right in our country but, we living in the platteland in the North-West Province, do not have the privileged of a big dam or two, that supply the area with water. We are solely depending on borehole water. This is utilized by humans and animals. You might want to tell that the dam is leaking – yes it is but have you though about the little wild steenbuck, the little duiker and other that needs water too. Everyone is welcome to share the water.

Till next time

Sandra