Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Report Back #35

1. The Cederberg’s unique koringkrieke [katydids]

2. The Cederberg’s brand new gogga-eater

3. Who was Keppel Barnard?

4. Some farm boundary inputs from Dawie Burger ...

5. ... and some comments from Charles Merry

6. A review for the Cederberg Touring map ...

7. ... a map for Petrus Hanekom’s new book

8. ... and a closing sweetener from Rudolf

1. The Cederberg’s unique koringkrieke [katydids]

In a fascinating article published on his blog, Piotr [Peter] Naskrecki, an entomologist, photographer and author, based at the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, USA.), writes about his follow-up to Keppel Barnard’s discovery of the Cederberg’s very own rare and endangered cave katydids [koringkrieke]. I’ve written a bit more about Keppel Barnard below, but first here’s more about the goggas that Piotr came to the Cederberg to find.
Barnard’s specimens had lain unstudied in the SA Museum for over 70 years; Piotr realised that they were special the moment he saw them. Piotr was working on a revision of South African katydids at the time. No other cave-dwelling katydids have ever been found – anywhere in the whole wide world – so Barnard’s discoveries were indeed a scientific first. 

Piotr named them Cedarbergeniana imperfecta [the imperfecta refers to the fact that all the specimens seemed to be immature] – though he confesses that he should probably have named them after Barnard.

Piotr has subsequently visited the Cederberg several times collecting data about the biology of these curious and absolutely harmless creatures. They are true cave-dwellers, clustering together in groups of 20-30 individuals of different ages, and preferring cold caves where the temperature remains at about 12 degrees throughout the year. They only live in caves that are not habitats for bats or dassies, which limits their distribution to just a few ‘safe’ caves. Most curiously of all, they leave their sterile, foodless caves at night to forage on plants growing at the cave-mouth.

So there you are – another great first for the Cederberg, and yet another reason why its conservation is so very important.
If you would like to read Piotr’s complete blog go to http://thesmallermajority.com/2014/09/23/on-the-benefits-of-random-collecting/ ... in the meantime my thanks to Piotr for allowing us to summarize his article and to use a couple of his fantastic pics.

2. The Cederberg’s brand new gogga-eater

I can’t say much about it, but in 2012 a tiny Drosera (sundew), new to science, was found at Traveller’s Rest by botanist Charlie Stirton. Since then specimens have been found at Bushmans Kloof and much further away, at Kromrivier; it’s astonishing that a plant with such a relatively wide distribution should have hidden away in clear sight for so long!


3. Who was Keppel Barnard?

Keppel Harcourt Barnard was just one of a host of professional men and fortune seekers from Britain who flooded into the new Union of South Africa in 1911. Born in 1887, the son of a solicitor, Barnard obtained his BA in Natural Sciences at Cambridge in 1908. His father wanted him to study law, but science was his first love and in 1911 he came to join the staff of the SA Museum in Cape Town. He began as a lab assistant, but rose rapidly through the ranks and by 1921 he was appointed Assistant Director. He became Director in 1946, the post he held until his retirement in 1956.
Barnard’s specialities were marine biology, fresh water insects and Colophon stag beetles. He was also a mountain climber of note, and was Hon Secretary of the MCSA from 1918 to 1945. One of his frequent climbing companions was the botanical collector, TP Stokoe, who famously climbed the Spring Buttress Step-over at the age of 85. Stokoe died in 1959 after 48 years of friendship with Barnard, including frequent expeditions to the Cederberg. In 1954 Stokoe, then 86, wrote:
“I’m off to the Cederberg with Dr Barnard at Easter. The club [MCSA] is climbing ‘The Dome’. I’m not. It would be like combing a bald head. There is nothing but grass growing thereon ...”
Colophon stokoei
Barnard famously discovered a series of rare Colophon stag beetles living on various Cape mountain peaks – a different Colophon for every mountain range, it seems. He named them after his mountaineering friends – in 1931 he recorded that “The following [MCSA] members own pet colophons: Berrisford, Cameron, Eastman, Haughton, Izard, Nel, Primos, Stokoe and White”. 
         There is also a Colophon barnardi, of course.

Stokoe was in the habit of sending Barnard painted postcards of his own expeditions, and, fortuitously, many of these have survived. There’s more to read about these two merrie men of the mountains in ‘TP Stokoe – the man, the myths, the flowers’; see http://www.slingsbymaps.com/tpstokoe.aspx .

4. Some farm boundary and other inputs from Dawie Burger ...

Dawie Burger of Driehoek has been doing some fossicking around in the old title deeds and diagrams for some Cederberg farms, revealing several ‘new’ old names for the next edition of the map. 

Dawie also discovered this interesting shepherd’s shelter near Bakleikraal, where the alphabet is painted on the cave roof – seems that the shepherd was teaching himself to read. 

He also sent this short extract from the ‘Cedar Mountain Ranger’s Diary’:

Report of the Ranger of the Cedar Mountains for the Month of April 1893. 
Dear Sir!
By kindly following my  movements you will find that your Ranger has tried to fulfill his duties –
April 2             From 10 a.m. fire in the Mountains between Grootkloof & Boschkloof
April 3             Fire still raging in the Mountains – tried to extinguish the fire with some people, but was not successful – Slept at Grootkloof.
April 4             With Jacob Davids, a “Woodcutter” I left Grootkloof early to see where the fire commenced. Found that the fire was put to the veld at Boschkloof on a piece of Leased Ground called Koksbosch and Warmhoek – From here the fire took its course over Middelberg to Driehoek – camped out.
April 5             After a long search I returned to Clanwilliam & reported what I had found, to the C.C. & the Conservator of Forests at Cape Town.
April 6             Returned to Grootkloof to fetch my horse –
April 7             From 8 a.m. - 12 a.m. on the Commonage.

5. ... and some comments from Charles Merry

Charles sent these revisions for the hiking map:
“1. Height of Windswept peak: Your map shows it as 1662m high. Looking at it from Chaos, it is definitely much lower. My digital copy of the Trigsurvey 1:50000 map (3219CB) seems to show the height as 1562 ( a bit blurred, but I believe it is a ‘5’, not a ‘6’). Google Earth (not a good source) indicates a height around 1540m.”
– Thanks, Charles – Torben Wiborg had pointed that out to me. It’s an error on the earlier edition of the 1:50 000 sheet that I unwittingly repeated.

“2. Path up the valley south of Kotzesberg: Your path heading towards Kotzesberg appears not to exist. I attach a scanned copy of our GPS track which follows a faint path until just below the nek, where the path peters out, after which there is a (very occasionally) beaconed route further. Google Earth confirms the existence of this path.”
Mea culpa – dunno how that happened!

6. A review for the Cederberg Touring map ...

Brian Joss of Cape Community newspapers wrote this for the Peninsula ‘knock n drop’ papers – you might have seen it in your Echo, Tatler, etc etc.

7. ... a map for Petrus Hanekom’s new book

With pleasure we have drawn and donated this map for Petrus Hanekom’s new book of fascinating Cederberg tales and experiences. It will hopefully be published in time for Christmas, so look out for it ...

8. ... and a closing sweetener from Rudolf

Rudolf sent this pic of a real sugar-loaf, in explanation of the name used for so many mountains. Wiktionary defines sugar-loaf as “A block of refined sugar, usually in the form of a truncated cone, in which form it was traditionally exported from the Caribbean and Brazil from the 17th century to the 19th century.”

All the best, enjoy the mountains!
Kaartman, November 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Report Back #34: more Tankwa, more Petrus Hanekom, and a beetle

1. Back to the Tankwa

2. An existing Tankwa ‘map’

3. Hike the Cederberg #2

4. Petrus Hanekom’s new book

5. AWOL Blog

6. A brand new beetle!

1. Back to the Tankwa: mapping field research complete

It’s a vast area and the completion of the field-research – driving all the public roads that will fall on the map – is virtually complete, just 4 700 kilometres later. That said, we had every imaginable experience, from the expected shredded tyre to kamikazi meerkats to roasted Karoo lamb at the Lord Milner, nogal. I think the pics can tell most of the story ...
People do silly things in the Tankwa ... we call these ‘Hopes and dreams’ because once these hotrods were brand new and shiny, the apples of someones eyes ... my great-granny had a car just like the second one, all shiny black
Some Tankwa signs ... a whimsy, a warning and a wuttle
And some Tunkwa birdies – a Tunkwa bustard and two Numukwaland sandgrouse ...
Fauna and flora ... a gathering of locusts and a pretty aloe
Alas, it is no more! The day before we arrived there (this is an older pic) it was burnt to the ground! We could not photograph it, swarming as it was with Worcester constabulary ... dark rumour has it that the local AWB had something to do with this. Send Hein and Susan Lange your support via contact us on our map website: I don’t want to publish their email online
STOP PRESS: this good news just in from Hein and Susan:
The shop opened again yesterday. It is small but working. We will start to rebuild again within the next 2 weeks. A new (bigger mall) with less parking.
Regards, Hein & Susan
Only in the Tankwa could you find a place with a lekker name like that ... it simply means ‘elsewhere’! The other is more prosaically-named Saaiplaas, but it’s a great looking guesthouse on the Komsberg Pass road [recommended]. Nearby a family of stok-stert meerkats ran right under our wheels on the brow of a hill. They all survived, somehow and happily so did we ...
Just to prove that there is rock art in the Tankwa ... and that we really were at the railway museum at Matjiesfontein. It would’ve been classy to have served our loaded plates of roast Karoo lamb in this lovely old dining carriage, but the Lord Milner hasn’t thought of that yet ...
Contrasting states of hospitality in the Tankwa ... it’s somehow comforting to know that the rude ones are only semi-literate [being unable to spell ‘jakkals’]

2. An existing Tankwa ‘map’

I usually hesitate to comment upon other people’s maps. I know full well how easy it is to leave something out by mistake, or even to portray something incorrectly. No one should ever claim that their map is perfect – besides, every map is out of date the day after it is published [think about it]. However, one of the determinants when contemplating a new map of any area is a good look at what’s available ... and lo! Here’s map of the West Coast and Tankwa that proclaims [amongst other things] right on its cover, in bold capitals, that it is a ‘High detail information map’ [I shall henceforth refer to it as the HDIM]. It was published in 2013, so it can’t be badly out of date, and it says that great care was taken in its research and preparation. We decided to road test it, and, if we found it was a good map, to think again about publishing a competitor for it.
We did notice before we set out that the HDIM showed a (fictitious) public road linking Piket-Bo-Berg directly to Goedverwacht, which meant that no one had researched that properly; that no where on the HDIM could you find your way to the famous flowers at Biedouw; and that the name of ‘Tulbagh’ was incorrectly spelt, but none of those places are in the Tankwa, so why let that put us off?



I’ve been doing this mapping thing for 50 years and I think I am reasonably good at reading a map by now, so when I say that the HDIM got us seriously lost – twice – I have no hesitation in saying that this very low information, very inaccurate and carelessly-produced product [it has more than 60 serious errors of fact or omission on it] is an absolute disgrace, a rip-off that misleads,  insults and totally disrespects its purchaser, and I am ashamed to think that tourists from here or from overseas might see this rubbish as the best that South African mapping can do ... I am commenting here as a consumer and user of the product, let me emphasize, not as a rival. This thing genuinely let me down twice, and one of them [a badly flooded drift not shown anywhere on the map, not even its river] was potentially dangerous: we had to make a 135 km detour ...
And as a result, we’ll be getting our map of the Tankwa out in 2015, without a doubt.

3. Hike the Cederberg #2

Towards the end of 2015 we’ll be looking at Edition #2 of this map – that’s nearly a year earlier than we expected – so treat this as advance warning that we are going to nag for new info, comments and ideas pretty soon ...

4. Petrus Hanekom’s new book

Good news for Cederbergiana fans (how’s that for a dreadful word-coinage!) is that Rudolf Andrag is assisting Petrus Hanekom with the publication of a new book of his tales and reminiscences of the Cederberg, especially around Algeria. Look out for it, hopefully it will be published quite soon.

5. AWOL Blog

This man got inveigled into answering some questions about mapping by AWOL Tours ... you can read about it [and see extraordinary old pics] here 




6. A brand new beetle!

An off-shoot of researching ants for the Ant Atlasing project has been looking for ant-mimics – beetles, spiders and other goggas that for various nefarious reasons pretend to be ants. I’ve been using iSpot a lot in this work [if you’re not an iSpot person you should be – www.ispot.org.za]. I recently posted a sketch of a myrmecomorph [lekker word, means ant mimic, or ant-fraud if you prefer] that I found running around my garden, looking just like an ant.
It got the Beetle fundis all shook up, I can tell you. Turns out it’s probably a previously-undescribed genus [that’s genus, not a mere species hey]. What’s more, this afternoon I found another one, which from its colouring is probably the opposite sex.
They’re both safely in my freezer, pending transfer to the National Collection of Insects for further investigation ... there’s a couple of prominent politicians who could probably do with the same treatment.



Until next time ...

Kaartman October 2014

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Report Back #33: new Cederberg Touring map published

1. New Touring Map out

2. Farewell, Quinton and Elizabeth

3. Help us with ants, please

1. New Touring Map

It’s out there at last, our all-revised Touring Map of the Cederberg. We have revised the original section completely as well as extending the map northwards, to include the Bokkeveld Plateau. This should be a boon to flower enthusiasts who want to explore the Nieuwoudtville / Loeriesfontein / Calvinia area, as well as the Knersvlakte.

The Location Map shows the new coverage
We decided to only print a waterproof version this time, as the paper copies turned out to be too fragile for regular, rugged use, especially for cyclists and 4 x 4 navigators. The new map also incorporates Chris Berens’ delicate and effective relief shading. We have also made a special package available online, where you can buy the Touring Map and the Hiking Map together for a 25% reduction. If you can’t find this on our website, it will be up very soon.
If you’d like to get the new map [or any other products on our website] you can get a further 20% discount until the end of October 2014. Choose the Cederberg map from the link above and click on ‘Add to Cart’. Go through the log-in procedure with MonsterPay – if the OTP they promise does not arrive in your email inbox, check your junk mail box too [their message sometimes gets diverted by your system]. When you’ve moved on to the page after you’ve put in your address – the page is headed ‘SHIPPING, etc etc ...’ – you’ll see a little panel marked ‘Do you have a gift certificate or promotional code?’ Enter this code in the space provided – make sure you type it correctly, with spaces: Cederberg 11 . You’ll be invited to click on ‘Redeem Gift Certificate’. Now you’ll notice that your final bill includes a 20% discount labelled ‘Launch Coupon’ ... and there you are – we’ll post you your 20% off map as soon as we receive your order. Offer valid, as they say, until the end of October 2014 only ...


2. Farewell, Quinton and Elizabeth

We’ll be saying a fond farewell at the end of this year to Quinton, Elizabeth and Ayla Martins of the Cape Leopard Trust. The work that Quinton has done on behalf of our leopards is inestimable; while the education project that Elizabeth has initiated at Matjiesrivier has already changed hundreds of lives and attitudes. The Martins are moving to California where Quinton will be taking charge of a global snow leopard project. He will be staying in touch with the CLT, though, just as Liz will be running the education project from far away, so they are not lost to the Cederberg. Go well guys, you’ll have to learn to surf before you come back. And ski, too, I guess.


3. Help us with ants, please

The Ant Atlas project may not yet be formally off the ground, but in the meantime we have started to construct the website and it already has quite a lot of info and illustrations. Over the next few weeks it will gradually fill out, so please visit there if you’d like to help with this important project. The web address is www.ants.org.za and your comments will always be very welcome.



All the best

Kaartman, Sept 2014


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Report Back #32: New Cederberg Touring map, Bushmanskloof and much much more ...

1. New Cederberg Touring map

2. Bushmanskloof revisited

3. Names from Pip Nieuwoudt

4. Mount Oompie

5. Pics from Graham Bellairs, and GPS altitudes – be warned!

6. Tontelbos

1. New Cederberg Touring map

In September 2013 Geoff and Jeanne Ward joined us in researching the area north of the Doring River for edition #11 of our Cederberg Touring map. The map now includes an extension north that takes in the spring flower districts of Nieuwoudtville, Vanrhynsdorp, Calvinia and Loeriesfontein. We’re working hard at it and it should hit the shelves early in September.

A new feature of this map will be roads marked with a warning. It was very wet last September and at one stage we found ourselves on a road – a spectacular byway that we’d normally always recommend – that was rapidly turning into bottomless mud. We’d left all our food, water and bedding at our Nieuwoudtville accommodation, and as we groaned our way out of the incipient quicksand we realised that the nearest help was probably at least 40km away. There might be no other vehicles passing that way for days; there’s no cellphone reception, of course, and many of the farms marked on the map are no longer occupied. It’s startling to realise that if you want to explore those back roads you should be equipped as though you were off to the Okavango – with at least two vehicles, two spare wheels and enough kit to survive a night or two. And it’s all scarcely more than 300km from Cape Town, nogal.
If there is anything else special that you’d like to see included on the touring map, there’s still time to submit your very welcome suggestions ...
The shaman image at Fallen Rock Cave, Bushmans Kloof
2. Bushmanskloof revisited

At the kind invitation of Jill Wagner Mrs Kaartman and I revisited some of the rock painting sites at Bushmans Kloof. The fundamental economics of our cartographical empire ensure that we are not frequent visitors there, but nearly twenty years ago we were invited to produce a booklet of the Kloof’s magnificent rock art. That was a real privilege then, but there was no digital photography in those far off days, so it was a treat to be able to return, modern cameras at the ready, to Fallen Rock, Elephant Hunt, Bleeding Nose and the other sites for which BK is so well known. Ably led by Head Guide Gerhard we also enjoyed a loping caracal, a hungry eagle and some sun-worshipping dassies on the snooze.

The Agter-Pakhuis as a whole, especially Bushmans Kloof and Travellers Rest, is the richest area in the whole wide world for prehistoric rock art, and if you’ve never been there it’s high time you went. The rock art is a legacy that more than anything else in our beautiful country unites us all across all our cultural differences. Why? Because the San were [are] the oldest race in the world, and we are all descended from them.
At a recent gathering Janette Deacon pointed out the importance of that legacy. Not only are the San the oldest race, South Africa has the most and the oldest human fossils, the oldest rock engravings, and a greater repository of rock art than in the rest of Africa and Europe combined. Although the famous Lascaux paintings are considered to be older than any of our cave art, excavations on our south coast have unearthed painted stones that are three or four times older than any art in Europe – or anywhere else.
And finally, a little cherry on the cake – there’s now firm evidence that the bow and arrow was first invented right here, by our San ancestors ...

3. Names from Pip Nieuwoudt

Pip Nieuwoudt very kindly consulted his own memory and that of Oupa Klonkies of Kromrivier, and sent us these corrections for names along the old Karoo road that traverses the Matjies Rivier Nature Reserve – see map segment below.
It’s this kind of input from knowledgeable locals that makes map making such a pleasure – many thanks, Pip!

4. Mount Oompie

When we were compiling ‘Hike the Cederberg’ we wondered whether there was any connection between Oompie se Kop, in the Agter-Pakhuis, and Mount Oompie in the Drakensberg. The latter was named after Beverley Roos Muller’s ex-grandfather-in-law, Herbert ‘Oompie’ Liddle; Bev recently sent us these pics of ‘Oompie’ [taken in 1933], and Mount Oompie itself.

Bev writes, “the mountain ... apparently has a Zulu name, Ntaba Ndanyazana, ie. ‘The somewhat-high-mountain-where-the-lightning-strikes’ – not exactly a ringing endorsement!”

5. Pics from Graham Bellairs, and GPS altitudes – be warned!

Graham recently sent me a great collection of pics from his trip to the Sandfontein/Breekkrans area with Torben Wiborg and Alan Webber. I haven’t had a chance to study the pics in great detail yet, but we’re hoping to pick up some clues for the positions of the elusive Ventilator and the Hindenburg. Many thanks again, Graham!

Graham’s pics were followed by a GPS track of the trip from Torben – a very useful adjunct to the photos, Torben. Torben, who has spent some time ‘bagging’ all the over-1600-metre peaks in the Western Cape, also posed an interesting question. He wrote:
‘I was slightly disappointed to discover that the height of Moorreespiek is around 1590 m (varying from 1587 to 1594) and not 1601 m as indicated on all the maps.  The [GPS] readings were taken at the two highest points.  The Eastern high point contains the summit records dating back to 1950.  The most recent record found was 1994 (Ezan Wilson et al).  Two GPS devices confirmed the altitude after leaving them for 10 minutes with at least 7 satellites overhead.  You may wish to amend your next edition ... I have removed Moorreespiek from my “A” list of  peaks (named peaks above 1600 m in the Western Cape).  The list now has 179 peaks, of which I have climbed 85.  I still have a long way to go ...’
Sorry, Torben, you’re going to have to put Moorreespiek back on your list ... Wikipedia writes at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altimeter :
‘Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers can also determine altitude by trilateration with four or more satellites. In aircraft, altitude determined using autonomous GPS is not precise or accurate enough to supersede the pressure altimeter without using some method of augmentation. In hiking and climbing, it is not uncommon to find that the altitude measured by GPS is off by as much as 400 feet depending on satellite orientation.’
If you’d like all the technical details you’ll find them at Joe Mehaffey’s site, http://www.gpsinformation.net/main/altitude.htm . Joe writes: ‘New GPS buyers are frequently concerned about the accuracy (or lack of it) of the altitude readout on their newly purchased GPS. Many suspect their equipment may even be defective when they see the altitude readout at a fixed point vary by many hundreds of feet. This is NORMAL.’ 
Joe gives the detailed reasons for this, and ends with this friendly advice: ‘It is extremely unwise to overly depend on the altitude readout of a GPS. Those who use GPS altitude to aid in landing their small plane should have their insurance policies paid up at all times.’
Indeed.

... but since posting the above, it seems that Torben might have something of a point. Dr Charles Merry, a man who knows an inestimably greater amount about these things than I do, writes:
I agree with your comments regarding GPS heights - they are not that accurate. However, I think your reference (Joe Mehaffey) is a little bit old (2001). With good satellite geometry (and you will get this on top of a mountain, but NOT in a kloof) the GPS height accuracy should be around 10m these days (but can be worse).  I would not rely upon pressure altimeters too much either - if you sit in one place the altitude can change by tens of metres as the pressure changes. Years ago (before GPS) I did a gravity survey of Table Mountain and relied upon a survey-quality altimeter to provide heights. As a test I sat on the Saddle near the top of Newlands Ravine for a few hours in a strong S'easterly. Variations in the wind speed caused pressure changes which led to implied height changes of more than 30m. I could have used your 1974 map to get better results!
The heights of trig. beacons should be good to 1-2m, and spot heights on the 1:50000 maps are probably good to 5m. However, if the mountain top is very "blocky" it is possible that the stereoplotter operator put the floating dot on the wrong block.
All the best,
Charles


6. Tontelbos

In cederbergnames.blogspot.com we have this entry:
Tonteldoekkloof : “marigold ravine” [Afr]; a tonteldoek is an indigenous daisy, either Arctotis acaulis or Arctotheca calendula. There are two ravines with this name in the area: 1. a small ravine that leads down to Uitskietdrif, on the Uitkyk-Dwarsrivier road; 2. a small ravine west of Suurvlakte Peak in the southern Cederberg, that carries a tributary of the Suurvleirivier

However, Carina Hanekom sent me this pic from the Pakhuisberg, which John Manning identifies in ‘Wildflowers of Namaqualand’ as Gomphocarpus cancellatus, or milkweed – the Afrikaans name is ‘tontelbos’. It grows on stony slopes and all parts of the plant are poisonous. It would be interesting to know whether this is not in fact the plant for which one or both of those kloofs are named ...

Finally, I’ll close with a pic of my very favourite ant, just because I can ...

Kaartman, July 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Report Back #31: of New Websites, the Tankwa, the Kromrivier oak et al ...

1. New website, new products

2. Tankwa

3. Kromrivier oak tree

4. Cederberg Touring map

5. Cape Leopard Trust

6. Cederberg Heritage Route

7. More about names

1. New website, new products

Big news from Slingsby Maps is that we have a brand new website. Three months in the making, it includes a revolving slide show of photos and maps that’s pretty enough to use as a screen saver – and we’ll be changing the pics from time to time, too. On a first time load, give it a chance – if your ADSL is slow it may take a moment, but once it is in your cache it’s plenty fast. Designed for all modern monitor sizes, tablets, smart phones, whatever gizmo takes your fancy.

With the new site comes a new map – a complete revamp of our Cape Point/Simon’s Town hiking map, now at a larger scale and with off-shore hydrographic info courtesy of the SA Navy, too! It’s A1 size and all copies are waterproof. Matches ‘Hike the Cederberg’, too.

And our final commercial – we’ve also imported a small range of ‘map gadgets’ as aids to hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts – magnifiers, little torches, compasses, etc. See new website!

2. Tankwa

Our fans voted overwhelmingly for our next map to be of the Tankwa, so we’ve been off there researching. If you’re fond of that area, we’ve written up the results of our bouncing around them many wonderful backroads at Maps for Afrika
Hannatjie Sieberhagen of Rooikloof, Sutherland, sent us this pic of her grandson driving sheep down the Ouberg Pass and into the Tankwa.
It’s an annual winter grazing migration

3. Kromrivier oak tree

Rudolf Andrag sent me a lekker article by Bobby Jordan of the Sunday Times, all about the old Kromrivier oak tree. I, too, remember that tree with great affection. I first met it when I was 15, on a hike with friends. There was no such thing as a foam hiking mattress in those faraway days, and I discovered that evening why you should never sleep under an oak tree without one. Talk about the princess and the pea – what about them zillions of ancient, knobbly acorns pressing into your back, your hips, your ...!
Bobby Jordan, however, is a journalist and thus could not help including this extraordinary sentence:  “It was here that a Khoisan painter was caught in the act [of painting a picture] and fled, leaving his tools behind. It is the only known encounter with a Khoisan painter in recorded history ...”
Violins heard offstage left. By the time the early colonists reached the Cederberg the local ‘Khoisan’ painters were only painting with their finger tips. However, there were several recorded encounters with San artists in the Drakensberg [quite far away, I think] including the only known precisely-dated painting – the artist was arrested while painting a record of a ‘Bushman’ cattle rustling that had happened on the day before – 13 December 1848.
Part of Townley-Johnson’s reproduction of the famous Bamboo Mountain painting. In this panel two ‘Bushmen’ lead horses carrying the skins of rustled cattle. Painted in December, 1848, the artist was arrested while still working on his painting.

4. Cederberg Touring map

We’re hard at work here extending the touring version of our Cederberg map to take in Nieuwoudtville, Loeriesfontein and Calvinia, to be published in time for the flowers later this year. To whet your appetite for the daisy-fields of the Agter-Pakhuis and the Biedouw, here’s CJ Opperman’s lovely little contribution:

Op die groot saaidag van die heelal
het reeds ’n entjie duskant Wupperthal
oor die kaal Noordweste
’n sakkie van die Heer se beste
saad per ongeluk gelek, gelek en uitgeval



5. Cape Leopard Trust

Quick congrats from us all to Quinton Martins and the Cape Leopard Trust for their tenth anniversary. Sadly we missed the party – we were over the hill in the Tankwa, admiring the long-term plan to link the Tankwa-Karoo National Park to Matjiesrivier and the Cederberg ... bring it on!

6. Cederberg Heritage Route

This received from Peter Hart, re the AGM of the Cederberg Heritage Route and plans for a bit of hiking at Rocklands and on the Pakhuisberg Day Walk. You can view a YouTube snip about the latter at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxdqZvAcj9g 

Annual General Meeting of the Cederberg Heritage Route: Wed 30th July 2014 in Wupperthal. We would like to take a group of Friends of the CHR up to the Cederberg a few days in advance to do some hiking, stay in the local accommodation and then attend our AGM.

The plan this year is to spend the nights of 27, 28 & 29 July in the newly refurbished self-catering cottages in the Kliphuis Campsite run by Cape Nature near the top of the Pakhuis Pass. The cottages cost R750 per night, so if we have six persons per cottage the cost is R125pppn, or if only four persons R188pppn. The cottages are fully equipped for self-catering and bedding is provided. We can make the self-catering arrangements later when we know who is coming. These cottages may be suitable as the first night's stop for our Pakhuis Trail and for the Cederberg 100 Trail, so we wish to check them out and check a slightly revised routing for the first day of these trails. 

On 28th we thought of a circular day walk ... towards Amon se Poort. At the path "crossroads" turn right again and take the Old Wagon Road path which ends up on the R364 opposite the grave of C.Louis Leipoldt, then walk about 1km back along the road to Kliphuis - about 11km in total according to Slingsby's new "Hike the Cederberg" map.

On 29th we could do the circular walk on the north side of the R364 marked on the map as the Pakhuisberg Day Walk - about 13km. Both of the proposed day walks are quite spectacular. They are both in the Cape Nature Cederberg Wilderness area, so we will need to get permits, which are available at the Kliphuis Campsite. For all who have Wild Cards the permits are free and we also don't pay the so-called Conservation Fee for staying at Kliphuis.

On Wed 30th July those attending the AGM need to be there by about 12 noon, in time to have coffee at the Lekkerbekkie Coffee Shop before the meeting.

I have already made a provisional reservation for these cottages, so please let me know as soon as possible whether you would like to participate in this trip.

Many thanks and best wishes,
Peter Hart.
Chairman/Hon.Sec.
CEDERBERG HERITAGE ROUTE
Tel/fax: (021) 794 6362.
Email: pmghart@iafrica.com
Website: www.cedheroute.co.za
Duiwel se Kruis, at Amon se Poort

7. More about names

Finally, many thanks to Dawie and Lizette Burger of Driehoek who have continued to send in info and alternative explanations for some of the Cederberg place names.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Report Back #30: Of Dams and Names and Ants and Frolics

I thought I had better get this blog out before April Fool’s Day this year, or you might not believe me. Last year’s blog with its true story of the takeover of Algeria went viral, even though it wasn’t that funny ...
This time round:— 

1. Enlarging the Clanwilliam Dam

2. Some new Cederberg names and other changes

3. Ballerja

4. Of ants and the future

5. Old maps

1. Enlarging the Clanwilliam Dam

The raising of the Clanwilliam Dam wall by 17 metres has been approved by cabinet; there are plenty of implications for road access to the Cederberg, not to speak of the effects on farms like Rondegat and Lebanon Citrus. Rudolf Andrag kindly supplied maps of proposals for the re-routing of some roads, which I have overlaid on our existing hiking map.
You’ll see that there are four proposals [purple roads] for a new bridge or drift over the Olifants at Kriedouwkrans, and three proposals for access to the farms mentioned above, as well as several other tweaks to the existing roads.
I haven’t shown the N7 changes on this map; in brief, the road near Clanwilliam will be rebuilt higher up on the slopes of Bobbejaanskop, passing behind the present Cedar Inn and petrol station.
I have no idea of the time-scale involved here; several years at least, I would imagine.

2. Some new Cederberg names and other changes

Cartographers traditionally assert their right to put names for unnamed features on their maps. If you disagree with this assertion then you’d better start campaigning for two largish continents to be renamed – though I will concede that honouring oneself, as Amerigo Vespucci did on his maps, is a bit iffy. However, any Cederberg fan will have noticed that there are a very large number of features named for individuals, most of them long forgotten, some more than worthy of the honour. It’s in the latter spirit that I intend including two new names on edition #2 of the hiking map [which is still a fair distance away, I hasten to add].
There is a man who has spent his life as a committed friend of the Cederberg. His knowledge of and love for these mountains knows no bounds; many years ago he tramped every square metre of the area mapping the distribution of the cedar trees. In this process he discovered a modest hill – 1202 metres above sea level – where the southernmost population of the endangered cedar occurs. Until now this hill has had no name; on my maps, at least, it shall be henceforth known as Andrag se Kop. It’s the least I can do in return for your generosity in sharing your knowledge and your enthusiasm, Rudolf my friend. [In subsequent correspondence the ever-modest Rudolf has requested that we use the slightly more generalised name Rudolf se Kop for the hillock in question. Makes sense; after all, we don't have the United States of Vespucci, do we? Rudolf se Kop it is, Mr Andrag]

When he was about twelve years old Mark Hanley had a teacher, the late and indeed great Brian Snaddon, who set up a programme to get his pupils out into the wild, to enjoy experiences outside the mundane school-sports-comfort-zone. Brian called his programme the ‘Challenge’; as a young student teacher I had the privilege of assisting Brian with sailing trips at Zeekoevlei; camping out at Noordhoek; hikes up Table Mountain and – perhaps Mark’s first Cederberg experiences – to Kromrivier, Sanddrif and the Stadsaal.
In due course Mark became a geography teacher at Bishops, where he founded an annual event known as the Bishops Epic. The entire Grade 10 class descends upon the Cederberg towards the end of each year to enjoy a programme of physical challenges, conservation initiatives and community engagement, and I would like to think that at least some of Mark’s inspiration came from his old teacher, Brian Snaddon.
Graham Robertson, Bishops teacher, takes up the tale: 
“Mark Hanley passed away in September of 2010 and our plan is that [his wife] Mandy will unveil a plaque in his honour at Traveller’s Rest in front of a tree we planted there in 2010. It will read: 
In memory of Mark Hanley (1956 - 2010), OD and founder of the Bishops Epic. Much loved and remembered by those whose lives he enriched. 
‘It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.’ 
Unveiled by Mandy Hanley, November 2013
“We’ve also set up a fund called the Mark Hanley Education Fund that is being used to assist to pay the High School fees of some of the children we have worked with at Elizabethsfontein Primary – currently two children are benefitting from this and boys who have been to the base we run at Elizabethsfontein are encouraged to find ways to raise funds to increase our level of contribution in this area. We’re hoping this will grow in the years to come.”
A colleague of Mark’s, Philip Court, who is also part of the Bishops Epic, wrote that
“In the year that Mark died Graeme Klerck and I hiked past a beautiful ‘unknown’ waterfall which we decided to name Hanley Falls. The name Hanley Falls has stuck amongst the Epic staff and boys ...”
So there it is. Hanley Falls shall henceforth be so named upon my maps; I can’t think of a more appropriate tribute to a fellow geographer, a former pupil, and another devotee of the Cederberg and its wild corners.
Platkop: pic by Graham Bellairs
Platkop has emerged from old MCSA journals as the forgotten name of the flat peak north of Donkerkloofkop; other names on the map extract such as Beesgat and Die Hoek van Zuurvlei come from the same source. 

3. Ballerja

Rudolf Andrag sent me the pic below of Ballerjafontein at Kromrivier, named, as Ernst Hartwig pointed out to me, for the wild mint plant, or ‘ballerja’ [also sometimes called ‘balderjan’] [Mentha longifolia]
Which is a pity, because there is no ballerja at Ballerjafontein. ‘Ballerja’ also means ‘frolic’, and the idea of a ‘Spring of the Frolic’ at Kromrivier conjures up some interesting images – what did they get up to under those oak trees, in them good old days?
Ballerjafontein: pic by Rudolf Andrag

4. Of ants and the future

Many Cederberg fans will be aware of the role of ants in fynbos ecology, both as distributors of seeds and [more obscurely] as pollinators. The processes involving indigenous species are disrupted by invasive species, which have the ability to wipe out indigenous ants, even species very much larger than themselves. You’ve probably all heard of Argentine ants, but what you may not know is that there may be as many as nine invasive species in the Western Cape. We have a very poor idea of their distribution, but the few studies that there have been indicate a potentially disastrous effect upon a large range of fynbos plant species.
Hence a proposal from Professor William Bond for an ‘Ant Atlas Project’, similar to the highly-successful Protea Atlas project, that would involve volunteers – hikers, campers, mountaineers, outdoorsmen of all kinds – in gathering data that might help us gain a clearer picture of what’s going on down there under our feet.
It’s still very early days, but in the meantime here are a few pics to help those of you who consider that all ants look the same ...

5. Old maps

Chris Berens sent me this 1895 map of the Cederberg area – I hope it is clear enough for the names to be readable. The bad news [for me] is that it shows the old Krakadouw Pass from Clanwilliam to Heuningvlei, but does NOT show the ‘Noodpad’ to Pakhuis ... I may have to eat my words yet, Pieter ....

Enjoy your April 1st!
– Kaartman, March 30