Tuesday, June 19, 2012

#9: First Sample Map

Here it is at last: our first sample “bit of map”, ready and awaiting your critical inputs. Before I tell you how to find it, though, some explanations:

  • The map-sample is a condensed jpg file, so do not expect all the line-work and lettering to be as sharp as the final printed product;
  • colours may not be 100% true, depending upon your monitor settings;
  • the original is approx. 1:50 000 scale. To reproduce this you need to print or view the map-sample at max. width of 200 mm;
  • there is no key to the sample [there will be one, of course, on the complete map] so there may be some new symbols that are unfamiliar. Two purple cellphones with arrows pointing to each other indication reception over a path section, whereas a white cellphone means reception at that point only [if you’re lucky]. An upside-down yellow arrow means a bouldering site; a brown dotted line is a path used by boulderers; paths with CapeNature’s area are green dots, others are red. There are grades of path but only the standard “clear path” grade appears on the sample. If there is anything else you don’t understand please contact me at http://www.slingsbymaps.com/contactus.aspx 
  • A name in red means we have not located it accurately yet;
  • there is only a long/lat grid on the map at this stage; there are requests for a UTM grid as well but I’m still working on how to do this without crowding the map too much;
  • there are already two necessary corrections to the map – see below.

See link below to view or download the full-size version of the above
Please send all and any comments to me at the web address above; the map will remain online UNTIL 31 JULY 2012 ONLY, so this is your chance to have your ideas considered and maybe incorporated, too! Just remember, please, that is is a tiny fraction of Side One of the map, which will be A1 in size when printed.
    Below are some pics and comments about the two day walks in the Kliphuis/Pakhuis area that appear on the map-sample, plus a bit more input on that controversial Kruisrivier “path”.  
    We will also publish a sample bit of a high mountain area a bit later – watch out for it.
 View and/or download the map-sample from

The Pakhuisberg day walk starts from the Kliphuis campsite and climbs into the Pakhuisberg north of the Pakhuis Pass. It’s an easy walk over about 13.5 km of wild, infrequently-visited territory with great views, especially on the descent [I’m walking the circuit anti-clockwise]. 
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. The start of the path near the tar road is not clear; look out for the tiny cairn, centre foreground.
. The view down to Kliphuis campsite – now re-opened.
3. Rocky landscapes over the top.
4. A Heeria [Kliphout] and weathered rocks.
Don’t rely upon perennial water, but there are some strong streams after winter. There is one cave-shelter on the path that could shelter two or maybe three people, but it’s not really an overnighting spot.
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. That nervous moment when you realise that the leopard tracks are ON TOP of the boot-print you left there just minutes earlier ...
2. View back to Charity Peak, across the rocks
3. A welcome, but non-perennial, pool
4. Shelter for two, may be three, next to the path
There are great flowers, the fascinating rocks that the Cederberg is famous for, and plenty of wildlife, even frequent leopard-sign. 
Left to Right: A Phylica; an Erica; Leucospermum calligerum. Any offers on the names for the phylica and erica?
You must have a permit from CapeNature to enter the area; it’s part of the proclaimed Wilderness.
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. ‘Secret’ Falls; the waterfall is behind the rockface. This fall on the Kliphuis River is not shown on the sample-map: first correction necessary!
2. On the way back to Kliphuis: gravelly path
3. Dreadful spiny
Aspalathus near Kliphuis; name?? [Pardon the raindrops on the lens]
4. Scree below the Kliphuis Ridge
The Rocklands day walk also starts at Kliphuis, but I’d recommend a clockwise-direction. It’s also a comfortable 13.5 km but you could take a short cut and cut out 3.5 km from your day, thus missing some interesting country. The path ascends the Rheboksvallei parallel to the tarred road, not too much of a problem as there is seldom much traffic. 
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. Klipboom
[Heeria] copse near the Pakhuis Pass summit
2. The Amon se Pad footpath turn-off from the Heuningvlei Road
3. Kruidjie-roer-my-nie
[Melianthus major], a herb used to treat snake-bite and septic wounds; the sap is black and smelly
4. A rocky gargoyle
Near the summit of the pass there is an interesting Kliphoutboom copse, and you briefly join the Noodpad, the “donkey-cart” road to Heuningvlei, before swinging west on Amon se Pad. The route follows the old wagon road over the Pakhuis that predates the modern pass, first built by Bain in 1867. It passes several popular bouldering sites before reaching Duiwel se Kruis, the cross-roads where the Boskloof path descends Amon se Poort to the left. A few hundred metres down the path to the right is a rock-shelter that could sleep up to three adults. It’s on the right of the path, not the left as the sample shows [the second correction!].
Clockwise from Top Left:
1. Fine waboom trees on the path
2. A typical Rocklands chockstone or window

3. Rough repairs to the old wagon-track

4. The Gate, the false non-entrance to Amon se Poort
Thereafter the old road – there are several signs of old stonework and repairs – plunges deep into the Rocklands world of outcrops, pillars, cavelets, rock windows, etc etc. It’s all a bit dry, unfortunately, with no reliable perennial water, but the flora is great, especially the many herbs. As you near the Pakhuis Pass you pass through the area where C. Louis Leipoldt and Dr Pieter Le Fras Nortier first successfully cultivated rooibos tea.
Left: Ancient rooibos tea bushes
Right: Pyramid Rock
The path plunges down onto the main road where a cutting has left it dangerous and slippery – repairs needed here, CapeNature, please – and the only way home is a 1km stroll down the tarred road, past Leipoldt’s Grave, to Kliphuis. There’s very little traffic and a high probability of baboons, so the main road walk is not too bad.


Not much info has come in since our successful name-gathering in the Wupperthal buiteposte, but we did get this letter from Louis Conradie – with more about that problematic Kruisrivier valley. I’m really unsure about how to deal with this on the map; any ideas, anyone?
I’m sorry I cannot reply to Louis – my system consistently rejects his email address, so please pass this on to him, those of you who know him. He writes [shortened]:
I led a group of 4 hikers on a 7 day CUM Hike-“expedition” doing a big circle starting from Algeria on 5 Sept. 2011 and finishing there again on 11 Sept. 2011.  Only 3 of us finished the whole route as one lady pulled out during day 5 due to feet problems.  The other two hikers who finished the route with me were David Rossouw and his wife, Karen, two very tough hikers, I must say!
On 10 Sept. 2011 we started from the Maltese Cross (where we slept the night of 9 Sept.), following the path to Bakleikraal and down into the valley of the Hekserivier past Riempie se Gat and Dons se Werf.  We lost the path quite a few times, but kept direction as I had already hiked that route in 2008.  On that hike in 2008 we wanted to take the path at the Kruisrivier which crossed over to Algeria, but somehow missed it and finished in the Pakhuispas [Nieuwoudt’s? - Ed] many kms later.
We could not reach the Kruisrivier before dark on 10 Sept. 2011, but on 11 Sept. easily found a path going upstream along the Kruisrivier, which was very motivating.  But not for long!  We soon experienced the same overgrown and almost impassable route as was already reported in your reports – in fact, there was no route at all.  But we wanted to take that route to Algeria, so we struggled upwards in the kloof to the top, doing less than 1 km an hour!  It was really bundu-bashing as I have not experienced at any time in my hiking career
When we arrived at the top of the Kruisrivier after our hectic struggle to get through and over everything, it was really a nice and easy hike down to Algeria.
  I intend doing a 9 day hike in the Cederberg this year again, from 8-16 Sept., and am thinking of including the Hekserivier valley in the hike once again.  Maybe CapeNature, especially Patrick Lane at Algeria, has sent out teams to clear that Kruisrivier path making it hikeable again.  If not, our guts will again be tested to the limit!

Already acknowledged: Rudolf Andrag, Quinton Martins, Ronnie Hazell, Charles Merry, Ezan Wilson, Wim Morris, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Julyan Symons, Galeo Saintz, Paul la Grange, Laurence Elton, Mike Scott, Peter Hart, Justin Lawson, Paul la Grange, David Donald, Johann Lanz, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Torben Wiborg, Sandy MacDonald, Trevor Rennison, Hendrico Burger, Nicky Lombard, Jeroen Kant, Patrick Lane, Ingar Valentyn, Pip Nieuwoudt, Eugene Moll, Greg Moseley, Tony Heher, Andrea and Moritz Connrad, Hennie van der Westhuizen, Isak Koopman, Kerneels Filander, Kellie of Grasvlei, Barry Ockhuis, Joey Ockhuis, Gert Theron, Mary Anne Zimri, Louis Conradie, Haffie Strauss

Let the comments come rolling in, asseblief ...
Kaartman, 19 June 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Special Report: Collecting Names

If you’re a Cederberg fan and you’ve never explored the Wupperthal “buiteposte”, it’s time you did. Peter Hart’s great “Cederberg Heritage Route” traverses a part of this territory, but you don’t need a guided tour to do your own exploring in this lovely “other universe” of thatched cottages, donkey carts and very friendly people. I’ve put up a fuller description with pictures and contact names and numbers on http://mapsforafrika.blogspot.com .
We spent most of a week based at Heuningvlei, interviewing locals and enjoying drives around their beautiful countryside, collecting names for the map. We took as our starting point all the place names mentioned in M. I. Murray’s “Witwater se Mense”. That book is another “must” if you consider yourself a real Cederberg enthusiast: it’s a fascinating account of life in the buiteposte in the 1930s/1940s. It rings with authenticity; it’s a sort of South African “Little House on the Prairie” and it’s a singular tragedy that it has never been translated into English and is not better known. Published by Tafelberg, it’s apparently long out of print but is still in most public libraries. Come on, Tafelberg – skrik wakker, julle.
Heuningvlei seen from the Nougang – a new name on the map!
Back to the place names. Hennie van der Westhuizen and Isak Koopman met us on a frosty morning outside the Heuningvlei Backpackers Lodge: there’s more about this converted school in the blog mentioned above. Hennie and Isak studied the list of names that I’d culled from the book with many a shake of their heads; then suddenly recognition dawned. “Hierdie plekke,” Isak muttered, “is almal naby Witwater!”
Collecting names at Witwater: Kerneels Filander advises
I have to say that for a mapmaker with an interest in social history it was pretty exciting to find that, three-quarters of a century later, residents of Witwater and Heuningvlei still meet on sunny weekend mornings to greet and chew the fat at Sitkoppie, a ridge of flat and comfortable rocks halfway between the two hamlets. In the end Isak located more than 80% of the “Witwater se Mense” names, and those he didn’t know were provided by Kerneels Filander of Witwater. We moved down the valley to Brugkraal, Grasvlei and Kleinvlei, pencilling in Roelant se Hoog, Lêkop, Giel se Knik, Nooiensgat, Mooiweerspoort and more than sixty other names that are not on any maps. Kellie of Grasvlei helped, and a man whose name I unfortunately missed, at Kleinvlei; on the way home via the Oupad we met Barry Ockhuis at Heiveldt, and he gave us Huishout se Gang [and pointed out that essential final ‘t’ in ‘Heiveldt’].
Sadly, no one knew where Raadhouklip or Kerniekelsfontein once were – any offers? A name that mystified me for a while was “Senrie se Kop”, until Hennie van der Westhuizen spelled it out for me – s-c-e-n-e-r-y .
The Citadel, seen from the Kerskop Pass ... but all the locals call it Tandjiesberg.
Which name is more valid or ‘authentic’?
The next day Joey Ockhuis helped us fill in names on the Noodpad, the popular donkey-cart route between Heuningvlei and the Pakhuis Pass. We were a bit mystified by names like Swartgat [a steep hill] and Potlood se Bank [a stony, level stretch] until it dawned on us that ‘Swartgat’ and ‘Potlood’ were the names of donkeys that had doubtless enjoyed distinguishing asinine adventures at these places.
On the Noodpad Donkey Trail:
Top Left: Gert Theron driving up to Môrehoog;
Top Right: Joey Ockhuis inspanning asses
Bottom Left: Climbing Swartgat;
Bottom Right: Cruising Potlood se Bank
Joey also helped with local names for the road between Pakhuis and Wupperthal; we later found that everyone in the Agter-Pakhuis knows where Onderbaadjie se Draai is – so why on earth is it not on any existing maps [including mine]?
Die Hang: cottage on the Wupperthal road that has never been named on any map
We finished with a trip up the Kerskop Pass to visit the extraordinary Ereboog at Eselbank
Part of Laurie se Hel, the nightmarish slopes of Sneeukop, behind Eselbank. It’s shown in quite the wrong place on all existing maps ...
        Eselbank is less isolated than it once was, thanks to some improvement of the road from Matjiesrivier, but it’s somehow a less apparently-carefree place than many of the other buiteposte. If you’ve ever wondered where Cederberg names like Filander se Werf, Muller se Water, Asjas se Kloof, etc etc come from ... well, those were the names of the farmers forcibly evicted from the Cederberg [without any compensation] by the Cape Colonial Government in 1896. Many of them were resettled at Eselbank; their descendants are less than happy that the 1994 Land Restitution process set an historical cut-off date of 1913 for claims. For the Eselbank families that was seventeen years too late ...
Think about that next time you’re in the ‘untouched wilderness’, and you pick up a rusty piece of an old plough at Grootlandsvlakte, or a piece of blue bottle-glass at Crystal Pool ... our beloved country is, for sure, a very complex place, with many untold stories yet to get out there.

Kaartman, June 2012