Monday, April 1, 2013

#18 Report Back, April 1st 2013

1. Algeria to be sold?

2. Luna news from Google Earth

3. Mapping news: real light at the end of the tunnel?

4. Ferdi revisits the Chockstone

5. Namaqualand flowers

6. New place to stay

1. Algeria to be sold

News that a North African consortium has put in an offer to purchase the entire camp, cottages and offices at Algeria from CapeNature has aroused mixed feelings. Led by multi-millionaire Algerian businessman Moocha Mullah, the consortium issued a statement claiming that “Algeria belongs to North Africa; we merely want to relocate it in the Atlas where it belongs.” Plans include the reconstruction of all existing buildings with classic Moorish windows and minarets, and the replacement of the bluegums and indigenous trees with Atlas cedars. Similar plans by a Maronite Christian group for Lebanon, near Grabouw, but this time with Lebanese cedars, have been dismissed as a copycat fraud.
Before you correspond with me [or anyone else] on this please note that it was posted before noon on April 1st.

Apollo Peak on Google Earth
2. Google Earth

The good news from Google Earth is that at last they have updated their [mostly] extremely poor aerial views of most of the Cederberg, though there is still a large part of the northern section and Agter-Pakhuis where the pics are so poor that you wonder why they bothered. This good news is tempered, however, by some bad news: they have also released version 7 of Google Earth, which fixes several things that were not broken in the first place. A huge inconvenience is that you can no longer turn off the “terrain” feature. This rather silly idea lets you imagine that you are flying over a 3D model of the Earth but is absolutely hopeless for tracing paths, and pretty awful for finding coordinates.
It seems that to be able to turn off “terrain” you have to spend US$400 on the professional version; however, there is a partial work-around. You can set the vertical exaggeration to 0.01 [on a scale up to 3], which for most decent purposes flattens the earth.
You also can’t access the Full-Screen feature: push the buttons and instead of expanding your view, it minimises it. Fix the bug, Googs!
Google Earth’s rival, Bing maps, has complete, very high quality pics of the whole Cederberg [all updated October 2012] but Bing suffers because you can’t georeference its pics easily. The software is also densely-non-intuitive. I have yet to find out how to save a particular area as a Favourite: it insists on defaulting to the first one I ever saved. Use this url to access Bing; it will take you to a place near Brugkraal, and you’ll have to navigate from there, I’m afraid.  
Both Google Earth and Bing include areas obscured by cloud but, except for part of the Wolfberg, you can fill in the areas that are clouded on one of them by using the other one’s pics.
Bing is usually better quality than even the recent Google Earth pics, but you must choose – see sample pics of Apollo Peak.
Apollo Peak on Bing Maps
3 Mapping news: 

Great news is that at long last there is some real light. It’s been 18 months since we started drawing, and the need to correct the [very poor] contour information on the Official Maps has been the main cause of delay. Please appreciate that the four A1 maps are the equivalent of drawing eight Table Mountain maps from scratch.
That said, the “beta” version of Map 2, side 2, the south-eastern corner, will soon go out to relevant folks for comment. It covers the area from Langkloof/Driehoek south to Kunje/Mount Ceder, with Dwarsrivier/Kromrivier in the middle.
Click on the map to enlarge it
The sample [incomplete] includes info that Rudolf Andrag has provided around Luna Peak [please comment as freely as you like on this ‘bit’: ]. The new Google Earth view of the peak illustrates the ‘craters’ from which the peak takes its name, and as Rudolf describes:
“Dit lyk bo-op soos ’n maanlandskap kompleet met kratertjies. Verder is die klippe almal in klein regop paddastoellietjies verweer waaroor mens moeilik loop. Dit skep ’n baie besondere soort klipverweringspatroon.  Die naam Luna Piek is gegee deur die Stellenbosch Afdeling van die Bergklub op een van hulle gereelde uitstappies onder leiding van Ernst Lotz na hierdie deel van die Cederberg, wat hulle reeds van die sestiger jare gereeld besoek en goed ken.”
The ‘craters’ on Luna Peak. The crack is also clearly visible [altitude 300m]
Rudolf has also provided a magnificent gallery of pics of the area.

Finally, Matt du Plessis has provided a fine pic which we will almost certainly use as the cover pic for this map sheet.

4. Ferdi Fischer popped in in real life the other day, replete with news of his trip with Martin Hutton-Squire and others to revisit the Chockstone. Ferdi reports that it is indeed where he suspected it should be, and that it has not changed in the fifty years since I was there with him.  Martin Hutton-Squire sent me this great pic of Brian de Villiers and Ferdi [in the flesh, in the blue shirt!] proving that the Chockstone really exists!

5. Please note that Annelise le Roux’s well-known guide to the wild flowers of Namaqualand, published in 1981 by BotSoc, is being completely revised, and many additional species are being added. The new edition should be available in Spring 2013. The Kirstenbosch branch of BotSoc is offering the opportunity to anyone who would like to sponsor, subscribe to or buy a pre-publication edition of the book, all signed by the author, to visit their website for full details, at .

6. Finally, I would not normally include an ad, but Ouma’s House is a new place to stay in the southern ’Berg, near Kunje:

Inputs already acknowledged from:
Rudolf Andrag, Alex Basson, Graham Bellairs, Chris Berens, Willem Beukes, Hendrico Burger, Lizette Burger, Theresa Burton, Eleanore Colyn, Andrea and Moritz Connrad, Louis Conradie, David Donald, Connie & Lizzie du Toit, Laurence Elton, Kerneels Filander, Ferdi Fischer, Carina Hanekom, Petrus Hanekom, Theunis Hanekom, Peter Hart, Ronnie Hazell, Tony Heher, Martin Hutton-Squire, Sam Jack, James Joubert, Jeroen Kant, Gerrit Kartsen, Tony Kings, Isak Koopman, Thys Kruger, Paul la Grange, Patrick Lane, Johann Lanz, John Ross, Justin Lawson, Margie le Roux, Nicky Lombard, Tony Lourens, Sandy MacDonald, Pieter Malan, Quinton Martins, Charles Merry, Eugene Moll, Wim Morris, Greg Moseley, Anneke Nieuwoudt, Cisca Nieuwoudt, Jannie and Katrin Nieuwoudt, Marianna Nieuwoudt, Pip Nieuwoudt, Barry Ockhuis, Joey Ockhuis, Kellie of Grasvlei, Caro & Steve Oldroyd, Paddy O’Leary, Mare Olivier, Linton Pope, Peter Jan Randewijk, Trevor Rennison, Galeo Saintz, Mike Scott, Mariet Smit, Mariaan Smuts, Haffie Strauss, Julyan Symons, Gert Theron, Edmund Thompson, Ingar Valentyn, Anne-Marie van der Merwe, Leonie van der Merwe, George van der Watt, Andricus van der Westhuizen, Hennie van der Westhuizen, Johan van der Westhuizen, Mike van Wieringen, Charité van Rijswijck, Kosie Viljoen, Jill Wagner, Torben Wiborg, Ezan Wilson, Steven Windell and Louise Esterhuizen, Mary Anne Zimri

Kaartman, April Fool’s Day, 2013