Striated Skies No. 38 – Third times a charm

Striated Skies

Porterville is a small town that lies approximately 155km North East of Cape Town. The town was established in 1863 on the farm Pomona. The NG Kerk depicted was the third to be erected in the town and was inaugurated on 18 November 1925. The church was designed by Wynand Louw. Louw designed a number of church buildings throughout South Africa. For more history of the town visit the Jan Danckaert Museum in the town.

22 Waterfalls is what drew us to visit Porterville, the holiday farm has a hiking trail that includes 22 waterfalls. You need an entire day to visit all the waterfalls and we only got to see 5.


A night in Porterville will allow you to spend a day hiking around the 22 waterfalls, this is something that I still want to do.

Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 37 – Unexpected falls

Striated Skies

Nieuwoudtville (Locals pronounce it “knee – hout – ville”) is the bulb capital of the world. The flower displays that take place in August-September are what drew us to visit this fascinating place. Nieuwoudtville was established in 1897 and lies on the bokkeveld escarpment. The town is extremely small and there is not much going for it besides the flowers. The petrol station for example is only open for certain hours in the day.

The visit to the town and the falls took place on a Sunday. We drove up to see the flowers for a weekend staying the Saturday night in the neighbouring town of VanRhyndorp. Being mid September many of the flowers had passed and VanRhynsdorp does not really have anything beyond the flowers either.

The Nieuwoudtville waterfall is amazing as it is completely unexpected as you drive to the parking area. There is an entrence fee so you will require some cash in order to pay. The entrance was R18 per adult when we visited. The two pictures below from show an aerial view of the waterfall in a dry session. The picture below that shows the waterfall in summer after heavy rains (Picture from Kontrei Travel).

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Our trip to the Namaqualand flowers was not the most successful trip that we have ever been on. If you are considering taking a trip to see the spring flowers and I would recommend this if you are a lover of natural beauty, then I would consider the following advice:

  1. Do your own research. The internet is a wonderful place but many places in this part of the country are not on it :-). Phone and ask for advise to get the best ideas.
  2. Phone up before you leave – Contact the many tourism offices in the flower areas. Here are some weblinks to help:
    1. Namaqua West Coast Tourism
    2. Northern Cape Tourism
    3. Namakwa District Municipality
    4. Cape West Coast
    5. Flower Route Map (has all the phone numbers!!!)
  3. Go in Late August early September in order to see the most flowers. Use the guided trips as an example.
  4. Go up for more than a weekend. You will not have enough time to see the vast expanse of the area in a weekend. Take more time. If you only have a weekend then make sure it is the right weekend and plan well!!!
  5. Consider using a flower tour company, these fill up early so book in advance:
    1. Namaqua tours (Facebook)
    2. Kontrei Travel
    3. Happy Holidays
    4. Redwood Tours (@redwoodtours)
    5. FS Tours
  6. Visit one of the flower festivals
    1. Clanwilliam Flower Festival
    2. Darling Flower Festival
  7. If you are South African and you live in the Western Cape there is no reason not to go. If you are further away then I would advise planning well.


Striated Skies No. 36 – Ou Hoofgebou

36. Ou Hoofgebou

This week we are taken back to Stellenbosch for a striated sky above the Ou Hoofgebou (Old Main Building). The building which is on Ryneveld street, Stellenbosch University Campus was built between 1880 and 1886. The building was designed by Carl Otto Hager. In 1964 the side wings were extended and the west wing added. The building was declared a national monument in 1979.

Carl Otto Hager was born and raised in Germany. We came out to South Africa in December 1838. Mr Hager who studied art/architecture in Germany worked at a portraitist, a tobaconist, photographer and only late in life did he make a success as an architect focussing on church buildings. For more information on Carl Otto Hager click here and here.

This building is absolutely stunning and is one of many national monuments that can be found in Stellenbosch. When you take your trip to Stellenbosch be sure to visit this building.


Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 35 – Defending 133 Years

Striated Skies

The Piketberg Dutch Reformed Church was built from 1880 – 1882, inaugurated on 28 April 1882. The design is Neo-Gothic in style by architect, Carl Otto Hager. The building is contructed from Table Mountain sandstone from the west of the town.

The Piketberg mountains flanking the town are its namesake and were given this name as the Cape Government from 1655 placed Piquet’s (Millitary outposts) on the mountain during clashes with Hottentot clans. Piketberg was spelled Piquetberg until the 1930’s when it changed to its current spelling.

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In 1836 the then Governor of the Cape Sir Benjamin D’Urban donated the Farm “Grootfontein” to the church council as they had started to build on the land. The town remained under church management until 1906 when it was handed over to the municipality.

One cannot deny the beauty in the design and construction of the amazing church building. It is very unfortunate though that as the town name suggests, people had to be driven from the land via war and conflict in order for this building to erected. This statement makes me think deeply about humans, our past, present and future. This is a rather serious thought regarding how people see themselves in terms of superiority. Human nature is extremely complex and I am not going to get into a thesis here. What I do ask of people though is to broaden your mind and see that there are many different perspectives. Understanding that this is the case and being open to others views and the possibility of changing your own is what society needs.

The town of Piketberg is most definitely worth a visit. The views of the mountains and farm land are spectacular and it is further proof that South Africa has so much to offer. For more information on Piketberg see  the links below: