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.

Waterfalls

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 Nieuwoudtville.com 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).

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.54.03 AMScreen Shot 2015-09-20 at 7.54.27 AM

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. 23 – Bainskloof Waterfall

23. Bainskloof WaterfallBainskloof Pass takes you on a beautiful path through the Limietberg mountains, on the R301, from Wellington to the R43 between Ceres and Worcester. The Pass which was originally completed in 1853 was built by convict labour and overseen by Andrew Geddes Bain, who was the Father of Thomas Charles John Bain. The table below shows the passes that were built by each.

Andrew Geddes Bain

Thomas Charles John Bain

Ouberg/Oudeberg Pass near Graaff-Reinet 1832 Meiring’s Poort (after local farmer Petrus Johannes Meiring), 16 km long 1854-58
Van Ryneveld Pass near Graaff-Reinet 1830s Grey’s Pass near Citrusdal (after Sir George Grey), 11 km long 1857-58 (Piekenier’s Kloof 1958)
Ecca Pass from Grahamstown to Fort Beaufort (The Queen’s Road) 1837 Tulbagh Kloof (after the town of Tulbagh), 5 km long 1859-60
Michell’s Pass near Ceres through the Skurweberg, following the course of the Breede River 1846-48 Seweweekspoort (thought to be after Berlin Mission Society preacher Louis Zerwick) from Laingsburg through Swartberg, 17 km long 1859-62
Bain’s Kloof Pass near Wellington 1848-52 Prince Alfred’s Pass (after Prince Alfred) from Knysna to Uniondale, 70 km long 1863-67
Gydo Pass due north of Ceres up the Skurweberg 1848 Seven Passes road (after number of passes along route) from George to Knysna, 75 km long, ending in the Homtini Pass near Knysna 1867-83
Houw Hoek Pass from Elgin to Botrivier 1847 Robinson Pass (after Chief Inspector of Public Works, Murrell Robinson) from Oudtshoorn to Mossel Bay 1867-69
Katberg Pass near Fort Beaufort 1860-64 Tradouw Pass (Boschkloof, Southey Pass) near Barrydale, 13 km long 1869-73
Garcia’s Pass (after Maurice Garcia) from Riversdale to Ladismith, 18 km long 1873-77
Pakhuis Pass (after Pakhuisberg, a branch of the Krakadouw Mountains) from Clanwilliam to Calvinia, Cederberg 1875-77
Koo Pass or Burger’s Pass (after Koodoosberg) near Montagu 1875-1877
Verlaten Kloof Pass from Sutherland to Matjiesfontein 1877
Cogmans, Kogmans or Kockemans Kloof (after a Khoikhoi clan) from Ashton to Montagu, 5 km long 1873
Swartberg Pass from Oudtshoorn to Prince Albert, 24 km long 1880-88 (John Tassie built 6 km of road from Prince Albert end)
Baviaanskloof from Willowmore to Patensie, 3 km long 1880-90
Bloukrans Pass near Nature’s Valley late 1800’s
Grootrivier Pass at Nature’s Valley late 1800’s
Storms River Pass on the Garden Route late 1800’s

This list may not be completely comprehensive and further information on the Bain legacy can be found here.

The Waterfall is one of many that are on this pass and runs under the roadway. It is an absolutely beautiful drive and I would recommend making a visit. You will definitely see and hear more about this pass in the future.