2012 RSA Botswana (127)

Fredo Touring is in Windhoek – and chilling out for the night overlooking a green and leafy Namibian capital

After three days on the road, including Stilbaai four days, some 2 000 km later, we have arrived in Windhoek and will move to Etosha tomorrow morning. We had an eventful few days. From having our vehicle broken into in Cape Town and having to scramble to get ready for the road, we finally got away.

Good people there were plenty. The fine people at PG Glass in Cape Town and Vredendal were magnificent, as was our brokers Megacover and our insurers, Santam. Luckily not too much was taken and the window on the Ranger was repaired. When we had problems with the battery driving our deep freeze in the back of the Ranger, Eugene at Supa Quick in Springbok came to the party. This morning NIC in Keetmanshoop sorted out our sim cards and that is why our portable wifi can connect from just about everywhere. There are lots of good people in these regions and we were happy for their support along the way.

2012 RSA Botswana (233) So we will rather discuss a few highlights and one fairly low light. We decided to overnight in Vanrhynsdorp where the ad from Van Rhyns Guest house promised a great experience. What a disappointment – we will not stay there again.

The high lights started when we turned into the gate at Klaver Wine Cellar to buy some Michelle Bubbly. Leon greeted us at the gate and when we told him we came to buy Sparkling wine, he suggested that we should taste a few more wines too. “No,” we countered, “we have a lot of driving to do.”

The rest of the conversation was about the problems the locals have with the traffic police. “The young guys here get up to a lot of mischief. They go for braais on the farms but when they come back they have to pass the traffic police’s favourite point of stopping vehicles. One youngster thought he would be cleaver and drive on the winding gravel road past the vineyards. When he came around one corner, there the policeman was waiting for him. He tried ‘hullo my friend, what are you doing here?’ The policeman said ‘I know we are friends, but you still have to blow.”

‘These guys are incorruptible’, lamented Leon.

2012 RSA Botswana (338)Then Leon came out with a rather bizarre story of another group on young growers who gathered at a place called “Die Boom” for a braai. This was next to a prickly pear orchard. It was a whole day affair and by evening the guys had quite a few braais. “Their thoughts turned to pudding and they waded into the prickly pears to pick some fruit. Initially they used gloves to pick the thorny fruit but as the wine had its effect, they were picking them with bare hands.”

Leon says one chap regretted this very much. “These little thorns are so small and they imbed themselves in your hands. This young chap could not touch anything with his hands for weeks. How do you go to the toilet or do other things if you cannot use your hands,” asked Leon.

This all happened at the gate. We finally got to buy the Sparkling wine.

In keetmanshoorp we had a great evening at the local German restaurant. This morning at breakfast we met a Frenchman who is working for Namibian television. He says he moved to Namibia from France 15 years ago and never regretted it for a moment. “This place is almost three times as big as France and with only about 2,5 million people there is lots of space for all of us.”

We also met the farmer from Karasburg, a place in the South. Fredo knows his sheep and asked the farmer what kind of sheep he has on his farm. “Van Rooyen sheep,” he replied. Fredo knows Dorpers, Persians and Karakoel breeds but never heard of the Van Rooyen breed. It turned out that these chaps are almost the same as Persians, but they are fully white, while the Persians have a black head. They both have a rather ‘fatty’ tail which is used to mix into sausage to give them special flavour.

Well, you learn something new every day. We were invited to attend the Nama Cultural Festival which is being held at Keetmanshoop this weekend, but, reluctantly, had to decline.

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Fredo Touring is off again – to the open plains of Etosha in Namibia

For the past six months Fredo’s head has been thousands of documents and files as he was researching the history of table grapes in South Africa. It has indeed been a time of pressure and concentration. Good news is that the book is making progress, but in all fairness to all not as fast as
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Contrast of Kabeljou run and fire at Stilbaai on Workers’ Day!

May Day! May Day! May Day!     Kabeljou coming out of our ears on the one side and a bush fire burning down houses up river on the banks of the Goukou River. As Koos Pretorius returned with his fine catch of Kabeljou from the sea – we are reading the anxious calls for help
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Cry the Beloved Riverside

There is nothing as sad as seeing people so caught up in their own past – to the point that they do not see anything clearly anymore. What is worse than this is when people are so caught in their self-importance that they think they should get whatever they want – and not caring what
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Riverside Chronicles – Early breakfast on the sandbank

There is hardly a day when one do not wake up to a new gift from nature if you are at Riverside on the banks of the Goukou River on South Africa’s Southern Coast.             This tidal river is one of the last pristine estuaries on the South African coast
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Old Jan Huppelbeen is concerned about Freedom Day

Old Jan Huppelbeen’s spirit is stirring again. This time he is concerned about what Freedom Day will bring to his country on the banks of the Goukou River near Stilbaai.   As he understood it, Freedom Day is a day of great joy because it is a day which brought freedom for the country’s peoples.
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Tracking Constantia’s table grape heritage

We came to Constantia to learn more about this lovely Valley’s place in the history of South African table grapes. We were looking for Hanepoot, the oldest South African table grape and we found some along the winding tree-lined country lanes which bisects the luxury estates which arose in what was previously prime agricultural land.
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Fredo is somewhat perturbed about the knowledge of those who lead South Africa

Many years ago Professor Schüller and Prof Hanekom in the Antropology Department at Stellenbosch University were at pains to impress on their students just how the settlement processes of the Peoples of Africa occurred. Fredo remembers a handbook – The Peoples of Africa – which was part of our reading material – a big fat
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Landmines, sea craft and border wars upset Old Jan Hupppelbeen

With talk of landmines on the lawns, border wars, unrest around the braai fires and Catalonians and Basques it is not surprising that the spirit of old Jan Huppelbeen is sleeping uneasily. Old Jan’s spirit has been roaming on the hills around Riverside in the Southern Cape for some years, disturbed by man’s destructive doings
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2017 IFG Opedag - Sweet Sapphire blok van De Vlei

The way to count your grapes in the vineyard – a great experience in the vineyards of the Hex River Valley

Senior table grape growers will tell you that if you really want to see how good your table grape crop is, you need to stand in the vineyard, bend forward and look backwards between your legs.      That is how you will see just what you are going to harvest. Fredo tried it himself and
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