Friday, October 14, 2011

Wild Coast edition 3

The sad thing for me about the production of Wild Coast edition 3 is that I wasn't able to get up there myself, wandering around those awful roads and that absolutely stunning, achingly lovely countryside.

In fact I hadn't imagined that there would be all that many changes, but I'd hardly dusted off the old edition 2 files and got 'em up on the screen when the announcement came through that, in order to enrich all sorts of people with the right political connections and, in complete disregard of the opinions of the local residents and every environmentalist on the planet, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, the Honourable Edna Molewa, having applied her mind, had approved the construction of the N2 "Pondoland" Toll Road.

Avoiding the temptation to refer to the Hon Minister as Edna Bucket I realised that the new edition of the map would at the very least have to include the route of the proposed road ... which a quick google search provided. I made it fairly prominent on the map, hoping that that ugly scar across the landscape might touch a few consciences and even maybe [fat hope!] get some heads out of some buckets.

Then I had comprehensive info from Roger Galloway and Clive Dennison about stuff that needed changing.

Clive is well-known for his books about the history of the area, and he gave me some good info about airstrips and other great bits and pieces.

Roger gave me excellent info about newly-tarred and upgraded roads, names of clinics, etc. Roger heads up the Wild Wild Coast, an organization that promotes environmental education and awareness in the Zithulele area south of Hole in the Wall. He manages the Mbolompo Homestay as well and is closely linked to the Jabulani Foundation ... names, names ... but what Roger does is similar to the fantastic work done by Dave Martin of Bulungula and Aidan Lawrence of Wild Lubanzi. These three ous form a triumvirate who not only provided fantastic, clear and helpful info about their part of the Wild Coast, they are also all involved in the most constructive and inspiring community programmes imaginable.

Over the years, through the mapping we've probably come across 2000 to 3000 accommodation establishments of all kinds, from the simplest of camp sites to huge larnie 5-star hotels. The number of them who run community-based programmes or even, let it be said, appear to give a fig about the poor and needy in their areas can be counted on the fingers, maybe of both hands, and the toes of one foot. The Galloway/Martin/Lawrence experience was like a breath of very fresh wild sea air. Go for these websites to find out more [and contribute too, if you can!]

David Kramer wrote poignantly about the effects [or lack of them] of tourism on some areas in his "Dans Mettie Dood", a provocative, poetic song about the despair of poverty ...

Mense kom van oorie see
En die Boere bou net b en b ...
Hylle ry op en af met kameras en vier-by-vier ...
Almal is op soek na die ou Karoo;
As jy daai wil soek, kyk hier in my oë ...
Wêreld verander voor jy jou oë uitvee

Then I found that in northern Pondoland our road info was pretty inadequate ... after discovering the Mtentu River Lodge I discovered a whole spiderweb of little roads that should've been on the map, so there they are now. How we missed this lodge on our first maps I dunno ... but I wrote to the guys there to apologise ... still don't know their names, they just call themselves "the team". Poor guys are horribly close to that toll road ...

At this point our original First Researcher, the invaluable, indefatigable and ever-helpful Gavin Stewart stepped up to the plate ... he uncovered Denver Webb, who gave me great stuff about old battle sites. Try these Google Earth coords - them ancient forts are still there, if only as patterns in the ground under ploughed fields ...

Fort Beechamwood:
32 19 52.24S 28 42 20.65E

Fort Owen [near Centani]:
32 28 37.63S 28 16 30.25E

Gavin also unearthed and dusted off Craig McLachlan of the Eastern Cape Dept of Public Works, who passed on fantastic info about the proposed upgrading of various roads and the dates - so the map will stay up to date a little longer!

Finally, Laura Mileham helped update the Jikeleza Route insets on the map, with lots of interesting new stuff.

All that was left was a complaint passed on by Kob Inn's Daan van Zyl ... that the GPS coords on the map were wrong. Well, that just ain't true - they are and always have been 100% correct!

What's wrong is that users of Tom-Toms and other machines - which, by the way, are only as good as the human-drawn maps that are preloaded into them - can't distinguish between coordinates given in degrees, minutes and seconds, and coords given in degrees and decimals of degrees. I have changed them to degrees, minutes and decimals of minutes, however, on the new map, because that's the way most modern GPS readers are preset, and if anyone tells you they are wrong, they are simply mathematically inept and ought to go back to Grade 5. And that's that.

- Kaartman, 14 October 2011

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