Saturday, December 21, 2013

Season's Greetings

... from all the Kaartmanne ... here's a brief photo-essay van ons doen en late in 2013 ...

Kaartman, Summer Solstice 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Poison Mountain, and Another Fat Dog

The last time the Kaartmans visited there was January 2009. That was a mistake; it was 43 degrees when we arrived, and we spent the night outside, lying on a mattress in our underclothes. In the morning it was still 36 degrees; we drove away with the aircon on level five and promptly got bogged down to the axles of our small Bantam bakkie in a lonely drift, miles from anywhere.
We were rescued by a pleasant young man from Wiedouw, the farm at the bottom of the pass, and hence lived to tell the tale, but I digress. A few weeks ago we returned to Gifberg, in delightfully cool weather, in a rather larger vehicle, and we had a ball.
We went to explore possibilities for a map of the Gifberg paths for our host, Jansu Huisamen. Jansu tells us that the popular season at Gifberg is more or less from Easter until October, with a brief Christmas peak. Gifberg’s spring flowers are great, but even though our November visit was too late for those, the fynbos was full of eye-catching beauties.
Jansu handed us over to Spook for the first morning. Spook is a sort-of terrier who closely resembles the late Minnie, of Fat Dog fame, except that Spook is much fatter. Spook in turn introduced us to Putty, a cool young Weimeraner, who barked twice and produced Jacques Tredoux. Jacques is a fully-qualified field guide, born and bred in the Cederberg, one of those ouens with a scary, encyclopedic knowledge of tracks and dung and stones and most, if not all, of the floral beauties of the Poison Mountain. With or without Spook or Putty we can strongly recommend him as a guide. Ou toppies go slowly up hills and get ridiculously cantankerous when hot; Jacques managed us ou toppies and our even older Professor friend with skill, if not aplomb. 
Pics of a gifboom, its flowers and fruits from Plantzafrica
Gifberg is named, of course, for the presence there of the gifboom. Try to google ‘gifboom’ and you’ll get about nine million entries for a phone app called ‘gifboom’ which has something to do with swopping pictures and making movies about twerking. It’s a pity the Gifberg Bushmen didn’t register ‘gifboom’ as a cultural name, like champagne, sherry and rooibos tea, but there it is. Lost to the nation, you could say. Nevertheless, from Google I eventually dug up three plants called ‘gifboom’: a Namibian euphorbia, a Southern Cape shrubby tree, and the real thing, Hyaenanche globosa, which you can read all about at an excellent web page,
The page’s author, the esteemed Ernst van Jaarsveld, says (amongst lots of other equally interesting stuff), “The local common name gifboom (gif = poison, and boom = tree) pertains to its toxic attributes and the name Gifberg is derived from the common name of this plant. The gifboom ... was first documented by a number of prominent European botanists visiting the Cape during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The first to come across this plant was the Van der Stel expedition, en route to the Koperberg, Namaqualand in 1685 ... Aylmer Lambert (1761–1842), a British botanist, created the genus name Hyaenanche (after its use by farmers to kill hyenas) in 1799.
Other Gifberg beauties: clockwise from top left, a Cotyledon or gwi; a daisy with a beetle; Leucospermum praemorsum; firesticks [koenakam] in berry (Diospyros austro-africanus)
“According to Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk (1962) the seed of Hyaenanche was used both by Bushmen for their arrows, and well as farmers to poison carcasses with the purpose of destroying hyenas. In 1797 Lambert wrote: ‘This shrub grows about two hundred miles from the Cape, in a rocky soil, in a single spot, on Wind-Hook Mountain near the Elephants River. A farmer lives there who collects the fruit, by which he makes profit of about 20 pounds per annum, selling it for the purpose of poisoning hyenas. The fruit is pounded into a powder and administered in the same manner as Nux Vomica. The powder is put into the carcasses of lambs, which are laid where the hyenas are known to come. By eating its flesh they are infallibly destroyed ...’”
Clockwise from top left: Spook leading us home; Rock painting of people in karosses – the men have arrows in their hats; youths frolicking around in a rather Grecian manner; the iconic Gifberg ladies
Don’t season your mutton braai tjops with ground gifboom: your destruction will infallibly follow. We avoided the November-flowering gifboom and set off with Jacques to see the rock paintings, for which the Gifberg Resort is justifiably famous. There are several sites strung alone the sides of the impressive Gifberg River Canyon, and in some of them the paintings are so well-preserved that your initial impression might be (wrongly) that someone has repainted them.
As the day got hotter chubby old Spook led us home, and while the rest of the Cape prepared itself for some pretty devastating floods we snoozed away a sunny afternoon (’strue).
Left: Jacques sorts his artefacts while Putty matches the cave décor; the Professor takes a photo [yes, he did cut the figure’s head off!]
Early the next morning Spook arrived, panting, to wake us up. The poor fellow seemed devastated, however, when we all climbed into Jansu’s 4 x 4 and left him behind. Several kilometres of plaas-pad later, through the healthiest-looking rooibos tea lands you ever saw, we all climbed out to begin our walk; Spook was already there waiting for us, panting.
I don’t know how he did that. I didn’t want to ask. I don’t normally believe in spooks, but ... well, enough said.
Jansu and Jacques, with Jansu’s kleintjie Luca, led us down a valley to spy on a black eagle’s nest. And to see some more great rock art. And baboons. That was the only problematical part of our trip. Not the baboons, but the member of our party who persisted in shouting and waving sticks and throwing stones at them.
I like seeing baboons. They’re as much a part of the wilderness as leopards and ants and black eagles and the gifboom. They’re never a threat to humans, except for the ones ruined by stupid human behaviour at Cape Point. They’re comical and fun to watch, especially their gymnastics up and down cliff faces where us humans would infallibly just die.
‘Hey, you down there! Wait for me!’
We moved on, Spook in the lead, to some truly spectacular paintings and through some truly spectacular pincushions, Leucospermum praemorsum to the botanical boffs. Jansu kindly lifted Spook into the back of the 4x4: he’d done enough panting for the day.
If you have never been there before, it’s time you visited Gifberg. There are very comfortable cottages and four walking trails, from a 2km ramble to the amazing potholes to the long, 21 km trek down into the spectacular Doring River canyon. There are incredible flowers, wonderful rock paintings and, to boot, for a very small fee the expert Jacques will be your guide. 
If you know any young people looking for a great future career, Jacques and Nadia Tredoux are also the proud owner/organisers of the Cederberg Wilderness Academy, where a six month all-found course will leave you qualified to lead parties on wilderness experiences everywhere. Overseas students wanting to fill a gap year after school take note, too! This place is real Africa, where the leopard dung on the paths is pretty darn fresh and quite smelly, and you will never forget the experience.
Just don’t eat the seeds of the gifboom, that’s all. They’re infallible; you’re not.

– Kaartman, 22 November 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Go Google yourself

Kaartman recently wrote a brief bit for BotSoc’s ‘Veld & Flora’ (to be published in the December issue). I was sent the proofs by the estimable editor, Caroline Voget, and found that the article was headed by a photo of my dogs. And myself. On Muizenberg Beach.
Mike Dexter’s pic
Hmm, I thought. A brilliant photographer by name of Mike Dexter took that pic – it’s his copyright. I better find him before there’s a bloop here.
So I googled myself, trying to track down Dexter. Well, my ‘Images’, anyway.
There’s a thing about googling yourself which you need to know. If your name is ‘Kaartman’ you’ll be able to find yourself quite quickly, because there are only a handful of Kaartmanne in the whole wide world. If your name is John Smith you’ve got problems. Try googling ‘Dexter’ and you get 28 million entries about an American sitcom. Finding Mike was gonna be tough.
There’s not too many of me, though, and the ‘Images’ only had three or four portraits that I recognised. There were hundreds of bits of maps of course – they help us to weed out all those sneaky people who have pinched our maps for their websites, without permission.
But I digress. The other funny thing about googling yourself (but not if you are John Smith) is discovering that around the world there are several imposters pretending to be you.
Peter Slingsby checking
the Queensland sewers
For example, I found that in Queensland, Australia, there’s a Peter Slingsby who got an award for developing a CCTV camera that can be used to inspect sewers. Peter is quoted in a thing called ‘Trenchless Australasia’: “You can go through a pipe and find something wrong. You can monitor it and say ‘okay, matey, let’s monitor and see how it deteriorates’. But really the best thing to do, Bruce, is if you see something wrong or you see something going wrong, fix it now. Because if you leave it, the more it deteriorates, the harder it is to fix.”
Perceptive guy, hey. He’s no relation of mine.
Then I found a very sad pic of Peter R Slingsby, aged 8, with his parents. The pic was taken in 1864; poor Pete died fifty years later with a pickled liver. Not surprising the poor fella liked his pots, with a fearsome-looking poppa like that! He’s no relation of mine, either.
There was a Peter Slingsby Hubbard who died in Mexico some years ago. Seems to have been a Zorba-the-Greek type of guy; he’s no relation whatsoever.
Tom Slingsby, Ozzie Yottie
There were others who share my surname, but they are all imposters. There was Minor H. Slingsby of Seattle (Minor? Yeah, that’s what it says). There is Tom Slingsby, an Ozzie Yottie who does great things in small boats, but he’s not as good looking as my son Thomas. 

The other Tom Slingsby I found was the schoolmaster in ‘Bracebridge Hall’ by Washington Irving. Mr Irving describes him thus: ‘Among the worthies of the village ... is one who has struck my fancy so much that I have thought him worthy of a separate notice. It is Slingsby, the
schoolmaster, a thin, elderly man, rather threadbare and slovenly, somewhat indolent in manner, and with an easy, good-humoured look, not often met with in his craft.’
No relation, either.
Zane Slingsby is a disgraced former police officer from Darwin Australia who imposed himself in unsuitable ways upon a female prisoner or two. He’s absolutely definitely never ever any relation ever. Never.
So who were the real Slingsbys? Well, in historical order, there was Knight Slingsby, 1250; his mouldering bones lie in a church somewhere.
Sir Henry wondering
what it’s going to be
like to be an angel
Later some of my lot distinguished themselves at another level. Sir Henry Slingsby’s pic pops up in my ‘Images’; he was an enthusiastic fan of King Charles I, but, like so many in his time, found that he was supporting the losing team, and lost his head in the Tower of London. His daughter Barbara also makes the Images cut; she looks just like my Great Aunt Agnes.
Sir Henry’s son Sir Robert kept his head, and became Comptroller of the Navy; he was a colonel and even rated a mention by Samuel Pepys in his famous diary: ‘25 Sept 1660: To the office, where Sir W. Batten, Collonell Slingsby and I sat a while .... and afterwards did send for a cupp of tee (a China drink) of which I never had drank before ...’
These rather more toffee Slingsbys had in earlier times linked up with some upper class twits known as Scrivens, and this resulted in the establishment of a dorpie called Slingsby. Baine’s 1823 Directory of the County of York says: 
SLINGSBY, a parish in the wapentake of Rydale; 6 miles WNW. of Malton; is situated on an extensive beautiful plain, and on an ancient Roman road, formerly a Roman station ... the castle was partly re-built by Sir C. Cavendish, in 1603, but not finished.’
My friend Amida Johns expressed scepticism about the existence of such a place; I rest my case with these two pics, one of a grotty old barn that is currently for sale in Slingsby, and the other is a puppet of Peter Rabbit at the Slingsby Primary School.

Which set me in mind to google Amida. Good heavens! She has over 1 million Google entries to my potty little 260 thousand ... amongst her ‘images’ was this early ancestor of hers, but more importantly I found these wonderful paintings by Amida – she really is a very accomplished botanical artist!

There are a couple of other claims to fame. Fred Slingsby founded Slingsby Sailplanes, in Kirbymoorside, Yorkshire, manufacturers of some of the most famous gliders in the world; but the Slingsbys I really like most are the last two.
First of these is William Cecil Slingsby. Bill was a notable climber of Norwegian peaks, he even has a glacier named after him (Slingsbybreen). He’s the guy who introduced skiing to Switzerland (’strue!); ‘Mountain environment’ writes of him: ‘... he visited the country (Norway) over twenty times in the period 1872 to 1921. His first visit was at the age of 23. At a time when few mountains had been climbed, he proved to be a mountaineering pioneer and opened new passages through the mountains and made many first ascents. Slingsby’s first ascent of Store Skagatølstind or Storen in 1876 is probably his finest achievement. Today the route, which Slingsby, Mohn and Knut Lykken made from Vetti Gard, is very challenging because of its length and glacial approach to Mohns Skar as the glacier “Slingsbybreen” has receded from the upper reaches of the skar (col). The final section is an exposed final grade 2 scramble to the summit of Norway's third highest summit - a section which Slingsby made alone.’
Above, looking west through Rauddalen with the snow covered summits of Mjølkedalstinden (left) and Rauddalstind (right). Slingsby made the first ascent of Mjølkedalstinden in 1881.
Second is Arthur Morris Slingsby, who sadly lost his life in WWI. The Yorkshire Rambler’s Club writes:
‘In 1909 he ... explored the unknown maze of the Eastern Karakoram. They crossed the main range in June by the Saltoro Pass (18 200 ft), and discovered the immense Siachen Glacier, 48 miles long, and to their astonishment piercing the main range, and a feeder of the Indus basin. The problem of escape from the Saltoro valleys was solved by Slingsby, who discovered the Chulung La (18 300 ft). Longstaff (his companion) writes –  “... The glacier soon degenerated into a maze of crevasses concealed by a deceptive covering of new snow, through which the heavily laden coolies were constantly breaking. I quite expected we should have to spend the night on the Korisa Glacier, but just as it got dark Slingsby found a way off through difficult séracs.”
In 1911 Slingsby set off to conquer Gahrwal (25 400 feet: 7742m).  He lead his party up 1 500 ft of especial difficulty during 11½ hours. For five hours he, unaided, hacked coal-scuttle steps in hard ice, hauling up heavily laden coolies, and all this herculean work was done in the thin air of 20 000 ft above sea level. Thanks to Mr. C. F. Meade, the col (21 000 ft) up which he dragged his men will always be known as the “Slingsby Pass”.’
So there you are, Amida. Not only a village and a castle, but a glacier and a 21 000ft high pass, too!
And I found Mike Dexter’s startlingly beautiful website. You should visit it, too.

Kaartman, 3 November 2013

Monday, October 7, 2013

Clocking the Daisies

Got a request the other day to answer a Q & A for a magazine article. One of the questions asked how we did our map research. We gave the short answer; here’s the long one.
It was a dark and stormy day when we woke up somewhere in the Agter-Pakhuis. The plan was to head west and north, to research the land beyond the Doring River for an extension to the touring map of the Cederberg. It’s harsh country out there – ever been to Loeriesfontein in high summer?
Don’t go there in summer, high or low. We resolved to research the area in spring, in the time of the daisies. There’d be lots of lovelies to look at, in between clocking the miles.
It was a dark and stormy day when we woke up. Our destination was Vanrhynsdorp, but many miles of slippery Brandberg Pass lay between us. We visited our neighbours instead, for a mid-morning rugby match. The recent one that that French ref stuffed up so badly. I made a mental note to forgive my daughters-in-law if they did not name a future grandchild ‘Bismarck’. It was too early for beer, but by the time we left it was still lightly raining.
Rain near Urionskraal; rain on the Knersvlakte: miles and miles of b all
We slipped over the Brandberg Pass and wolfed down a Wimpy at Klawer. At Vanrhynsdorp it was still a dark and stormy day. There wasn’t a daisy in sight, but they’ve got the biggest gaol in the country there. Helluva place. We clocked in to a bee-n-bee called Riverside Palms, quite far from the gaol. Some palms, no rivers. Hit the road to Koebee.
‘Koebee’ means the ‘place of fighting’. You can’t argue with that. The roads were dark, wet, slippery. The Koebee Pass is very steep, with a wrong-way camber, a yawning chasm. The road wound ever upwards, disappearing into mist. We turned back, took the Urionskraal road instead.
Fynbos in the rain; and daisies at last!
We clocked no daisies on that road, but there were several drunks. Not much to do on a rainy Saturday in Urionskraal. The road ended after  a sweet little pass. Gorgeous fynbos glowed in the mist. Pendoringkraal, said the name on the gate. It’s not translatable, said the dictionary. We turned back and cheered ourselves up in a Vanrhynsdorp pub, while WP trashed the Blou Bulle. What a pleasure.
Riverside Palms was quite warm and cosy. Outside the rain dribbled ever onwards. We hit the highway to Nieuwoudtville, up Vanrhyn’s Pass, wondering who he was. The Knersvlakte was bare, no daisies to be clocked at all. We swung off the R27 where the sign said ‘Oorlogskloof’. You can’t argue with that, either.
The sign also said, ‘No Entry Without Permit’. We drove in, looking for a man with permits for us. Eleven kilometres later we turned around at an empty entrance arch. One of those thatchy, bushveld things that mark Nature Reserves. In RSA, if you don’t have thatch on your gate, it’s not a proper reserve. It was freezing cold, mist whipping through the sopping wet bossies, not a daisy in sight. The road was bad beyond reason.
L to R: Nieuwoudtville waterfall; Elmarie se Plek; Owls on the road
Photos by Jeanne Ward
Elmarie se Plek welcomed us at Nieuwoudtville. It’s the old school boarding house, but we clocked in anyway. Chilly, but well-enough appointed. The dorm beds even had electric blankets; the TV had one channel. We dumped our gear and set off in the mist; the sign said ‘Perdekraal’. We saw owls and empty houses. We tried to remember the ghastly tale of Doggy-Dog Ruiters and his murderous mates; we passed a stork, then the road ended in a gate. ‘Absolutely No Entry’ said the friendly sign. We discovered a diversion to the left. Die Hel Pass, apparently. No signs, only an open gate.
‘A car fell off there last month,’ the lady at the info office had said. We found low gear and headed down. The road was steep, but we did not fall off. There were kokerboom. Quiver trees, if you didn’t know. An hour later we bottomed out. Back in the Knersvlakte. It means gnashing flats, as in teeth. Sheep there were, no daisies. A few pendoring trees. More and more pendoring trees – omigod, we oathed, we’re in a river bed. The ruts ahead got deeper. We gnashed the gears, put foot, clocked up to 60 as we sped over the drying mud.
Phew, we said, emerging on solid ground once more. No human beings for forty kays, no water or food in car, could have been tricky there.
Loeriesfontein: wall to wall flowers and windpompe
But on the third day there was sunshine and daisies. We put foot for Loeriesfontein, a revelation. Prettiest place you ever saw, wall-to-wall daisies absolutely everywhere, even in the empty parking lots. And the pride of Loeriesfontein – the Windpomp-Museum.
History in the countryside: a Nieuwoudtville Boer met sy roer, and a railway bus at Loeriesfontein
That was really interesting, we enjoyed that. We marked it on the map and sped south, a long dry drag full of gorgeous daisies, all the way past Koppieskraal to Vosfontein and Beeswater. We turned off and passed Naresie – o what a pretty sight it was – to Slaaiakker and Heitoes and back to the R27. Thirty minutes to Calvinia became two hours as the rygoes got us, one after the other. Daisies everywhere, even at Doega. Circled back through Gannabos; if you thought you’d seen kokerboom before, well, you hadn’t really until you got to Gannabos.
Wash-day at Lokenburg; flowers at Papkuilsfontein
On the fourth day we headed south. We found a wondrous place called Papkuilsfontein, but we can sadly say little about the Rietjiehuis Ecolodge because the gate was locked. Another sign said Lokenburg, so we followed it.
Confession time follows. There was a farm gate. Under the fence next to the gate was a trap. An iron thing, it had drop-doors at both ends, released by a pressure plate in the middle. If you were a beastie who can’t open gates, it was the only way through the fine-mesh fence. Porcupines clearly can’t, because there were a couple of quills in the trap.
Animal rights: donkeys waiting for hay; a goat waiting for The Flood
If you were a terrified beastie stuck in a trap without food or water, maybe for days at a time, you would have sprung that trap too. After a brief discussion, we marked it. With human scent. That’s enough information about that.
Our animal rights proclivities satisfied, we headed south in gathering sunshine. Daisies, daisies everywhere; we clocked them all.
The Wupperthal Band, and the Kokerboom Forest
On the fifth day we were welcomed to Wupperthal by a brass band and the President of the Moravian Church of South Africa, but we’ve written about that elsewhere.
Now you know all about how we research a map. A touring map, that is. While clocking the daisies, too.

Kaartman, Oct 7 2013: Happy birthday, Arch!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A la Kaart

After two fairly solid years of cartographing the Cederberg (with the occasional break here and there to St Lucia and Scotland and other parts north) one of the things that the Kaartmans had promised themselves was a day off enjoying the wonders of Cape Point – the whales, the sweet honey-scented serrurias, the languid bontebok, the saurian ostriches. The gorgeous spring day dawned bright, clear and windless, and so it was done. After breakfast, after a short burst of daily menial tasks, after the dogs were walked we picked up a pack of Woollies sarmies and headed south.

We took coffee in a flask, of course, a small cask of dry white and even a tiny box of juice. We stop-started through Kalk Bay. We tried to avoid even looking at Fish Hoek Main Road, and then at last we were truly free, barrelling down one of the finest drives in the world, ocean sparkling on our left, mountain golden with springtime conebushes on our right.
Past the naval guns, and then into Simon’s Town.
“We forgot the pie shop,” Mrs Kaartman. “The Simon’s Town pie shop.”
I sighed. “We did, indeed,” I sighed again.
“We could always eat the sarmies for supper,” she said.
The day brightened. “Or even the pies,” I said. “The rosemary and lamb pie – that would be great for supper.”
“Or lunch,” she said. “Let’s get the pies, then decide.”
We did a u-turn into the loading bay. The one outside the pie shop.

We bought the pies. They were hot, and the little white cake-boxy thing filled the car with delicious scents. Rosemary and lamb. Chicken and feta.
“We could each have a half of each,” we both said. 
“And keep the sarmies for supper.”

The thought made our mouths water. We ate the packets of chips we had bought with the Woollies sarmies, as Froggy Pond sped by. False Bay was a sparkly blue; the mountains were gentle and full of flowers.
“What’s the Black Marlin restaurant like?” asked Mrs K. “The one at Miller’s Point.”
“I think it’s got a good reputation,” I replied. I paused. The dashboard clock said ‘12:45’.  “Why?” I asked. “Do you think we should have lunch there?”
“We’ve got hot pies,” murmered Mrs K. 
“And sarmies,” I said.
“Why don’t we give it a try?”
“We could eat the pies for supper.”
“And the sarmies for lunch tomorrow.”
We turned off, into the long parking area that precedes the Black Marlin. It was nearly empty. We strolled through the restaurant – there’s a long outdoor part, shaded wooden tables on grass with a sparkly view of the bay. Then there’s a raised deck. All the tables were reserved there; small reddish flags fluttered on each. At the end of the deck was the indoor part. It was similarly adorned. And reserved.

A waiter appeared. He was a dead ringer for Tito Mboweni. I nearly called him Tito, but his name-tag said Joshua. “Are you all booked?” we asked.
“Function,” he said, waving airily around the restaurant. “I can serve you at the tables on the grass.”
“Great,” we said. The service was quick, smooth, seamless. A good dry white, a good light beer, delicious seafood. The sea was sparkly. Little black and red fishing boats chugged up and down, pursued by clouds of seagulls. 

The grub was great. Before we left five buses arrived. For the function. The small red flags belonged to Turkey. At least two hundred Turks filed past us, tourists, hungry, all staring shamelessly at our deliciously-loaded plates.
Replete, we left. We never got to Cape Point. We had coffee from our flask at the roadside, watching the sparkly sea, and then went home for a long kip.
We ate the pies for supper. Later, we ate the sarmies, too. The map, you see, was finished.

Kaartman, September 2013. 
     Happy birthday, Joy!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Great Excitement over New Map ...

Photo by Sonja Loots
Great Excitement over New Map the caption on Pieter Malan’s review of ‘Hike the Cederberg’ in Die Burger’s ‘Buite’ supplement of Tuesday 3rd September. The Kaartmans are in turn greatly excited by Pieter’s many kind words! Here’s a summary ...
Pieter began by pointing out that the ‘GPS brigade’ will not understand the ecstasy of the ‘map-and-compass’ users at the appearance of a new climbers’ map. “If you are one of those GPS-peepers, ‘taffies’,” says Pieter; “see you at the next swimming hole. If you can find it ...”
“The new map has no equal ... it does for Cederberg mapping what nylon did for climbers’ tents!” – but Pieter warns that you should not confuse it with the touring map, ‘Explore the Cederberg’ – the hiking map is a different, much more detailed animal altogether.
It’s clear, Pieter rightly says, that Slingsby maps do not ‘crib’ information from other maps, hence all the many mistakes in older maps of the Cederberg have been corrected, not repeated. He gives us a feather in our caps for this, “’n kleine pouveer van ’n pluimpie in Slingsby se laphoed ...” – love that lekker taal! –  but Pieter reserves his highest praise “for the work the Kaartman has done with the collection and preservation of almost-forgotten placenames; for that he deserves a jet-black Wupperthal eagle feather ...”
We’re pleased too that Pieter mentions the huge contributions made by Rudolf Andrag and Alex Basson, as well as those of all the many people who responded to the Cederberg map blog. We’ll be posting some news of the various launches on that blog once we have been to Clanwilliam on 13th September.
Pieter ends by mentioning the purists, who don’t like detailed maps that might lead the ‘hoi polloi’ to their favourite spots but, as he says, for heaven’s sake, there is more than enough Wilderness out there for everyone ...
Photo by Sonja Loots
Thanks for the bouquets, Pieter. We collected some more on our return from the map launch at the MCSA clubhouse in Cape Town. We gave a lift to a gentleman named Eric, who announced that he was a devoted fan. What’s more, he said, he still had a set of the original Slingsby Drakensberg maps, the ones that Ezemvelo KwaZulu Wildlife shamelessly copied without acknowledgment.
“Whenever I go to the MCSA’s Drakensberg meet,” Eric said, “there are always a couple of people there with original Slingsby’s – and they guard them with their lives!”
And then, as always always always happens when the Kaartmans have a function at the MCSA, we were asked if we did not still have, just maybe, lurking away in the bottom of a cupboard, a few copies of those original Drakensberg maps ...
May ‘Hike the Cederberg’ bring you all just as much lasting pleasure; and if you don’t have one yet, you’d better grab your First Edition copy while you still can!

– Kaartman, 5 September 2013: happy birthday, Liz!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Spring is popping everywhere ...

The Kaartmans have just returned from a brief break at Sevilla, in the Agter-Pakhuis, where the spring flowers have to be seen to be believed ... this is going to be one of the GREAT YEARS for spring flowers, from the Cederberg up to Namaqualand, so if you have not booked already .... well, you’re probably too late!
To celebrate we have put together a DVD with over 1400 images of Cape Flowers, gathered on our mapping travels around the countryside. Most are pretty high-res [from 6 to 16 megapixels] and all we’ve done to them is changed the file names to reflect 

  • the plant’s family name
  • the genus of the plant
  • the species
  • AND ... the common name

We hope most of our identifications are correct, and we’d love your feedback if not. 
The DVD’s make a great screensaver [full instructions on the disk] or simply a neat way to identify those gorgeous beauties out there. You can buy one online for only R100 – click on the word EFT to buy by EFT [don’t forget to add R20 for postage]; you can also buy by credit card, click on the Add to Cart button ....
[By the way it is a DVD even tho the pic above says 'CD' ...]
Whet your appetite with the pics below ....
Kaartman, July 2013