Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Karoo Travels - The Serendipity Book Store in Bedford

The Signs Of this Little Book Store In The Karoo Town Of  Bedford Caught Our Eyes

BOOKS AND THINGS! why resist?

The Serendipity Book Store in Bedford in Donkin Street is situated in a "historical"

Since there is not too much traffic on the main road of Bedford, stopping right o away on the side of the road is not a problem. The small Karoo town is a rather sleepy place, except on Fridays. The signboard that captured our attention belongs to an old house, 150 years, that has already historical value in South Africa.
"Well it's not like in Europe, where you have houses, that are a thousand years old," the owner explained,"but for here it's a very old lady."  

Bedford Street Scenes - A Karoo Town In South Africa

The Signs Promise Books, Books, Books  - In Bedford

The Serendipity Book Shop is located on the left side of the main just before leaving Bedford

old houses and old walls

The Karoo has seduced many with their indescribable charm. The open plains, extremely hot in summer and wit icy cold nights in winter have drawn many from the big cities. And so it happened to  the owner of this book store, who relocated from Cape Town where she has lived many years to this small village in the Karoo.

Mountains in the distance

"We decided to move to the country and have never regretted it. It's a beautiful place and we have so many gorgeous old houses here. Just drive off the main road and you will see them".

The inside is as interesting as the outside.

The owner busy marking some German books

"Just be a careful" she says, there is so much dust, I have been away for a while and I just opened the doors today. Lucky us!"

Some other "Things" at the entrance of the Bedford Book Store

The locals are having their chat across the road

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Say A Little Prayer - Hogsback

Photography by Chocolat Negro
One of many churches in the Hogsback area in the Eastern Cape in South Africa

Photography by Chocolat Negro
Say a prayer so I will find my former glory

Photography by Chocola Negro
The Hogsback Mountains and the mist, that often occurs in this region

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Sunken Graves Of Cradock

The Cradock cemetary is home to some of the oldest settlers graves in South Africa
The Sunken Graves Of The Cradock Cemetery
If you ever come to Cradock, the old town in the heart of the great South African Karoo take a walk over the old cemetery outside of town. Walk into the past. And you will treasure life.

The Cradock Cemetery

There you find the graves of the ones, who came to foreign lands to live a better life. Today their are called the settlers. Back then they were only people who brought their memories of their own countries to the African soil. 

Africa became their home for a while. Some never saw their own country again. The Cradock Cemetery is their home now for eternity. But their last resting places are sunken into the white thorny ground. Is that how it is supposed to be?

A witness to the past of the ones who came to live a better life - Cradock cemetery
The Cradock Cemetary, nested close to the silent Karoo mountains, holds their memories under bleached tombstones that have to bear the bright, hot and white Karoo sun for hundreds of years.

Protection, that is not needed anymore

Once there was protection, now there is none. It is just the mountains, the sun and the graves.

A sunken grave on the Cradock Cemetery

Life was short. The stones are witnesses of real short lives.

The Last Resting Place of A Child Under A Bright African Sun
Africa treated them all the same. And it gave no pardon to the young and very young ones. 

A distant memory of a loved one on the Cradock Cemetery

Settler hearts must have been broken in a million pieces, when the children were buried. Angels and doves are watching over them still today.

At the young age of two years and eight months- no pardon from the Karoo Heartland for the young ones

" Our Darling" came to rest under a bright Karoo Sun on the Cradock Cemetery

The graves are sunken in and few of them are remembered. And it seems as if none of them are visited.

This stone remembers no one - Cradock Cemetery

The light is so very bright and and the stone can not tell us anymore who it was it protects.

In loving memory of 38 years of life

Just Mother and Father - Cradock Cemetery

Fences and some dead flowers on the Cradock cemetery

Hardly keeping together anymore

The ground shifts, has its own force. It is time to move the things. that have been static for so long.   

A bouquet of flowers chiseled into stone to remember a ten year and seven months old child

Siblings Rest Together on the Cradock Cemetery

Husband And Wife - Cradock Cemetery

Died in 1900 and 1917!

A headless angel still praying over an 4 month old infants grave

Once My Home Was Switzerland

More than one story to tell- the Cradock Cemetery

The picture can tell you their stories better than I can do!

Photography by Chocolat Negro
A Walk in Silence 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Karoo Travels - The Plains Of Camdeboo

The Plains Of Camdeboo
Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo of South Africa is one of the great natural wonders of the world. The Camdeboo National Park with its unique landscape and incredible scenic beauty is part of the Karoo.

A unique feature of the 19.405-hectare park is its location, practically surrounding the historic Karoo  town of Graaff Reinet in the Eastern Cape.

Camdeboo National Park In The Karoo

At least 225 bird species have been recorded in the park, with an interesting ecotonal mix including species typical of both the Great Karoo and Eastern region avifaunas.

The ostrich is perhaps the most well-known example of a bird adapted to life on the plains – it can cover up to 32km per day.

Ostrich Freedom in Camdeboo

The greater portion of the park is situated between 740 and 1480 meters above sea level on the foothills of the Sneeuberg range, while a small section of the low lying-plains is included.

Born Free

The Camdeboo National Park was proclaimed as South Africa's 22nd National Park under the management of South African National Parks on Sunday 30th October 2005.

Early history of the park includes use of the area by early, middle and later stone age people. Evidence of occupation by these people can be found in the form of stone age industry sites on the south eastern plains of the park.

Artefacts found in these sites include bored stones, percussion-made hand axes, scrapers, blades and grinding stones.
Khoisan hunters and herders left evidence of their occupation during the late stone age in the form of rock paintings in the eastern section of the park.

The Inqua tribe occupied the park area during the mid 1600's, grazing their vast herds of cattle and fat-tailed sheep on the apron veld from the Camdeboo River near Aberdeen, across the Sundays River to Agter-Bruintjieshoogte near Somerset East. 

Staying Free

White farmers settled the Camdeboo Plains and Sneeuberg in 1770, introducing merino sheep and angora goats, as well as exotic plants. Over the years overgrazing and the effects of exotic plants have resulted in soil erosion and an increase in woody species or unpalatable plants.
Until the park was first proclaimed as a reserve in 1979, it was used as a town commonage with tenants grazing their livestock and contributing to overgrazing and erosion of some areas.

The Wheel Of Ages

Following an extensive process of negotiation and discussion between government, conservation groups, and concerned stakeholders, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, announced the intention to proclaim South Africa's 22nd National Park in the area surrounding Graaff-Reinet. This was made possible by the World Wide Fund for Nature in South Africa (WWF-SA), which donated the 14500 hectare Karoo Nature Reserve to be the centrepiece of the project.

A public consultation process was followed to decide on the new name for the park, culminating in the choice of Camdeboo National Park.

Long Shadows Travelling With Us

The Karoo Nature reserve was established in 1979 when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund recognised the urgency for conservation measures in the Karoo biome and listed this action as a world conservation priority.

The Large Nqweba Dam

The Nqweba Dam lies within the park and covers about 1000 hectares when full. At some places, dolerites form jointed pillars – the best examples of which are found in the Valley of Desolation where erosion of the softer sedimentary beds has left dolerite pillars which rise to heights of 90 – 120 meters.

Nqweba Dam in Camdeboo National Park

The vision for the future is ultimately to link the Camdeboo National Park with the Mountain Zebra National Park, protecting a huge diversity of plant and animal species. This will assist in the conservation of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra. The idea is to create a single mega-conservation area over 120km in length and including up to 520 000 hectares of land under conservation and this will be accomplished in the main by public/private partnerships. 

The people of the Karoo are lucky to live in such a place!

The Green In The Karoo

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