Thursday, March 3, 2011

Bethulie and Skilderkrans

Last December we spent a pleasant few days in the historic town of Bethulie, on the north-eastern shores of the massive Gariep Dam.

I spent some time standing in the middle of a dustry street drawing this view of the Dutch Reformed Church (1887) which is a focal point of the town. Sadly, I did not get to draw anything else there, but the place is definitely worth a return trip. It boasts numerous Anglo-Boer War sites and historic buildings. It is also an object lesson in name changes. First established as a mission station by the London Missionary Society in 1829, it was first known as Groot Moordenaars Poort (Murderers' Pass) after a vicious Sotho-Griqua clash. Missionary Jean Pellissier, whose home is the oldest pioneer building north of the Orange River, according to a pamphlet, is credited with founding the town in 1832. The house is now a hisotirical museum. First known as Caledon, after the nearby river, it was then named Bethulia (Chosen by God) in 1833 when the French Missionary Society took over the area. It became Verheullpolis in 1835 then, once a town was actually established in 1863, Heidelberg. It was renamed Bethulie in 1872. The tourism pamphlet says the town had the largest British concentration camp of the 1899-1902 war.

Before we crossed into the Free State, we spent a delightful few days at a B&B on the Karoo farm Skilderkrans. This was a section of road next to the farm, with mountains behind.

A section of the dustry road leads the eye to koppies in the west.

The farm was mainly used for goats.

A section of the lovely mountainous landscape.

There is something quite evil about goats, with their tiny devil's horns and bleating calls. On the right is a water trough.

No comments:

Post a Comment