Old Postal Route closed
We have received an email from the owner of the farm, Achterplaas, (Henk Bekker), who has made the decision to close this much loved route. Reckless bikers roar through his farm, riding in the Rooibos plantations and racing past his farmhouse at high speeds, causing a danger to his children and farm animals. On weekends between 20 to 30 bikers use the route.
Henk has had to rescue dehydrated, lost and injured bikers at his own expense and intruding into his family time. Mostly the peace and quiet that they used to enjoy on the farm has been lost. The closure of the route takes place with immediate effect. A short section of the road is a publicly accessible road (from Mertenshof in the Biedouw Valley to just past the summit of the Kraaiberg Pass). The rest of the route is owned by three separate owners and all have agreed to close the route down.
Whilst this is a great pity that a few hooligans have caused the problem, we respect the farmers wishes. Please don't even think about removing fence posts, or cutting locks and chains. Moral of the story - Respect private property. Respect our farmers.
We will keep the page open on our website, so that those who have never completed the route, can at least watch the videos.
Great South Africans
Sir Herbert Baker(9 June 1862 – 4 February 1946) was an English architect remembered as the dominant force in South African architecture for two decades, and a major designer of some of New Delhi's most notable government structures. He was born and died at Owletts in Cobham, Kent.
Among the many churches, schools and houses he designed in South Africa are the Union Buildings in Pretoria, St. Andrew's College, Grahamstown, St. John's College, Johannesburg, the Wynberg Boys' High School, Groote Schuur in Cape Town, and the Champagne Homestead and Rhodes Cottage on Boschendal, between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. With Sir Edwin Lutyens he was instrumental in designing, among other buildings, Viceroy's House, Parliament House, and the North and South Blocks of the Secretariat, all in New Delhi, which in 1931 became the capital of the British Raj, as well as its successor states the Dominion of India and the Republic of India. He also designed the East African Railways Headquarters, Government House and the administration building at the then Prince of Wales School in Nairobi, Kenya, now known as Nairobi School. His tomb is in Westminster Abbey.
He embarked for South Africa in 1892 ostensibly to visit his brother, and was commissioned in 1893 by Cecil Rhodes to remodel Groote Schuur, Rhodes' house on the slopes of Table Mountain in Cape Town, and the residence of South African Prime Ministers. Rhodes sponsored Baker's further education in Greece, Italy and Egypt, after which he returned to South Africa and stayed the next twenty years.
In South Africa, Baker first partnered with Masey and Sloper, from 1903 to 1907. In 1904, he appointed Francis Leonard Fleming as his assistant, eventually becoming partners with Fleming in 1910 and working together until 1918, when Baker cut ties with the South Africa office.
He had the patronage of Lord Milner, and was invited to the Transvaal to design and build residences for the British living there. Much taken with the country, and notably with the Cape Dutch homes in the Cape Province, Baker resolved to remain in South Africa and to establish an architectural practice, which went under the name of Herbert Baker, Kendall & Morris. Baker undertook work in widespread parts of the country including Durban, Grahamstown, King William's Town, Bloemfontein, George and Oudtshoorn, and even further afield in Salisbury, Rhodesia, where he designed the Anglican Cathedral and a house for Julius Weil, the general merchant.
In 1902, Baker left his practice at the Cape in the hands of his partner and went to live in Johannesburg, where he built Stonehouse. On a visit to the United Kingdom in 1904, he married his cousin, Florence Edmeades, daughter of Gen. Henry Edmund Edmeades, bringing her back to Johannesburg, where two sons, the first of four children, were born. Baker quickly became noted for his work, and was commissioned by a number of the "Randlords" (the wealthy mining magnates of Johannesburg) to design houses, particularly in the suburbs of Parktown and Westcliff. He also designed commercial premises and public buildings.
South African Cities
Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) is a city in north-eastern South Africa. It is the capital of the Mpumalanga province. Located on the Crocodile River, Mbombela lies about 110 kilometres by road west of the Mozambique border, 330 kilometres east of Johannesburg and about 82 kilometres North of the Eswatini border, Mbombela was one of the host cities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Mbombela was founded as Nelspruit in 1895 by three brothers of the Nel family who grazed their cattle around the site during the winter months. During the Boer War, it served briefly as the seat of government for the South African Republic (not to be confused with the Republic of South Africa), an independent Boer republic.
The settlement was a key stopover for the Eastern railway built by the Netherlands-South African Railway Company in the late 19th century which ran from the newly discovered Witwatersrand goldfields to Delagoa Bay (modern day Maputo) in Portuguese East Africa (modern day Mozambique).
The discovery of gold in the region at places like Pilgrim's Rest and Barberton, Mpumalanga further encouraged development.
Mbombela hosts the University of Mpumalanga which was established in 2014, initially accommodating a modest intake of one hundred and forty students. The city has a Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) college. The Lowveld Agricultural College is located just outside the city across from the Mpumalanga provincial legislature.
Tshwane University of Technology has a satellite campus in Mbombela with well over 1,500 students. UNISA has an office in the city and offers distance courses. The city has four major public high schools. There has been a recent increase in the number of private schools in the area.
Mbombela is home to the Agricultural Research Council's Institute for Tropical and Subtropical Crops and the Lowveld National Botanical Garden. Citrus Research International (CRI) has a major facility in the city. The Lowveld Agricultural College also conducts research in the field of botany.
Mbombela is on the Maputo Corridor, a major trade route linking Pretoria to Maputo in Mozambique which, with the Trans-Kalahari Corridor, forms a transport trunk that crosses the entire sub-continent from Walvis Bay in Namibia on the Atlantic Ocean to Maputo on the Indian Ocean. The N4 toll route is the main arterial route with a double lane highway all the way to Johannesburg and Pretoria.
We chat about the first day of the Swartberg Tour. Click to listen
PASS OF THE WEEK
We cyber drive the Boosmansbos Pass near Heidelberg this week and take in the magnificent scenery.
This steep gravel pass offers spectacular views over the Duiwenhoksrivier valley tucked right up into the green rolling foothills of the Langeberg, between the Tradouw and Garcia passes on a minor gravel road, which offers several pass driving options as it is also the access road to the Gysmanshoek pass.
The road is suitable for normal sedan vehicles, providing it has not been raining in which case some of the low level bridges might be impassable. On the steeper gradients, FWD cars might have traction issues in wet weather.
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Words of wisdom: "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream" ~ C.S.Lewis