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Offline fat b

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #20 on: June 10, 2010, 11:01:06 am »
Hooked. TT sent you a PM.
:laughing4: I thought you would like this one , I read it on Trail-Riders blog .
Lekker RR TT !  :thumleft:

 THE CHALLENGE MAY NOT BE EASY , BUT IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
SO MANY PLACES, SO LITTLE TIME !

MOSSEL BAY
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #21 on: June 10, 2010, 11:02:31 am »
Here is Burchell’s picture (from the other bank).


Burchell’s description:

Quote
The water glittering under a fervid sun, caught my eye through the leafy screen; and a few steps lower, opened as enchanting a view as it could be possible for fancy to imagine. Whether the feelings of an enthusiastic lover of scenes of nature, may have influenced my judgment, I cannot say; but still I think that, whoever shall visit the banks of the Gariep, and not feel both delight and admiration, must be cold indeed, and very deficient in taste or sensibility.

The first view to which I happened to turn myself, in looking up the stream, realized those ideas of elegant and classic scenery, which ate created in the minds of poets, those alluring, fancies of a fairy tale, or the fascinating imagery of a romance. The waters of the majestic river, flowing in a broad expanse resembling a smooth translucent lake, seemed, with their gentle waves, to kiss the shore and bid it farewell for ever, as they glided past in their way to the restless ocean; bearing on their limpid bosom the image of their wood-clothed banks; while the drooping willows leaned over the tide, as if unwilling to lose them; and the long pendent branches, dipping their leafy twigs in the stream, seemed fain to follow.

Here I could have rested the whole day; here I could have fixed my abode for months : enjoying the delightful shade, and inhaling the refreshing air. Rapt with the pleasing sensations which the scenery inspired, I sat on the bank a long time contemplating the serenity and beauty of the view.

Having seen what it was like I was able to ride across to the river.


I would think that he actually crossed slightly upstream where the opposite hills are lower.  Here.


Burchell describes the crossing:

Quote
In three hours we again approached the river, and arrived at the spot distinguished on my map by the name of Shallow Ford. While the rest were engaged in levelling the road down the bank, and exploring the safest part of the ford, I made a sketch of the river, from the top of the high woody bank, whence there was a broad, and far-extended view up the stream; the smooth water, like a polished mirror, appearing divided from the sky, only by a narrow blue line of distant hills. Here the southern shore was defined by naked cliffs; while, on the opposite side, a continued belt of willows and acacias extended, gradually diminishing in the distance, till, turning round a low projecting point of land, it entirely disappeared.

The waggons being all assembled, several men, some on horseback, and some on oxen, were the first to enter the river, not only for the purpose of pointing out where the water was shallowest, they having been twice across during the morning; but to give warning to those who were behind, if by chance a hippopotamus hole should be found in their way. They were followed immediately by the train of waggons, each with a steady leader at the head of the team, to restrain the oxen from turning down with the current, which they are very inclined to do, when left to themselves. As one waggon plunged into the stream, another descended headlong down the steep bank, closely followed by another; and as these moved on, others in their turn advanced from the rear, till the line, stretching entirely across the river, seemed like a bridge of waggons. The train at first took a very oblique direction downwards, till they had reached the middle of the river, and from that point, proceeded directly across to the opposite side. The bottom was found to be full of large pebbles, and the greatest depth no more than two feet and eight inches; but the current was therefore very rapid and strong. The water was quite transparent, a proof that no heavy rains had lately fallen in the upper part of its course. At the ford the surface was smooth; but lower down, and in sight, it was broken by a fall of about two feet. Each waggon took a quarter of an hour to  perform the passage, which might be estimated at a little more than a quarter of a mile. The oxen were driven through by about a dozen Hottentots ; and as many were required to swim the sheep and goats over in safety.

The river was quite full because of all the water being released from the Vaal Dam.  The trees on the side I had access to are not as big.  If you look back to the photo of my bike beside the river you will see that the trees on the far bank are much bigger – just like they are in Burchell’s picture.


This picture is further upstream but it looks more like Burchell’s first picture.

 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #22 on: June 10, 2010, 11:05:37 am »
Burchell then went on to Klaarwater (Griekwastad) as he was travelling in convoy with some of the missionaries and their followers.  At one time I was involved in the semi-precious stone business.  Tiger’s eye comes from around Niekerkshoop in the asbestos mountains and I wanted to see it.  I had plotted a route along a very minor dashed track in Mapsource (not in T4A) which turned out to be exactly the correct track fortunately as it took me right through the tigers eye workings.  Burchell had seen the tiger’s eye, describes it & includes this picture of the blue tiger’s eye he saw.


This is a piece I picked up when opening one of the gates on the track.  The cliff in the background shows the outcrop of thin layered sedimentary rock that forms the Asbestosberg.  Tiger’s eye is formed by the replacement of the asbestos fibres by silica; *Wiki*
*Here* is a link about tigers eye including a video of them mining without any power tools.


I rode up to be next to those rocks:


Very similar to this engraving.


Small though the road is marked it turned out to be very nice through the hills, you cross a game farm at one stage.

Then you come to one of the tiger’s eye mining pits, just like the one in the video I linked.


A little further on I came to this sorting and bagging area on the track.


There was nobody there on a Sunday.

This is the village called Kloof by Burchell (1:238).  Map #2922 shows that the farm is now named Kloof in the same place & it is on the route I took to see the tigers eye.
http://www.tokencoins.com/burchell.htm


Those are traditional Khoi matjieshuise – reed mats on a frame of poles stuck into the ground.  I did a long post about them as post #36 of *this thread*.

Those ore bags of sorted tigers eye with the very same hillside in the background.


The missionaries had to socialise here as this was part of their community and they had been away for some years (1:328).
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #23 on: June 10, 2010, 11:08:51 am »
The next day they went on to Klaarwater (Griekwastad). Burchell’s big fold out picture is too big to show properly here. Not much of a town then.

You can just see his wagon in the backgound as two dots in the picture.  He chose to separate himself from the village.

My picture; not much of a town now:


And from the opposite side.

This picture was taken from just about where Burchell parked his wagon.

Griekwastad does not even have cell phone reception let alone a decent shop.  There is a crappy bar & an hotel I was advised to avoid.  My thoughts were no different to Burchell’s (1:352]:

Quote
My disappointment in the appearance of the place arose from expecting, perhaps, too much.

The missionaries were working with the Griekwa.  This is how they are defined in Wikipedia:

Quote
The Griqua are a racially and culturally mixed people who originated in the intermarriages or sexual relations between European colonists in the Cape and the Khoikhoi already living there in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The community has a truly amazing history;  2000 trekked off under Adam Kok 3 to create Giqualand East with Kokstad as the main town.  They went through Lesotho crossing the Drakensberg by the spectacular Ongeluksnek Pass.  There is an exceptional website about them http://www.tokencoins.com/griqua.html - it is a very chaotic site.  I found the next picture there some time ago but it took me 40 minutes to eventually track it down again.

*Source*

Burchell’s picture of the mission.  Church at the front, a missionary’s house at the back with a store room between.


Seven years previously they had started to build a stone church.  There is plenty of lovely flat stone lying around so it was hardly difficult but they lost interest when at shoulder height (1:367). Seems like the missionaries were too feeble to get them to continue.

The house Mary Moffat grew up in (David Livingston’s wife).  Built out of the abundant local stone.


Quote
The old mission house, built roundabout 1828, today houses the Mary Moffat Museum. When Griquatown was laid out as a town in 1879, the survey commenced from the mission house, the parallels being taken from the front walls of the building. In 1904 this house was sold to Barclays Bank, who purchased the property directly from the London Missionary Society, and up to 1956 used it as a bank. When Barclays Bank completed their new building next door, the building was converted into a museum.

Dr Robert Moffat and his wife Mary, waiting to depart to Kuruman resided at Griquatown when their daughter, Mary, later Mrs. David Livingstone, was born in Griquatown in 1821.
*Source*

The famous "execution tree", where Waterboer hanged stock thieves and murderers, can still be seen but when I looked into the yard where it is signposted to be the trees that I saw looked far too young and small.  I did not have time to investigate properly.

« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 03:25:16 pm by tok-tokkie »
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #24 on: June 10, 2010, 11:10:24 am »
Here is a fabulous story about when a steamboat passed through the town.  (Dicey 47)

Quote
Here the steamboat, which had travelled upstream from the Orange River mouth, turned north up the Kuruman River and sailed on to Lattakoo, the most northerly of the Cape mission stations. The steamer's progress was not hindered by the fact that Klaarwater, today called Griquatown, is fifty kilometres from the river, nor by the fact that the Kuruman River flows into the Molopo, which only joins the Orange below the Augrabies Falls, nor indeed by the fact that the Orange is unnavigable. For The Queen and Czar steams her way through Meridiana: the adventures of three Englishmen and three Russians in South Africa (1872), a little-known novel by Jules Verne. The six foreigners of the title are astronomers, come to measure an arc of the meridian in southern Africa. They have the obligatory run-ins with hippos, crocs, elephants and lions before fleeing the assegais of a native horde with the scientific results they have risked their lives for. Remarkably, they find a river that carries them from the central Kalahari to the Zambezi and on to the Indian Ocean. Meridiana, along with better-known works such as Around the World in Eighty Days, is one of fifty-four novels by Verne collectively known as Voyages Extraordinaires. This prodigious output explains, perhaps, why Verne didn't let geography stand in the way of a good story. The real story of Klaarwater, though, proves far more compelling than his fiction.
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #25 on: June 11, 2010, 12:26:17 pm »

Hippo Hunt

Burchell was seriously messed around by the missionaries in Klaarwater.  I will summarise those events after describing the hippo hunting trip.

After being in Klaarwater almost a month Burchell left on a hippo hunting expedition to the confluence of the Gariep & Vaal rivers.  He wanted to lay in a stock of biltong for the onward trip (1:421). It took less than a month (1:476). His intention was to spend three months in Klaarwater of which six weeks remained after this trip(1:475)

Setting off from Griekwastad towards the Vaal river.  I love these open under populated places.  My last year at school was on the tiny island of Guernsey followed by two years in England; that made me long for places like this – most of us only appreciate them when they are no longer an option.


Burchell went across that plain to hunt some hippo on the Vaal.  Here it is:


The view upstream from the bridge at Douglas.  This trip took me past a lot of our rivers & I now realise how much they appeal to me by the number of photos I took of them = every time I saw one.


I much prefer Douglas to Prieska although it too completely ignores the lovely river right there.  I went down to the confluence of the Gariep & Vaal on the south side (I had tried to do that from the north but the road is now locked).  In this panorama of the confluence the Vaal is on the right, the Gariep in the left foreground and the combined Gariep flowing away up the picture. Burchell camped on the far (north) bank.


The old Orange upstream of the confluence was called Nu-Gariep coming in from my left. 


The Ky-Gariep (Vaal) from my right (names 1:391):


The plain Gariep just below the confluence:

 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #26 on: June 11, 2010, 12:28:07 pm »
I always carry a bottle of wine with me & some food in case I have to stealth camp.  In Douglas I went to the Two Rivers bottle store where I selected, naturally, Confluence as it is a locally made blend (I prefer blended wines).  Because I was on a bike & the manager had a Yamaha R1 parked inside the shop & the wine was not listed in their computer he gave it me.  It was fine & I would buy it at a reasonable price.

Burchell’s wagon at the confluence.  He flew the Union flag every Sunday.  He is giving gifts (=tobacco usually) to a group of San (1:389)


Burchell’s men shot three hippos (1:409  1:418  1:427).  One floated across to the opposite bank & took a long time to get back, then the trees grew so tightly they could not easily haul it out of the river & it was in poor condition from being in the sun all day so they abandoned it.  They cut up the other two & dried the lean meat.  The really fatty bits had to be salted.  Some San from the other side came over & helped them get them out of the river & cut them up (1:415).  By custom they got the guts, bones & head (1:413). Each hippo was further upstream so although Burchell had established his camp right at the confluence he had to move up to load the meat ending up at present day Schmidtsdrif.

The hunting party had ended up with 10 wagons as the locals wanted to join in the action and also cut reeds for their houses (1:381 1:401).  Burchell issued some of them with gunpowder and shot on the condition that he received half the proceeds.  He was continually verneuked (1:438).  Burchell titles the pages describing this as ‘Dishonesty’ ‘Disappointed’ & ‘Covetousness’; he became highly disillusioned by the locals. A huge amount of the meat was eaten by the locals right there.

When his wagon was filled with dried meat they returned directly to Klaarwater (1:431).  The trip took 26 days (1:476) but he was now ready for the next leg.
Burchell’s engraving of the head of the female hippo.


I like this one by Daniell.


This is a Le Vaillant picture.  In fact most of his pictures were painted by other artists based on Le Vaillant’s descriptions & sketches.  This guy drew a pig pretending to be a kitten– literally.


Another Le Vaillant picture, this time a portrait.  A wonderful picture in my opinion.

 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #27 on: June 11, 2010, 12:29:08 pm »
The Vaal & Gariep are significant rivers but the San crossed them quite easily.  As Dicey notes the Gariep is probably the largest river on earth that had nothing more than a floating log as watercraft before the Europeans arrived (37).  Burchell watched them crossing from the far side and points out that they were nomadic so a canoe or other watercraft did not fit in with their lifestyle (1:415). Hippos they could manage and, luckily, crocodiles were never in the Gariep or Vaal (why?).  It was a willow log with a branch poked into it which went under one armpit & over the shoulder. Daniell gives this picture.


But I like this one of Le Vaillant being ferried across the Olifants river.  Look at him, fully dressed with ostrich feathers around his hat being pulled across the river still wearing his shoes.  There is a little about Le Vaillant at the end of this post.


Here Le Vaillant excels.  Boat of the coastal Kaffirs (sic) must refer to the Xhosa as that is where he went – looks like they already had marine plywood & Le Vaillant was there in 1782.  In fact the first boat on the Gariep was 1834 by Andrew Smith right here at the confluence. (Dicey 89 though he states that Robert Gordon launched a boat at the mouth in 1779). I enjoy Le Vaillant’s work.


 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2010, 12:31:56 pm »
From the confluence back to Douglas and across the bridge to the northern side and along to Schmidtsdrif.  The Vaal from the bridge at Schmidtsdrif.


Next to the new bridge is the old bridge where you can see branches and stuff still on it from the last time the river flooded over it.


I went to have a good look at it but refrained from actually riding on it. Two of the locals were fishing there.


I then went to see the settlement where those fishermen came from. 


I showed pictures of the San hunters with arrows stuck into their hair.  Here is the story about this settlement taken from Dicey (page39)

Quote
I was amazed to discover, that very afternoon, that there are still San living near the confluence. .. Laurence asked Jakob about the army fatigues he was wearing. 'Ons is Boesmans van Schmidtsdrift… For the next hour they talked of the San of Schmidtsdrift, a tented village near the Vaal, fifty kilometres upstream of the confluence. In 1972 the !Xu and Khwe people were chased out of Angola into Namibia by the MPLA, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. Three years later Angola gained its independence from Portugal and the colonial war became a civil war. South Africa took the side of Jonas Savimbi's UNITA against the communist-backed MPLA. Many of the ousted San enlisted with the South African Defence Force, serving as both trackers and combatants. A friend of mine had been a medic in the feared 201 Battalion.

Their badge was a witborskraai or white-chested crow. Its black body signified the fighting-men, all San, and its chest the white core that commanded each platoon of thirty men — a commissioned officer, a two-stripe corporal and a medic. The MPLA were terrified of the San, who would sneak up on them and fight at close quarters. If a San soldier was killed, his friends would break ranks and pursue the killer, for weeks if need be. South Africa left the fray when the Berlin Wall came down. There were fears of reprisals against the fighting San when SWAPO, an ally of the MPLA, won Namibia's first democratic elections. The San were given the option of moving to South Africa, and in 1990 some seven thousand members of the !Xu and Khwe communities arrived at Schmidtsdrift. They were promised houses within six months. Eleven years on and they are still, said Jakob, living in military tents.

I was struck by the irony of San people being brought to South Africa to secure their safety. Seen in the light of history, this borders on the surreal. Of all the blood-soaked episodes in South Africa's past, few rival the systematic and protracted extermination of the San as a people. They were seen as vermin by Boer and Baster, Xhosa and Khoi alike. Thousands of San were hunted down or, if they were lucky, enslaved:

That is why I wanted those pictures of the San warriors.  Think about the plight of that race.

Then back to Griekwastad.  This is the sort of bush that Burchell must have been going through 200 years ago.


It was not easy trekking through that country.  Read this (1:482)

Quote
The whole waggon-load of meat which we brought to Klaarwater as a stock for our future journey, was totally eaten up in four days, although I had nobody but Philip to feed. It was not consumed by the crows, nor by the vultures, but by the Klaarwater Hottentots, who are by no means inferior to them in the power of smelling out meat, wherever it may be concealed. From an early hour in the morning, till late at night, my waggons were constantly visited by men, women, and children, whose only object was to eat. But, from the moment the last of the stock was gone, from that moment not one visitor more came near me. Yet still it was impossible to account for this rapid disappearing of the meat, without supposing that they came secretly and stole it by night, as there was nothing to pre¬vent them but their own sense of honesty ; nobody sleeping at the waggons but myself, and Philip remaining every night at the village to be in attendance on Gert. Nothing could be more vexatious than this loss, or, more correctly speaking, robbery, as provisions were not easily to be purchased, and a large supply not by any solicitations to be obtained from the inhabitants of this place.
 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2010, 12:33:35 pm »

Francois le Vaillant.

*Wiki*

Quote
This website provides an introduction to the flamboyant figure of François Le Vaillant (1753-1824). Hugely popular in his lifetime for his engaging and colourful travel accounts, Le Vaillant is best known today for his spectacular books of ornithology, but his reputation has always been controversial. His travel books, written after his return to France, are considerably fictionalised, and his bird books include conspicuous falsehoods and fabrications, but recent research has begun to rehabilitate his reputation.

Here you will find out about his life, his travels and his contribution to ornithology. The image gallery contains a small selection of images from his published works and from some surviving collections of water-colour paintings produced by him or under his guidance.

In 1782 he travelled along the southern coast to the Great Fish river and back along the Swartberg.  In 1783 he went up the west coast to the Gariep river.  This was 30 years before Burchell did his trek. His accounts of these journeys came out in 1790 and 1795 (delay due to the slight inconvenience of the French Revolution taking place).

Quote
Le Vaillant's travel books mingle adventure, anecdote and natural history, all told with great vividness and style. Le Vaillant is the hero of every episode and portrays himself as a Rousseauist man of feeling, sharing his emotions and opinions about everything he encounters. From a literary point of view, his travels are of interest for the intermingling of factual narrative and fictionalized episodes, and for his contribution to the myth of the noble savage. Despite the imaginative elements, his books are a valuable source for descriptions of indigenous peoples and the Dutch Cape colony, and his social commentary shows an early critical awareness of colonial problems.
(From the same source)

His work was badly reviewed by historians, geographers and ornithologists because they were expecting perfect accuracy but they found exaggeration and fabrication mixed up with really good work.  Le Vaillant was writing for the general public as well as the specialists.  If you publish in South African Journal of Botany you had better be terse and accurate but if you want to describe the same plants in Wild Things aimed at the general public you had better write an entirely new article.  I dismissed him as a fool based on the professional opinion but since reading the introduction to the recent Van Riebeeck Society reprint of his first book I now understand what he was trying to do and how exceedingly well he did it.
 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2010, 11:19:02 am »
Graaff-Reinet Trip

Burchell waited seven months in Cape Town before starting his travels largly on the advice of the Klaarwater missionaries.  Then it was almost nine months before Burchell could get away from Klaarwater.  They arrived Sept 1811.  He had to go down to Graaff-Reinet five months later to recruit staff, that took three months. It was some weeks after his return when he could get away finally.  When they arrived in Klaarwater the relationship between Burchell and the missionaries started to deteriorate. What was this all about?  

Burchell says three men men would be enough as crew per wagon for local travel; 1 leader (person who walks at the front), 1 driver & 1 to look after the spare oxen (1:166).  He found soon after leaving Cape Town that his wagon was overloaded to such an extent that it required 14 oxen to draw it through loose sand instead of 10 (1:174) so he bought a second smaller reconditioned wagon in Tulbagh (1:184) which meant he needed double the staff and oxen. He travelled in convoy with two of the Klaarwater missionaries through the Karoo, Anderson & Kramer, who had been in Cape Town.  This was both for their party knowing the way across (and most importantly the watering places) and for mutual defence as it was San (Bushman) territory.  The San were in conflict with the trekboers both over occupation of the Karoo (particularly east of the Sak river) and for the wild game there.  This made the San hostile to anyone in their region.  Besides that there was a party of Xhosa who were in rebellion against their chiefs reportedly waiting to ambush them in the Kareeberg (1:185, 1:223, 1:227).  The missionaries’ party had extra Khoi & Griqua men who filled in for Burchell for the crossing but they would only be available as far as Klaarwater.  Burchell intended hiring people in Klaarwater for his onward travels.  When the whole party united (near Fraserburg) there were 97 people in 14 wagons (2 for Burchell, 4 for the missionaries & 8 for the Griquas returning to Klaarwater) (1:266).  At Celeryfontein they came across a party of five Xhosas (1:268) who ‘accosted us in an easy manly tone, and with manners perfectly free from servile timidity’ – they turned out to be the ones they had been warned against.  Burchell was always disinclined to believe the alarmist reports he was to get throughout his travels.

When they get to Klaarwater Burchell had only 3 men, Speelman & Philip from Cape Town & Gert from Groen Kloof (Mamre) (1:513).  He needed 6 more for his journey north.  His problems really arose due to an official party sent by the Governor in 1809 to go overland by an inland route to Mozambique had been killed after passing through Klaarwater where they had recruited two locals. (1:50, 1:232 1:498).  The missionaries did not want to lose any more of their flock or allow outsiders to influence them.

Burchell had quietly ascertained before they got to Klaarwater that his men were happy to go on a long trek with him as shown in this quote (1:330):

Quote
With respect to the long journey before us, none of the men were acquainted with my intentions; and I now thought it time to ascertain the degree of willingness with which they would enter into my plan. Without being directly informed of this, they were told that my object was to penetrate far into the interior of the country, and that we should, most probably, be a long time absent. To this none made the least objection; but, seemingly pleased at the idea of a rambling life, and in high spirits at finding themselves now in the midst of a kraal of people of their own nation, they declared that even a twelvemonth's journey would not exhaust either their patience or their strength. This declaration was most agreeable and satisfactory, as I had calculated that it would be possible to reach the Portuguese settlements on the western coast, in nearly that time.

I distributed amongst them various useful articles, and assured them that whatever could be supplied for their comfort should always be freely given, as long as our stores lasted; and that they would never be put forward into hardships which I would not myself participate in. I thought it proper, while we were on such good terms with each other, to state, without reserve, that, although they might confidently depend on my never feeling dissatisfied with any of them, so long as he conducted himself to the best of his ability and judgement; yet, as it was indispensably necessary for the general safety, that each one should zealously do that part of the duty which had been allotted to him, that they might feel equally certain that I should not overlook any wilful neglect.

This mutual declaration created a perfect confidence on both sides; and there appeared to be established betwixt us, a correct understanding, and cordial good-will. To confirm and strengthen this, I permitted them, without restraint, to visit their new friends at the kraal during our stay.

I made that a long quote so that it is complete. Note that they were quite happy to accompany him wherever he was going even if it took a year (although he did not reveal that he intended going to what is now Angola).  He sums up the standing between himself & them in the last paragraph.  Now read what happened once they were in Klaarwater.

Burchell had the necessary men enlisted before they arrived in Klaarwater but they seemed to change their minds once there. The missionaries had actively (but clandestinely) prevented any of the locals from enlisting to accompany Burchell further (1:517  1:526).  He was thus stuck in Klaarwater unless he could make alternative arrangements.  Burchell arranged for Gert to go to the Roggeveld with a party about to leave then go by himself to Cape Town and recruit the necessary men & return to the Roggeveld for the return with the same party.  Anderson foiled this by lying to Burchell (1:527) saying they were only due to leave in another three weeks time (which would have not left enough time for Gert to get men in Cape Town & meet up for the return journey).  Burchell found out he had been lied to later and was still so disgusted by the missionarie’s duplicity when he wrote the book that he could only record these events in a particularly dry and brief passage (1:528).

Burchell then came up with the idea of going himself to Graaff-Reinet to recruit staff.  Graaff-Reinet is much closer than Cape Town but no one had ever travelled there from Klaarwater.  He went to Anderson to tell him of his intention and ask for assistance in recruiting men for this journey.  Once more Anderson was duplicitous (1:531, 1:533 1:551) so that Burchell was forced to clandestinely go back to the next village, Kloof, where he managed to get a few helpers (1:542).  He had difficulty because most of the available men had left on the Cape Town trip on schedule (which Anderson had lied about; so Gert could have gone & succeeded in the recruiting mission). However he did manage to get some men and returning to Klaarwater the missionaries did all they could to prevent him going (1:551).

Quote
The missionaries remained mere lookers-on to my preparations, but not silent ones.  They ceased not till the last moment to discourage me from the attempt, and Mr. Anderson seriously asked me to give him a written paper, in which it should be stated that they had used their utmost endeavours to dissuade me from so perilous an undertaking; so that in case of fatal termination, they might stand cleared from the imputation of having contributed to it by any encouragement or advice of theirs.

Burchell’s party of eight (2:139) went by riding oxen & taking pack oxen for their luggage though Burchell himself rode a horse.


This was a much quicker than going by wagon; he expected to travel 48km per day so it should take him 11 or 12 days each way (1:532).  In fact the trip took three months.  In Graaff-Reinet Burchell had an official letter from the Governor instructing the landdrost to assist him.  The landdrost had recently died and the acting landdrost wanted specific instructions from his distant superiors before he would help Burchell in any way.  Later the landdrost arranged for five Hottentots to work for him (2:154).  Burchell soon found out that the landdrost had given him the worst of the tronk Hottentors (2:158).  Burchell found out about five other tronk Hottentots who were suitable.  The landdrost prevaricated about allowing Burchell to have the ones he wanted (2:160).  In the end Burchell got one of his selection plus three of the landdrost’s  & later he picked up another one (2:166).  Eventually the one Burchell selected turns out to be a star & the others awful.

Burchell was the first colonist to travel from Klaarwater to Graaff-Reinet.  He had a compass so knew the direction to travel though they followed the Brak river. On this map the middle track is this trip, later on he went to Graaff-Reinet by wagon following the eastern tack.  You can also see the Hippo Hunt track.  The track to the north is the next posts about Litakun & what I call the Giraffe Trip.


On my bike trip I did not do this leg though I went to Graaff-Reinet when following the later part of Burchell’s travels.  They crossed the Gariep at a different place which I went looking for later as well as where they crossed the Sneeuberg.  Burchell shot two rhinos along the way. He presented the British Museum with seven rhino skins on his return *source* which included the white rhino he shot near Kuruman which was the first white rhino identified .

Quote
Just eighty years after having been "discovered" (near present-day Kuruman) and named by William Burchell in 1817, the white rhino had been hunted so excessively in South Africa and beyond, that just 30 individuals remained in a small corner of Zululand. After the establishment of the Umfolozi Game Reserve in 1897, however, its numbers slowly increased so that by the 1960s, surplus animals were translocated to other reserves so as to ensure the conservation of the species. The Natal Parks Board can rightly claim to have saved this great creature from extinction. Since 1960, over 3 000 white rhino have been released from Umfolozi-Hluhluwe into reserves such as Mkuze, Kruger, Pilanesberg, Phinda Private Game Reserve, Waterberg and Madikwe Safari Lodge. Many of these have subsequently sold rhino offspring to smaller sanctuaries.
*Source*



Daniell picture.


There is one quotation that I must include.  Burchell went in a horse drawn wagon after leaving Graaff-Reinet.  His observation (2:171).

Quote
Our road presented nothing remarkable; or rather, perhaps, the rapid travelling of a vehicle drawn by six horses in hand, left little time for making remarks of any kind. We flew past every object, and, hardly had I turned my eyes to any thing remarkable by the roadside, than it was already behind us. Such expedition was, indeed, a novelty to me, and very different from the rate to which I had been accustomed during the last ten months; but, as a traveller desirous of observing, the features and productions of a strange country, I abhorred galloping horses, and would have preferred sitting behind a team of my own oxen, whose steady pace seemed to have been measured exactly to suit an observer and admirer of nature.

I have a 650 Dakar but prefer the 200 TW for much the same reason (amongst others).

Burchell’s difficulty in finding workers was no different to what any other employer experienced.  There was a shortage of available khoi labourers.  The Xhosa had not been subjugated and it was not possible to make a San labour.  As a consequence the Cape had to continually import slaves from Africa & India and the East Indies to meet its need for labour.  It also resulted in much resentment of the activities of missionaries as they provided shelter to khoi so they were not available as labour.

This is Speelman, the reliable man from Cape Town.  He was ex army and became the hunter who supplied the food once they left Klaarwater (2:238).


This is Juli the star from Graaf-Reinet


EDIT November 2014.  I came across this site where there is a report of retracing Burchell's route from Hraaff-Reinet to the Gariep on bicycle. http://www.mediaclubsouthafrica.com/visitsa/3355-following-in-burchell-s-tracks
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 02:51:33 pm by tok-tokkie »
 

Offline Abel

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2010, 01:21:03 pm »
Thankyou for sharing this trip and info am fascinated by the history and knowledge that go into this.
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Offline Pickle

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2010, 03:54:37 pm »
+1 Abel.

A lot of research and clearley a passion.  I would truly love an opportunity to do a trip of this sort with an enthusiastic historian educating us along the way.
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Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2010, 04:12:16 pm »
I am pleased some of you are enjoying it.  I was concerned that it would not be really appropriate in Ride Reports so asked the Moderator if it would be OK to post it here. I knew nothing about him really, I got his book & read it then rode as close as practicable to where he went.
 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2010, 09:57:20 pm »
Yes TT , Finally got around to reading your report.
I wish I had the time on my hands to do the interesting rides you do.
And the history , architecture,and geography , I find fascinating.

Thanks for an enjoyable report , AGAIN.
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Offline Tonteldoos

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2010, 08:31:30 am »
This was now verrry Nice  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Not only was it a nice read but informative and a cultural and all combined into one.

One thing that struck me was that we passed Griekwastad en-route to the bash.. and none of us (me think) stopped for the scenery only for Petrol..

This made me think whenever I go riding again I should make a point of reading up on all the dorpies.
Karelsgraf is a pristine example.

Thanx for sharing!!
« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 08:32:03 am by Tonteldoos »
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Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #36 on: June 13, 2010, 10:50:37 am »

Litakun

Anderson had predicted that Burchell and his party would be killed on the journey to Graaff-Reinet but instead of rejoicing at their safe return they ignored them as far as possible (2:223).  Burchell got out of there as fast as possible which was two weeks after getting back from Graaff-Reinet.  I didn’t care for the place either(2:238) so pressed on to Kuruman after doing the Hippo Hunt circuit. I followed minor gravel roads staying as close to Burchell’s route as possible up to Kuruman.


Parts of it were lovely.  Those are the Kuruman Hills.


On the other side of the hills on the right of this picture is Lohatla & Sishen.  The road changed to this lovely red colour due to the iron oxide (it had been even darker earlier).


Camped in the municipal campsite.  Next day I went & had a look at the famous eye.  Municipal strikes everywhere so I was fortunate that there was anyone to let me in.


There is a little waterfall seemingly keeping the eye full.  In fact it is deception; here is the plastic pipe feeding the waterfall.  I know from visiting many years ago that the actual spring is at the bottom of the pond & you could see the water bubbling up when I was there before.




There were many fish in the Eye at Kuruman including barbell.  This is Burchell’s drawing of a barbell.

 

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #37 on: June 13, 2010, 10:51:34 am »
A little outside town is the Moffat Church complex.  The church.


The Moffat’s house.  The  Moffat Mission fell into ruin during Apartheid.  The Bantu Education Act & the Group Area Act resulted in schooling and worship ending there.  The teachers & pupils left as did the congregation so the buildings fell into ruin. They have since been restored.


I am not certain what this is but I particularly like it (probably the old school building).  Local stone used very neatly & nice proportions.


The Moffat church is 5km from the eye in Kuruman.  The water flows past in this stream which slowly peters out – Burchell mentions it.

 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #38 on: June 13, 2010, 10:53:49 am »
I headed north east to Dithakong. On map #2722 it is marked as being quite extensive & it is but it is just a scattering of huts and RDP style buildings.  When Burchell came here in 1812 it was the capital for the local tribe of Setswana named Bachapin by the colonists.  The countryside has now changed with bigger and more established trees than there were up to Griekwastad.


Picture right in the center of the marked settlement.  See what I mean about not being tightly developed?


Burchell wanted to spend time in Litakun to get to know the people and their customs.  He spent just less than one month there.

These are pictures of Latakun (Dithakong) from Burchell. Notice that each house is inside a lapa of woven branches.


This second one is a three page fold out picture.  You can see the detail and care that Burchell took with his pictures.  When Burchell arrived they were expected and welcomed (2:359).  He stayed, as intended, three weeks so that he could ‘learn the character and customs of the people’ (2:353).  Most of his staff were extremely nervous the entire time there (2:353) – remember they were the social dregs from Graaff-Reinet.  Burchell describes Litakun as a collection of little villages each centered on a chieftain (2:513) comprising about 5 000 people (2:514) spread over 2.5 km N-S x 3.2 km E-W (2:515).


Samuel Daniell had been to Litakun in 1801 (Burchell there in 1812) in the first party of Europeans to visit it, a party of 40 people coming to trade for cattle led by Dr. Sommerville & Mr. Truter.

Quote
Samuel Daniell (1775–1811) was a British artist on the P.J. Truter and William Somerville expedition of 1801-02 into the southern African interior.

Daniell arrived in the Cape on 9 December 1799. He was appointed by Lieut.-General Dundas, who became his patron and to whom the first volume of his book, African Scenery, was dedicated.

On this expedition, Daniell sketched the people and natural history that he found around the Orange (Gariep) River in what is now the Northern Cape.

On his return to England, with the assistance of his brother William and uncle Thomas Daniell, he used these sketches to produce thirty watercolours for his magnificent folio, African Scenery and Animals - one of the great plate books of the 19th century.
*Source*

We have a copy of the Daniell book  and it was this one in particular that I wanted to try and find.  The commentary for the reprint of the Daniell book says that Litakun was in five different places – 1 minor and 3 major moves.  One of the minor moves took place between Daniell’s picture and Burchell’s picture. See Burchell V2P512 also for info about the town moves.


This is the picture in the town where the road crosses the Moshowing river.  Looking upstream:

 
Looking downstream.


This is obviously not what Daniell was looking at.  It could easily be in the Burchell pictures though.  As I was taking the pictures a friendly man stopped and asked why I was taking pictures.  I showed him the Daniell picture & said I was trying to find that place.  Emanuel (his name) did not recognise the places but was very interested in knowing that Dithakong had been written about.  I promised to send him a photostat of the relevant parts of the Burchell book & I had decent prints of the colour pictures made – the long fold out one on A3 paper. Emanuel.

« Last Edit: June 13, 2010, 11:07:59 am by tok-tokkie »
 

Offline tok-tokkie

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Re: Burchell's Travels by Bike; 2010
« Reply #39 on: June 13, 2010, 10:55:09 am »
Since the Daniell site is somewhere nearby I went downstream as that looked most promosing.
This?  Right shape but not nearly high enough.


Bigger view from the other side a little further downstream @ S27° 3’ 33.5”  E23° 54’ 6,5”.


Same place looking upstream.


I then went looking upstream.  The whole settlement is spread out; this is the sort of twee spoor I was riding on to get to the likely Daniell picture spots.


Start of the upstream sites.  There were seven pictures of the upstream sites but I have cut it down to three. This is a bit stony for the Daniell picture.  In the commentary to the picture they state that the river only runs for three months in the year.  Daniell was clearly there when the river was at its prime.


Further upstream.


I think this spot is the closest.


Stitched pictures for a wide angle view @ S27° 6’  42.8”  E23° 55’ 10.9”