What’s a Hartebeest?

I’ve always been a bit confused about the hartebeest and the tsessebe, which I thought must be closely related. This weekend we saw a nice herd of hartebeest on the slopes of Platberg in the pine forest, so I thought I must look into this. And its quite complicated! As always with classification you getContinue reading “What’s a Hartebeest?”

Another Successful Campaign

A well-drilled, orderly troop of Queen and Empire Poms marched up Platberg. And when they were up they were up. They reconnoitered the surrounding area looking for Boer commandos, ready to report any sightings to some grand old Duke, or Lord, or someone. Ridiculously dressed in anti-camouflage they stuck out like sore thumbs, but atContinue reading “Another Successful Campaign”

Platberg Pilgrimage

Harrismith had the biggest influx of people in its history recently. Well, that would be my guess. I don’t think even the Rhino Rally ever brought in THIS amount of people! I mean those rowwe hard-drinking okes fit a maximum of two people on their vehicles . . . . . whereas I would guessContinue reading “Platberg Pilgrimage”

Our Mountain Burns

Once again Platberg is burning. Old school friends Noeline Bester and Annatjie Labuschagne sent these images. Sure hope the Grey Rhebok and Mountain Reedbuck and Chacma Baboons that Koos Beukes and Pierre du Plessis tell me are still there, are OK.

Leon Fluffy Crawley

Talking about the magic photo of the Soap Box Derby on 42nd Hill with Fluffy’s Dad Charlie in it, we got into an extended email conversation: Fluff: Amazing the dress code!!! Me: Yes, from kaalvoet kid to full jacket & tie. And three ‘hoeds’. And a cop. Even the most casual of the ‘racing drivers’Continue reading “Leon Fluffy Crawley”

Save Precarious Platberg!

Platberg, overlooking the town of Harrismith in the Free State, is an inselberg that presents a refuge for indigenous plants and animals. And its status is precarious. ‘Little is known about the different taxa of Platberg and hence a detailed floristic and ecological survey was undertaken in 2009 by UNISA’s Robert F. Brand, Leslie R.Continue reading “Save Precarious Platberg!”

Early Daze

My first recollections are of life on the plot outside Harrismith, playing with Enoch and Casaia, childhood companions, kids of Lena Mazibuko, who looked after us as Mom and Dad worked in town. The plot was was called Birdhaven – Dad kept big aviaries – and was in the shadow of Platberg. I remember LenaContinue reading “Early Daze”

Platberg’s Flat Rock Pass

The eastern-most pass up Harrismith’s Platberg is the fabled Donkey Pass. We called it Flat Rock Pass. Mountain Passes South Africa says it’s the sixth highest above sea level, and the second steepest pass in South Africa. The road traverses a nature reserve and you need a permit to drive up. The steep parts – with sectionsContinue reading “Platberg’s Flat Rock Pass”

Cosmos Niks

Mom Mary in the cosmos outside Witsieshoek back ca. 1970: Sheila years later at the foot of the eastern tip of Platberg – some call it Bobbejaankop: Sheila sent a 2018 pic of Brenda Sharratt in the cosmos behind Platberg: Apparently cosmos got here in horsefeed imported from Argentina during the Boer War for theContinue reading “Cosmos Niks”

Good Lord, Deliver us!

I needed to take a hike, I really did. But to do it I needed a henchman. You can hike alone, but I’d really rather not, so I persuaded Stefaans Reed, The Big Weed, resident son of hizzonner the Worshipful Lord Mayor of Nêrens (aka Clarens) and fellow optometry student in Jo’burg to accompany me.Continue reading “Good Lord, Deliver us!”