Our Story Route
Our Story Route Information
The stories of the past have been part of Karoo life for thousands of years; from the time of the Bushman hunter-gatherers and the Khoikhoi herders, to the wandering pastoralists of Dutch, German and Huguenot descent and the English settlers who arrived on these parched plains during the 18th and 19th century.
These stories and legends were handed down from generation to generation, told under the clear Karoo night skies around the fire and this tradition continues unbroken. So if you want to hear them; take a dram of the locally distilled Withond and sometimes a pinch of salt and stand closer to the fire…
You may hear of the legendary Chief Hykon; Koebaha or Lord of the Inqua Tribe; rich in cattle and men. Or maybe Koeriekei; the Bushman leader who rebelled against the Dutch farmers and famously shouted from a cliff-top to his pursuers: "You have taken all the places where the Eland lived. Why do you not go back to where you came from, there where the sun sets?"
You may hear of Coenraad de Buys who rebelled against both the Dutch and the English. He stood nearly 7 ft tall and is reputed to have been the first white man across the Vaal River. He was a hunter, an outlaw with a price on his head, a cattle raider, an instigator of wars and also a warrior in the service of African allies and the lover of two African queens.
You may hear of the eccentric French naturalist and explorer Francois de Vaillant who roamed these parts in the 1780’s with a Chacma baboon called Kees that was his faithful travelling companion, guard, food taster and court jester. He became infatuated with a young Gonaqua woman called Narina and named in her honour the rare and beautiful bird known as the Narina Trogon.
He was also witness to the spectacular Springbok migrations across the Great Karoo. These so-called Trekbokke are said to have taken three days to pass by and to have drawn “princes and paupers to witness and hunt the great herds that would arise out of the dust trampling all before them, before melting away with the onset of summer rains…”
If the dram of Withond and the fire-side chats of the past have whet your appetite then be sure to read Karoo by Lawrence G. Green, Plains of Camdeboo by Eve Palmer and Karoo Keepsakes I & II by Chris Marais and Julienne du Toit.
And for one of Graaff-Reinet’s authentic “stoepstories” or a bit of local gossip then look up that storyteller around the corner and take up that offer of tea and koek…and remember just don’t tell anyone I told you!
For Guided Tours in and around Graaff-Reinet contact:
Camdeboo Adventures www.karoopark.co.za
Jacobs Donkey Cart rides
For further information visit Nieu-Bethesda Tourism web site https://www.nieu-bethesda.org
History of the Cemetries
For further information visit the Aberdeen Tourism web site https://www.aberdeencape.org
Our Story Route Map
Our Story Route Points of Interest