SNIPPETS

Lady Grey

FARM NAMES

Many of the farms in South Africa were surveyed and named by the brothers Joseph M Orpen and Francis HS Orpen.† Most of the farms in the New England area were surveyed by Joseph while the farms close to Bloemfontein were surveyed by Francis.† This explains why there is a Tempe in Bloemfontein and another Tempe in New England.† Helvellyn was named after the third highest peak in the Lake District, England.† Tempe, Olympus, Ossa and Pelion are named after a valley and mountains in the region of Thessaly, Greece.

 

LAMMERGEIER PRIVATE NATURE RESERVE

The farm Ossa is the heart of the Lammergeier Private Nature Reserve.† It is famous for fly fishing in the pristine Karnmelkspruit as well as off-road and nature trails.† www.adventuretrails.co.za

 

LADY GREY DAM

The dam is approximately 1 km from any of the turn-offs.† The 25-metre high concrete arch dam was built by Mr. Stromsoe and completed in 1925.† Locals also call it ďGroot DamĒ (Big Dam).† The name ďKloppers DraaiĒ engraved on the large rock in the middle of the parking area honours Hendrik Klopper, the man in charge of building the road to the dam and also in charge of the labourers building the dam. There is also a picnic and braai area and the dam wall is straight ahead. During the rainy season you may be treated to a magnificent view of a veil of water cascading over the edge of the wall. To the right of the Kloppers Draai rock, next to the structure that once was a lapa, is a natural staircase winding to the top of the dam wall.† Follow it, stop halfway up, and enjoy a distant view of Lady Grey.

If you can cross the stream to the left of the Kloppers Draai rock, you will find a copper pipe protruding from a rock.† Ice cold, crystal, clear, spring water pours from it into a weir.† Bring your favourite Whisky along for a drink and fill up your water bottles.† According to an old legend you will return to this place if you drink the water.† Another legend has it that your eyesight will improve if you rinse your eyes with the water.† Note the stones at the bottom of the weir.† Another legend tells of Klopper who used to heat the stones in a fire and then put them into the weir and have a warm bath.

Note:† Klopper was a giant of a man and photos confirm it.† He always carried a whip. The only type of horse, strong enough to carry him, was a Clydesdale horse.† His horse was called Black.† (Mr. DR† Naude)

 

WITFONTEIN DAM

During extreme ďdryĒ years it is sometimes a challenge to find enough water for the community.† In addition to rain, this earth-fill dam, built by recommendation of Mr. David Naude, is fed by a spring. In turn, the Witfontein dam supplies additional water to the Lady Grey dam.

 

VERKYKERRAND

This magnificent vantage point over Lady Grey is a ďmustĒ for any photographer.† Turn off to Witfontein dam and continue on the rough service/farm road until you get to a locked gate.† This area is private property so please respect the privilege. Unlock the gate, drive through and lock the gate behind you. Drive to a point where you are right above Lady Grey, just before you go around the far end of the mountain, and you will be at Verkykerrand. Here you will get the best views of Lady Grey, with the church at its heart, the avenues of trees and the houses clustered around it, the mountains forming a backdrop on the opposite side and the tarred road snaking across the plain towards Aliwal North. Enjoy the view and lock the gate behind you when you return.

 

COMMUNICATIONS TOWER

The turn-off to the Communications Tower is at the summit of Joubertís Pass (Hemel op Aarde) and lies beyond a heavily padlocked gate.† Consider yourself privileged if you have permission to enter and make sure you lock the gates behind you and leave nothing more than your footprints.††

This road is not for the feint-hearted and has been described as a ďlivid scar all the way to the topĒ and a ďPass without pityĒ by Chris Marais from Drive Out magazine.†† The first section of the road is very steep and can be seen beyond the gate.† The second section is much less terrifying but the last section leading up to the tower is even steeper than the first.† However, donít despair, you can park and walk/climb the last approximately 200m if you prefer.

When standing below the tower on the summit of the highest peak in the Lady Grey area, one is reminded of the temptation of Jesus where the devil takes Him to a high mountain where all the kingdoms of the world can be seen.† The 360į view is magnificent and includes majestic mountains, river gorges and on a clear day you can see the mountains of Lesotho.

Note: Joubertís Pass and all turn-offs are done at your own risk.

 

LAMMERGEIER/BEARDED VULTURE CONSERVANCY AREA

Joubertís Pass forms part of the Lammergeier/Bearded Vulture Conservancy Area and as such is a very important route in a unique Southern Drakensberg habitat.† Here you can spot the rare Bearded Vulture.† The equally rare Bald Ibis is also sometimes spotted and mostly in the vicinity of the Lady Grey Dam.† These birds breed on ledges and cliffs of the surrounding mountains.

 

INTERESTING SIGNAGE

 

As the pass came into use, regular travellers started naming different spots on the pass.† Many of the names are self explanatory.† Others have interesting stories attached.†

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††

Ian se Afgrond - This is where Ian and his friends had an accident when coming down the pass in his motherís new Audi when the vehicle went right down the slope.† It is said that his cousin drove the vehicle and, despite a game of driving down the pass using gears only and no brakes, all survived with a few scratches and ashen faces.(Mr. PW van Zyl)

 

Kar Wegspoeldrif Ė The English families always went to Lady Grey on Wednesdays and Saturdays to play Tennis and Golf.† On such a Saturday in 1955, a heavy storm broke out.† Tom and Marian Isted left their baby son, Gavin, on the farm with his nanny and were on their way back to their farm Olympus when the vehicle stalled in the drift at Unity.† It was already dark but the area was lit by frequent flashes of lightning. Tom saw a curtain of water coming down.† He told Marian to get out but she could not open the door.† He leaned over her, pushed the door open and got her out.† The vehicle started to turn in the stream but they managed to hold on to the side of the vehicle and the bumper and they waded out of the stream. They were hardly out when a wall of water came down and took the vehicle.† The two of them walked home in the dark and pouring rain while continuous lightning flashes lit the road.† When they got home they immediately phoned their neighbours, Lena and David Naude from Helvellyn, told them what happened and asked them to stop and warn Keith Hockley and his wife who were still on their way from town to their farm, Five Oaks.† David managed to stop the Hockleys and they stayed over and went home the next day when the water subsided. The engine of the vehicle was found a distance downstream and bits and pieces of the vehicle washed up further down. (Mrs. MM Naude)

 

 

 

Mountain View Country Inn

 

36 Botha Street / PO Box 14

Lady Grey

9755

 

Phone: 051-603-0421

Fax: 051-603-0114

 

Email: mountainview@ladygrey.co.za

Official website of - Mountain View Country Inn - Lady Grey

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One of the highest mountain passes in

South-Africa

 

 

 

 

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