South Africa :: Western Cape (Klein Karoo)
:: Die Hel
Category: Land Mark :: Land Mark
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Deneys Reitz, son of President Reitz of the Free State, was part of General Jan Smuts' invading force to the Cape Colony. During a skirmish with the British he became separated from the rest of the force. In his search for his commando he came upon seven other members of Smuts' force who also got lost. In order to join up with Smuts again they needed to cross the Swartberg Mountains from the north to the south. Bypassing Meiringspoort, due to the presence of a British garrison Reitz and his comrades rode into Klaarstroom only to have to ride out hastily again after spotting some British soldiers. In the end the eight men crossed the rugged mountains either from the farm Vrolikheid or Oorlogskloof and after spending two nights on the mountain they reached Vlakteplaas on the other side. Here they learned that Smuts had already passed through what was known as the Olifants River Valley. They moved westward, but since British forces had moved in between them and Smuts' commando they had to cross the Swartberg Mountains again in the vicinity of Seweweekspoort. While crossing the mountains they stumbled into Gamkaskloof where they met Koot Cordier and his family on the farm Kleinberg. They were received hospitably and enjoyed the goats meat, milk and mead (honey bear) set before them. The men spent a day and a night with the Cordier family before moving on. Cordier and some of his sons acted as guides and led them up a steep trail, called 'Die Leer' and then along the top of the mountain probably to Bosluiskloof from where they descended to the Dwyka River. Moving northwards they finally caught up with Smuts' commando between Ceres and Sutherland. Source: Marincowitz, Helena (1999): Prince Albert and the Anglo Boer War (1899-1902), Prince Albert, Fransie Pienaar Museum, pp.19-22 Die Leer remains formidable and leads to Seweweekspoort. After 12 km it joins the Bosluiskloof road.
|Address :||Die Hel, Scenic Cape Route 62, South Africa|
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