Saturday, September 5, 2015

Upington...not quite the town that time forgot.


Time to head off to a destination that I have never been to before,
Upington in the Northern Cape.


The Orange River is the life blood of the area.


Coming in to land.
I had no idea that this was such a thriving town!
Founded in 1884, the town was originally called Olyfenhoudtsdrif,
(Olive wood Drift) due to the number of trees.
It was later renamed after Sir Thomas Upington,
the Attorney-General and then Prime Minister of the cape.


Why is Upington and Interenational Airport?
Beacuse of the new sustainable energy projects in the area,
cargo is flown in on a regular basis.
There are scheduled flights from both Cape Town and Johannesburg.
An interesting fact...
At almost 5km long one of the runways is the longest in Africa and
is famous being selected as an emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle!


 This mission station was established in 1875 and run by Reverend Christiaan Schröder. 
It is now home of the Kalahari Orange Museum.
In the grounds is a statue of a Donkey by Hennie Potgieter.
Called " Arbeidsaamheid", the statue honours the contribution 
that this animal made here during the early days of the 19th century 


The film crew...hard at work.
The police in Upington were extremely helpful when we inquired
about directions to this statue.
The police officer started to give us directions,
and then said
"Follow me"...and he took us all the way to the museum.
The same thing happened when we were trying to get out of town.
Again we approached a local for directions...
and again we were told " Follow me"
and we were taken all the way to the outskirts of the town
and waved off  with a smile.
It is because of these sort of interactions that I enjoy
"small town" South Africa.


Part of an old wagon that stands outside the museum


Inside is this organ that came from Chicago, USA.


This small building can be found within the grounds of the museum


Can anyone tell me what this might be?
I discovered it amongst some farm implements.
I have had a variety of answers from readers as to what this might be.
This detailed comment from Colin Dovey could be the definitive answer:
" I remember seeing one of those at a Petrol station, as a boy in Pretora circa 1944, and Pegasus was a the name of the brand of petrol they were selling. That trolley carried 2 large portable fire extinguishers, which were kept close to the cars being supplied with fuel from the pump.Since ancient times, Pegasus has been a symbol of power and speed as well as imagination. Greek mythology tells of how the winged horse was named by Athena, the goddess of wisdom, who gave him to the Muses - the goddesses who are associated with all the arts and graces of civilization.
Although the flying horse symbol was first used by Mobil in Africa in 1911, the red Pegasus trademark was not used in the UK until 1947. Prior to that the 'Gargoyle' was the official trademark of the Vacuum Oil Company.
At first, the flying red horse was only used for automotive products but it soon became the company's main symbol. When Mobil petrol was first introduced in the UK, it was advertised as “the spirit of flying horsepower” and Pegasus was part of service station design and signing from the very beginning.
The story of Pegasus reflects the story of Mobil. The flying red horse appears on Mobil packaging around the world, symbolising the power and speed made possible through the use of Mobil products. Pegasus' association with the Muses likewise emphasizes the creative innovation for which Mobil has been known for more than a century".



An old boiler?


This is the Aloe Dichotoma. Tree number SA29. 
Normally 3 to 5 metres in height but can reach 7 metres. 
Found in dry desert and semi-desert regions of Northern Cape and Southern Namibia. 
Also known as a Quiver tree(Kokerboom). 
San people fashioned their quivers from the soft branches. 
Flowers are favoured by birds and baboons. 
Cannot grow outside the above region. 
(Ref. KCPalgrave Trees of Southern Africa. Struick1977). 


Who would have believed that wine could be grown in this semi-arid region.
But they do...The Orange River Cellars are based along the banks of the Orange River.
Wines from this area are exported to both Europe and the USA.


YEA RIGHT...


You DO NOT mess around with the farmers in this area.
They can turn a 1300cc bakkie into one of these in a flash.


One of the locals that we stopped and chatted to
on the side of the road.
Despite the fact that he was in a wheelchair,
he was positive and cheerful.


This stretch of road has more beer bottles I have ever seen before.
Not a km went by without finding evidence of what looked like
roadside parties!


A new addition to my luggage arsenal.
Thank you to Samsonite.


The final destination of our trip...Pofadder.
We were here to find out more about Kaxu Solar One,
and the influence it had had on both the town and the community.
The Northern Cape has been identified as the region with
and exceptionally high solar irradiance.
This area is part of the Integrated Resource Plan.


This part of the Northern Cape is well known for vast fields of flowers at this time of year.
Unfortunately, not on this trip.



A big "thank you" to the staff in Upington for their
efficient and friendly service
Europcar, the official car rental supplier
to "Travel & Things"
www.europcar.co.za
https://www.facebook.com/EuropcarSA


         

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