Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: A visit to Graaff-Reneit #CamdebooNationalPark #wagonwheeltown #DutchreformedChurch

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

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During our January road trip we visited the town of Graaff-Reneit in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa for 24 hours.

Graaff-Reneit is the fifth oldest town in South Africa and was the starting point for two of the groups which participated in the mass migration of the Afrikaner people into the interior of South Africa to escape British rule in 1836, know as the Great Trek. These two parties were led by Gerrit Maritz and Piet Retief, both well-known Great Trek leaders. Piet Retief and a delegation of trekkers were massacred by the Zulu King, Dingaan, during a negotiation meeting. The Zulus went on to exterminate several Voortrekker camps in the area. These circumstances led to the famous Battle of Blood River on 16 December 1838 when 464 Voortrekkers successfully defended their camp against an estimated 10,000 Zulu warriors. You can read more about it here:

The song, The Warrior, included in the musical Ipi Tombi memorializes this famous battle. You can listen to it here:

The Town of Graaff-Reneit is shaped like a wagon wheel and you can see it clearly from viewing points in the Camdeboo National Park which also features the famous Valley of Desolation.

Gate to the Camdeboo National Park

Are you ready for the Valley of Desolation?

Viewing point for The Valley of Desolation
The town of Graaff-Reneit shaped like a wagon wheel

65 thoughts on “Roberta Writes – Thursday Doors: A visit to Graaff-Reneit #CamdebooNationalPark #wagonwheeltown #DutchreformedChurch

  1. Robbie – stunning photos and brilliant videos – especially of your family walking the long trail.. I could feel the fresh air and the sunshine. Thank you for the introduction to the song, The Warrior and musical Ipi Tombi. I continue to learn…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Craig, the Battle of Rorke’s Drift which features in that movie (and is not 100% accurate with its details) was between the British and the Zulus and took place in 1879. There was an initial battle at a place called Isandlwana on the same day where the British troops were defeated and largely massacred by the Zulus (1,300 troops out of 1,800 died). A small body of the Zulus then went on to Rorke’s Drift which was essentially a hospital with a small garrison of 150 men. The British held of about 5,000 Zulu warriors and won the day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Movies are never 100% accurate. Still an amazing story. I was surprised to learn there were two bull terriers at that fight, and they participated. As a former owner of a couple of them I thought it was cool.


          1. I still have Ghost & Gold on my kindle. Need to get to it. I love colonial Africa tales. I kind of want to write one myself. Even did a bunch of research at one time.


  2. I love the photos of that church, Robbie. The history of this region is so brutal and so sad, it’s hard to read, but it’s worth reading and understanding. Your videos are wonderful. That must have been a great experience hiking along there. The view is magnificent.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I have lofty plans to write a series hat will cover the 1820 settlers to SA, the Great Trek and its history and also go through the Anglo Zulu war and the First Anglo Boer War. It will include the family of the boy, Richard, who features in my book, A Ghost and His Gold.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I love how you and your family explore so many unique and fascinating places. A town built in the shape of a wagon wheel is definitely something different. I love the old church. Such beautiful architecture! Thanks for sharing, Robbie!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What a wonderful landscape! One cannot deny the influence of the colonialists. Nevertheless, one can be glad that the indigen people were not forced to grow tulips as well. Thanks for sharing these wonderful impressions, Robbie! xx Michael


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