02 October 2007

K for Karoo and Karmann Ghia

Karoo and Karmann Ghia might seem like an unlikely mix, but I am working on the assumption that some people like scenery and others like machines. But on the other hand some of us like me, love both.

The name Karoo comes from the Khoisan (Bushman) word meaning 'land of thirst' as the area is devoid of surface water, except when it rains. Temperatures range from way above 40 degrees Celsius to as low as -16 degrees Celsius (3.2F) at Sutherland

When it rains the coutry comes to life for a short spell. This scene was taken on the road between Matjiesfontein and Sutherland in the Northern Cape.

The Karoo is so big and there is just so much to see that I had great difficulty in choosing pictures, so for this post I have mostly chosen pictures that show the desolation and aridness of the place.

Looking back to the mountains of the Western Cape, this is a typical Karoo scene near Prince Alfred

It is situated on a plateau covering an area of about 400,000 square kilometres (slightly bigger than Germany), in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa. Elevation ranges from 400m to 2,000m above sea level, with the greater part being at the 1,200m level.
The Karoo is dotted with koppies (hillocks) like this one. The country side is dotted with Karoo Bush.

The Karoo vegetation consists of assorted succulents and low scrub bushes spaced from one foot to several feet apart.

The Noors plant - a succulent with a milky sap taken near Jansenville, Eastern Cape.
At one time the Karoo was a massive lowland swamp with an abundance of wildlife. This is why the Karoo is rich in fossils, which provide an interesting record of prehistoric creatures from this part of the world.

Desolation of the Karoo between Steytlerville and Jansenville
The first inhabitants of this area were the hunter gatherer Khoisan. These days much of the region is devoted to sheep farming and eco tourism. There are some fantastic places to see, which will be featured in blogs to come.
Abandoned farm buildings near Prince Albert.

And now it's the turn of the........

The Karmann Ghia is an all time classic, built by Volkswagen from 1955–1974.

But let's foget the specs and enjoy the ride.

My love for the Karmann Ghia started with this one, named Olga. She belonged to my father in law and was his absolute pride and joy. When Sue and I got married he allowed us to use it as our going away car. This was the greatest privelege he could have bestowed on anyone - he is a car fanatic and did not allow anyone to drive his cars. He must have died a thousand deaths before it was returned.

This fine speciman can be seen at the Volswagen Auto Pavillion in Uitenhage, along with a stable of VW classics

Keeping the Karmann Ghia tradition alive in the family. This one belongs to my son, who from an early age decided he wanted one. Note "wanted" not "needed". .

She needs a lot of restoration, but I am sure that she will soon be strutting her stuff through the streets of Port Elizabeth


mrsnesbitt said...

Wow! What a post! I amspeechless, and my hubby will vouch for the fact that is unheard of!

Please e-mail me your e-mail...



Anonymous said...

Greetings from Kentucky!! My husband just purchased a 1970 Karmann Ghia (Albert Blue). Any idea how the color came to be named Albert? By the way, LOVE your web-site!!

Warmest Regards--Amy Paraniuk

dot said...

Very interesting post! Enjoyed the pictures and reading about the Karoo.

Neva said...

I have learned so much from your blog today"! I had no idea what a rich history you have! A very interesting and entertaining post....Love the story about the honeymoon car....guess you rFIL figured you wouldn't be DRIVING that much!lol

Max-e said...

Hi Amy
Thanks for popping in. Glad you enjoyed the site. Don't know how it got its name, but a Google search produced these two sites, which decribe the different colours. I am no wiser on the origins of the name though.

http://www.type-14.com/paint.htm and

Max-e said...

Hi Denise
This was a last minute one as I could not think of what to post. I have already done L and M so can relax for the next two weeks.
Glad that you enjoyed it.

Max-e said...

Hi dot, the Karoo is a fascinating place. I have so much material that I did not know where to start. Will be posting other pics over time

Max-e said...

Hi Neva
Mmmmmmmmmmm.........ok you put a new slant on the honeymoon part. lol. There are a lot more interesting places that I will share soon

RUTH said...

Love the scenery and what a joy it would be to travel through it in such a great car! Loved Neva's comment..Lol :O)

Anna said...

I am like you I like both, the landscapes are beautiful, however, not to big on classics, too bad, these are nice photo, you took them on nice angle. Anna :) Enjoyed the post, as always.

WalksFarWoman said...

Thanks for that post Max, it was extremely enjoyable. You know that you're committed now to spend the rest of your days educating us about your part of the world! :)

The car looks fantastic and very classy although I don't know it. It reminds me of a cross between an Aston Martin and the car MY son wants - a Nissan Figaro.

Peter M said...

What a great post, very educational, not seaside resort photos but ones that show the area as it really is, rough and rugged.

The car, well I have never heard of one of those but would not mind driving one around here, there would be a few dropped jaws I bet.

Thanks for your comments on my blog

Ackworth Born said...

fascinating photos of your neck of the woods

I just started joining in with ABC Wednesday and have added you to my ABC blogroll

Max-e said...

Thanks for stopping by Anna. The Karoo scenery has a rugged beauty to it

Max-e said...

Hi WalksFarWoman
Did not reaise what I was letting myself in for when I accepted your invitation to join ABC Wednesday.

The Karmann Ghia is really a well styled Volkswagen. It has the normal VW engine and has a very basic interior - again like the VW. What gives it its appeal is the Ghia styling. They stopped making them in 1970.

I had never heard of the Nissan Figara and must say it is a beaut.

Max-e said...

Hi Peter
It is definitely a feel good car and attracts a lot of looks, albeit a fancy VW

Max-e said...

Hi Ackworth Born the Karoo is a truly amazing place. Glad you enjoyed it, you are welcome any time

GE said...

Your blog has been included in our guide.

Around The World with Daily Photoblogs Old and New is a brief history of the City Daily Photoblog movement and a guide to sites around the world.

Our criterion for inclusion is that photographs related mainly to a specific geographical location are posted at dated intervals. CDPB critera are much stricter, so inclusion in our guide does not imply that a blog is officially a CDPB.

Please keep us informed of any changes to your details.

Max-e said...

Thanks for popping in. I am happy to be included in your site, though I am not strictly a daily photo blog.
One of the aims of my site is to celebrate the beauty of the Eastern Cape in particular and South Africa in general, with other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure.

Mike said...

I'm a huuuuuuge Karmann Ghia fan. Do you have any idea how many were made in total?

singleton said...

Ahhh, I learned to drive in one of those babies! Great travels here, on your pages, and back in time!

karoline said...

max i luv your blog..i learn so much about someplace that i may never get to..the photos are fabulous and i luv that car..wow..


Max-e said...

Hi Mike
Not sure how many were made, but Wikipaedia has a good write up on them

Max-e said...

Must have been a great way to start your driving Singleton

Max-e said...

Hi Karoline
Thanks for your comments. I am glad that I can share something about South Africa with the rest of the world.

The car is a real beaut - a perfect classic.