26 December 2007

W for Wolwefontein and a wagon

In the old days when the world still operated at a more leisurely pace the main road from Port Elizabeth to Graaff Reinet passed through the village of Wolwefontein. Situated 125 kms from Port Elizabeth on the turn off to Steytlerville, Wolwefontein owes its existence to a hotel, a general dealer, a police station and a railway siding. If you blink when driving past, you will miss it.
As roads and vehicles improved so the need for the little country hotels fell away and the Wolwefontein Hotel eventually shut its doors, due to a lack of patronage - for a few years anyway.




Sue and I stopped in at Wolwefontein on impulse on one of our trips and discovered a rare gem in the Karoo. Several years ago a bored farmer’s wife bought the hotel and restored it. She provides good meals to the locals and has a thriving pub. The hotel still gets little passing trade, so for a large part of her income, she relies on letting rooms to overseas hunters during the hunting season.



Her one innovation was to organize a motor bike rally, which she said was a roaring success. One evening, she told us the bikers announced they would drink the pub dry and she gleefully accepted the challenge. They were at one stage putting away R4,000 ($600) worth of liquor per hour. Unbeknown to them she had made a deal with a supplier to provide enough booze to float the Titanic, on the understanding that whatever was not used could be returned. She never ran out and smiled all the way to the bank.

The arid Karoo countryside around Wolwefontein is suitable for sheep, Ostrich and game farming


The village still boasts a general dealer, only at this one they keep Ostrich chicks on the veranda.



I discovered this wagon at the far end of the village. It was probably left there by its last owner, when he swapped it for a truck. Believe it or not this is the old main road.



Close up views of the detail on wagon.


16 comments:

Ackworth Born said...

lovely post - especially the tale about how the pub never ran dry [even so I've got that Australian song - pub with no beer drumming round in the back of my head now!]

I wonder how the place got its name.

Max-e said...

Hi Ackworth Born
The literal translation of the name is wolf fountain. The brown hyhena was called a wolf by the early dutch settlers. Could have been a combination of a local fountain and the presence of hyhenas.

RuneE said...

Wonderfully little winter and wonderfully more booze! Lovely story and pictures.

mrsnesbitt said...

Laughed at the bikers night!
Wheel's seem popular today! X next! LOL!

Digital Flower Pictures said...

You got 'W' covered. Funny how things change with time. It is kind of like our Route 66 in the US.

Have a Happy New Year!

PS. I loved the pictures in your previous post.

Lilli & Nevada said...

Great story of the pub.
The hotel is also a reminder of Rt 66 and new freeways.

Kerri said...

Wow! Great "W" Post!
That lady sure was smart to arrange for LOTs of booze ahead of time :)

NYCindividual said...

great photos!

NYCindividual said...

great photos!

Andrea said...

Cute story of the pub. I love the old wagon pictures.

dot said...

The motel looks like some of the small town motels over here. Funny story about the rally. Your posts are always so interesting.

kml said...

I like the wagon - what a story it must tell!

Jim Baker said...

great W post, i love the series of the wagon.

jim baker

photowannabe said...

Great W post and the story to go with it. Interesting modern and vintage all mixed together.

Lynette said...

Interesting, informative, well-photographed post. Cheers to the lady at the hotel--she's sharp!

bonnie said...

That's one smart lady! I like the wagon photos. Nice shadows and textures.