Rhodes News June 2016

I’m starting to feel like a “teletubbie” with the additional layers of clothing gradually being added as winter settles in. Although the winter so far has been quite mild, causing Tiffindell some headaches as they opened their snow skiing season on 1 June. To date the Beginner and Bar Slopes are open and they are hoping to be in a position to open the Gully and Main Slopes in the very near future. According to the weather predictions a major cold front is expected to arrive during the first week of July, so let’s hold thumbs!
The unusually warm weather has not however stemmed the flow of interesting and fun-loving people to our village and surroundings. Apart from skiing enthusiasts we’ve had our usual keen fishermen and hunters visiting. One hunter bagging a Rowland Ward Mountain Reedbuck in a matter of just a few hours. Greywing hunters have left very content – and fishermen a little less so because of the effects of the drought. Enthusiasts have enjoyed pottery classes with Irene at the Clay Café modelling flowers and even the fish that eluded them.

For those of you who missed it, we began our memberships afresh from 1 June and anybody still wishing to sign up as a valued member of the Rhodes Tourist and Information Centre, please contact Margie on 045 971 9003 / contact@rhodesinfo.co.za. We value your support!



Not only a first for Rhodes in fact, but also for the Eastern Cape Highlands and even further afield that saw three farming families from the KZN Midlands on an outing of note – a trip by scooter from Ixopo to Knysna!
The intrepid scooter-bike riders were ably assisted by several support vehicles of caring mothers and stopped over at Walkerbouts Inn on Tuesday evening, 21 June. The drought has had a severe effect on the dairy farming activities of these families so what better way to enjoy university holidays than on an off-the-wall adventure.
With scooters not being the speediest means of transport, staying off tar roads was a significant safety consideration so the trip will be completed by travelling as far as possible on gravel roads. Getting to Rhodes was via the Pitseng and Naudesnek Passes. The next leg was from Rhodes to Molteno via Clifford. Being winter, the leg over Naudesnek was particularly cold and the riders soon found solace in the dining-room fires and hot showers at Walkerbouts.
After warming up, some of which was done in the Thankshjalot pub and a hearty evening meal, an early night was had by all and the group left Rhodes to contend with the joys of a heavy frost.
The intention is for the tour to arrive in Knysna in time for the Oyster Festival from where the surviving scooters are to be trailered home! Other more intrepid team members had their mountain bikes with them to participate in the Oyster Festival mountain biking events, just in case they hadn’t had a tough enough time on the scooters.
And then, back to farming and things academic.

St Dominic’s Priory School Outreach – Rhodes Public School – Rhodes Run
The organisers of the Rhodes Run arranged that a group of St Dominic’s Priory School (Port Elizabeth) pupils recently spent time in Rhodes on an Outreach Mission at the Zakhele Rhodes Public School.
In addition to repainting the inside and outside of the smaller classroom building at the school, they installed door handles on all classroom doors, set up shelving in the staff room, installed the four wall heaters which had been donated by the Rhodes Run and installed ceiling trim in the Grade 4 classroom. They also replaced glass windows in various classrooms and installed a window at the soup kitchen as well as putting up educational posters for the Grade 4 children.
The big surprise for the Rhodes Public School staff and pupils was the donation by Priory of 6 computers which were installed and set up before the Outreach returned to Port Elizabeth.

The Priory children also played three soccer matches against Rhodes Public School and visited a nearby farm to view and learn about San rock art. They also increased their skill base by learning how to milk a cow.

Some of the comments from the Priory pupils on leaving Rhodes:

“Thank you for the wonderful past few days and for the hospitality. My first experience at Rhodes has been truly amazing and I can’t wait to return again!”

“It was a great new experience”

“It was honestly one of the most eye-opening coolest experiences and thank you for putting up with us hoards of teenagers”

“This has been a trip to remember and I look forward to coming again”

“This trip was seriously humbling and I will remember it”

“There is nothing in the world I would give to replace this trip”

“The school kids really made my holiday and touched my heart. The work was hard, but so very worth it.”



Wall heater, before






..after, the new wall heater…


…and posters


New Windows…


…new friends…


…old windows…


…and new windows


The four girls teams


The four girls teams


The two boys teams


Twizza fun!




To date 26 houses have been built in Zakhele, but unfortunately, due to the cooler weather and some unforeseen circumstances, the project has been temporarily put on hold and the contractor has returned to Gauteng.



A reminder that as of 1 July 2016, all day fishing permits will now be available from the RTIC and no longer from Walkerbouts Inn.

Fishing has been fairly quiet after the drought, the best fishing proving to be in the dams, Loch Ness in particular.


The one that got away…

Susan Allen kindly sent me this picture of her husband, Clyde, on their trip to Rhodes in May, catching and then losing a fish at Loch Ness. Clyde’s expression says it all!

The South African Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Expo 2016

Ed Herbst

Ed Herbst

This Expo is not owned by an individual entity but is instead a community based initiative, run by fly fisherman for fly fisherman. This consists of people from Boland and Western province fly fishing as well as a number of other passionate fly fishermen from both the CPS and other parts of the country who have offered their services free of charge.
All proceeds will go towards worthwhile fly fishing related causes. The event aims at making the proverbial circle bigger by uniting fly fisherman from across the country, from all disciplines of the sport, for a fun filled day of fishing and feather talk.

“The South African Fly-fishing and Fly-tying Expo 2016’ will take place on 30 July at Lourensford Wine Estate in the Western Cape. The event is being hosted by Boland fly fishing in conjunction with the CPS and Lourensford Wine Estate. It promises to be the largest expo of its kind in South Africa and will cater exclusively for fly fisherman but will in fact appeal to any outdoor enthusiast. The list of personalities who will be there include fly-fisherman and fly tyers who have made a huge contribution to the craft. They are pioneers in their respective fields, and have all played an important part in the development of fly fishing in this country.

There will be 20 fly tying demonstrators in all, a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the craft.

The list includes the likes of Tom Sutcliffe, the doyen of the sport in this country; Ed Herbst, our leading fly fishing academic; Peter Brigg, author, artist and small stream devotee; MC Coetzer, captain of the Protea fly fishing team; Conrad Botes, salt water guru and his bother Herman, yellowfish specialist and creator of the legendary Papa Roach; Ruhan Neethling a world-rated classic salmon fly tyer; Alan Hobson of the Angler and Antelope in Somerset East whose original patterns and techniques are changing our thinking about dam fishing; Darryl Lampert whose CDC patterns are now essentials in our fly boxes ; Matt Rich, Protea angler whose choice of patterns for local streams was recently profiled on Tom Sutcliffe’s ‘Spirit of Fly Fishing’ website; Tim Rolston, leading Cape stream guide and author of numerous fly fishing books and Leonard Flemming, travelled Fly fisherman extraordinaire.

Patrons of the festival will have the opportunity to meet and interact with exhibition tiers and talk to them face to face about what they love best. You will watch them tie the patterns for which they are famous for and have the opportunity to quiz them on their thinking and their techniques.

If the feathers talk gets too heavy there will also be various other activities on show including casting demonstrations by the IFFF (International Federation of Fly Fishers), competitions and numerous tackle exhibitors and outfitters on hand giving you the ideal opportunity to see what’s hot and happening on the local scene regarding new products and developments.

There will also be a special Fly fishing Crafts section on show where fly fishing related crafts will be on display including the work of some of the country’s top rod builders, net makers, sculptures, painters and writers.
This countries fly fishing Artisans are incredible, boxing far above their respective weight divisions. We have some serious talent here, who are internationally recognised for what they do.

The festival will conclude with a fly auction of a once in a lifetime collection of flies tied by all the exhibition tiers at the festival. This will be the only collection of its kind in the country. All proceeds from the Auction will go directly to Trout SA to assist them in their work.

Entrance to the festival will be R100/person for adults and R50/person for school going children. The festival is not owned by an individual entity. It is the direct result of the fly Fishing community at large getting together to put on a really meaningful and memorable event in aid of further promoting and developing the sport.
If anyone would like to make a contribution in any way possible please feel free to contact Gordon van der Spuy. All proceeds of the event will go to the development programmes run by Boland Fly-fishing as well as TroutSA and the CPS.

For more information or to book a stand at the expo please contact Gordon van der Spuy on flyexpo.info@gmail.com.

For those of you in the Cape, please remember to support Dave Walker and Tony Kietzman as they wave the WTA flag at the “Fly-tying and Fly-fishing Expo”.

Looking back on 20 years
Courtesy of the Rhodes Trail Run: http://www.rhodesrun.za.net

This year marks the twentieth year Evie Raubenheimer has been at the helm of the Rhodes Trail Run.
Evie has been involved with the run for 27 years in total.

Twenty years “wintering in Rhodes with a few hundred good friends, what could be nicer?” is how Evie describes it.

The most common question asked of Evie over the years has been “Which year stands out most?” So that is what we asked.
Without hesitation Evie replied “2002 and 2012”.

“The road from Barkly East to Rhodes was a highway in 2002. Very few if any corrugations, the streams were clear and there was a little snow on the peaks. Things were looking good for the run.

It started snowing on the Monday evening. Great excitement, we were going to have some snow lying around for the weekend. Perfect.

By Thursday morning we had a lot more than just a little snow lying around. The phone was ringing  non-stop and the same question was asked.

Is the race still on?

By mid-morning the Kloppershoek road to Mavis Bank was a no-no. Some of our race requirements were stuck in snow outside Elliot. Then an ominous call. SAPS Disaster Management in East London advised that they strongly recommended that the race be cancelled. Time to take a trip to the Rhodes Police Station, and after much discussion on a suitable new course, Disaster Management was contacted and all seemed OK. More snow and still more snow fell.


On Friday morning two 4 x 4 vehicles travelled to Barkly to open the road from Rhodes leaving tracks for vehicles coming to Rhodes.

The recce team out on the road trying to plot a new course was having difficulty getting up Naude’s Nek. It was only 14.5 km to the eventual turn point on Naudes Nek near Bobbejaanskop. With a loop to Mavis Bank Farm we had a route. Rather slippery underfoot but full of potential fun.
The ‘Road Closed’ sign was up outside Barkly and it had stopped snowing. Convoys of cars were coming into the village from Barkly – most of them ordinary sedans with very proud drivers who were totally pumped having arrived safely. Some 4 x 4’s were tested for the first time.

The postman knocked on the door – he was wearing a policeman’s uniform. This time it was a request from Disaster Management that we cancel the run. Sign with a witness and return. They advised that unfortunately SAPS would not be able to assist if anything happened as there were a number of disaster areas. Still the convoys came into the village. The pubs were filling up and the Rhodes Run vibe had arrived. The KZN guys were phoning every hour reporting on their progress. Others sent SMS’s to say that they could get no further and were unfortunately, and with a heavy heart, turning back.

Decision made. We would run. We had a new route.

We ran up Naudes Nek to Bobbejaanskop, then on the way back to Rhodes a loop to Mavis Bank Farm. Still an ultra-distance, and more importantly safer even if a little shorter. New feed station positions were planned and yes it had not snowed for a few hours.

At 2am on Saturday morning the check in list was scrutinized. No word or contact from about 15 runners. Were they safe? Had they had an accident? Was their car buried in snow? Had they listened to the incorrect radio reports stating that the race had been cancelled? Had the police at van Reenen’s / Kokstad / Ugie / Elliot turned them back?

So many questions.
So few answers.

Race day and the rest is history.

The front runners encouraged the back runners, and vice versa. Oh yes, the snow saw to it that there was no electricity in the village. We had a marvelous event thanks to our runners, who were most determined to get to Rhodes and participate. Thanks also to the Rhodes SAPS who assisted us on the day.


The Rhodes Run is certainly never boring.
And yes, it did start snowing again on the Sunday.”

“Then ten years later we had another route change, and this time our runners ran in falling snow.”


“We had created fall-back plans to ensure the race would go ahead no matter what weather was thrown at us. We had six route options available. Weather forecasts early in ‘race week’ indicated that the weekend would probably have severe conditions with rain and snow. Our team was fully briefed mid-week on the various route options and contingencies.

Darrell and I had very little sleep that week. We were up at 3am on Saturday and drove out on the route. Darrell was walking those frozen rivers at 4am, checking depth and safety.

We drove up Carlislehoek past our planned runner turn-point. The drive was quite nerve racking up the hair-pin bends towards the cement strip. The vehicle was slipping all over as the heavy overnight rain had turned the pass into a deadly mud track. At one stage we nearly slid over the edge.

We decided on our route option ‘F’  as it kept the runners off the high ground and accessible to our medical team and importantly that route option was designed to ensure a safe event for our crew and runners, while at the same time would give our runners a challenging and safe run.

Darrell outlined the revised course during the pre-race briefing, stressing that the intention was to have a safe route. There were a few disappointed faces that the legendary Mavis Bank was not part of the revised route, and some runners felt that a run that avoided hills and was only on the dirt tracks would be too easy. A thought that was quickly discarded when conditions deteriorated further.”


Shortly after the start snow was falling on our runners. Magic!
A short while later the snow storm was hitting Check Point 2 at the Mavis Bank farmhouse with some force. Darrell, who had reached the Check Point as the 2nd and 3rd placed runners were heading back to the Kloppershoek T-junction, contacted me via sat-phone and said that as conditions were deteriorating he was going to start a ‘rolling Check Point’ to get the field back to Rhodes before anyone got hypothermic. A rather innovative and creative solution taken on the fly to look after our runners. The ‘rolling Check Point’ shortened the run by an hour and more for every runner other than the front 17 who ran the complete route ‘F’.

Decisions taken during a run, especially in extreme conditions are always difficult calls, and only in hind-sight can decisions be evaluated. That bold and decisive move to have a ‘rolling Check Point’ proved correct, as no runner needed medical attention at the Finish.

One of our runners, Paddy Cloete, celebrated her 40th birthday on race day and had a huge smile all day. Running in falling snow one of her best ever birthday presents.
“Overall a good enjoyable Rhodes Run. Always an adventure!”

After her run in 2012 Janine Mazery wrote
“It is on a day like this where your body is overwhelmed with the elements around, that runners are reminded that winning isn’t about coming first; it’s about competing with your greatest competitor – yourself and never giving up.
The 24th Rhodes Trail Run is definitely an event which will go down in the history books as something more than just a trail run.  The organisation of the event was remarkable, the complete dedication to the runners safety by the organisers was paramount and the first class support from the race volunteers, especially in such extraordinary conditions, was supreme. Runners would not have been able to have made such breathtaking memories had it not been for the race committee and volunteers.”


And the stories of Evie sending her husband and one of her sons back home as they did not have their ID with them at Registration … totally true!

From the RTIC we wish all our runners and crew a successful 2016 run and an everlasting experience.

The local community will once again be providing a fabulous and substantial evening meal at the Farmer’s Hall on Friday evening, 8th July comprising:
• Butternut Soup with Rolls
• Leg of lamb with rice, baked potatoes, sweet glazed carrots, green beans and gravy
• (Vegetarian lasagne replacing lamb for the vegetarian option)
• Hot malva pudding and custard
• Tea and coffee
Cost is R150 per meal for the lamb option / R130 per meal for the vegetarian option
Closing date for bookings is almost upon us, so anyone still wishing to make a booking, please contact Willem Jansen:

Saturday’s delights will include: hamburgers, jaffles, hot chips, boerewors, tea, coffee, drinks, sweets and chocolates

A letter that Evie and Darrell Raubenheimer have asked me to share with you:
Rhodes Trail Run
P O Box 15380 EMERALD HILL 6011 South Africa
Phone 041 581 6307 ~ Fax 086 661 7686


Rhodes – The Breathtaking Trail Run

1 June 2016

Rhodes & Zakhele Residents & Property Owners
c/o Margie Murray
Rhodes Info Centre

Dear Margie

As you know this year is the 28th time the Rhodes Run will bring a very welcome flood of visitors to our village and the district.

Through the medium of your newsletter Evie & I would like to thank all residents and property owners for the wonderful hospitality always shown to our runners and their supporters.

I’m sure that many of our runners will once again share their experience of the event and of Rhodes in general via our Twitter feed @RhodesTrailRun

Kind regards

We bid a fond farewell to Lynette Carstens and Uisgebeatha as they leave us to join their family in Port Elizabeth after the untimely passing of Dudley in December. As a family they have been an integral part of Rhodes since 10 August 2008.



09th July 2016
Darrell Raubenheimer
The Breathtaking Trail Run
Phone: 041 581 6307 

Mussel Soup – Recipe Courtesy of Estelle Hope from her “what’s for supper tonight” discussions with her colleagues:
1 Packet Cream of Chicken Soup
450ml Water
450ml Milk
1 Tin Smoked Mussels in Oil
12.5ml Sherry (optional)
125ml Cream

Mix together Cream of Chicken Soup with the water and milk and bring to the boil
Reduce heat and add smoked mussels
Simmer gently
Stir in sherry and cream


Come and enjoy our local art and crafts at our new indoor market “Bizarre Bazaar” on Muller Street – please contact Caroline Reeders c/o the RTIC should you wish to display your goods. Herewith our local artists/masters hard at work prepping the market:


Order your fruit & veg for delivery to Barkly every Wednesday PM – Call Karel Johnston: 084 578 2078 / 045 931 1616

Electric Freezer & Stove: please contact Margie at the RTIC

Contact Margie at the RTIC for all your advertising needs: 045 971 9003 / contact@rhodesinfo.co.za


“Don’t count the days. Make the days count.” Muhammad Ali


Rhodes Run – Full Report

Our inspiring story from a proud father (which unfortunately missed this issue)

… And much, much more

In the event that I’ve missed something, please let me know so that I am able to include it in the next issue – and remember: your news is important to me

Looking forward to next month!

Take care,