Oorlogspoort River

Oorlogspoort River is a river only in arid country terms. It’s the sort of river that Leonard Fleming wrote about (in “A Fool on the Veld”), where one dives into the river, then rises and pats the dust off.

It is, at best, a stream, and we feel very lucky that Hanglip straddles it. Maeder sometimes uses the term “drainage system” for these gravitional run-off features, found all over the Karoo.

For us, it’s a focal farm point, its two main qualities being that it:

  • is rich in history
  • has great promise for a future, planned conservancy.

SM Osler:

Oorlogspoort stream, Hanglip farm


From central South to North East, flowing northwards, the Oorlogspoort stream is the main water drainage system also within and on the edge of the farm Hanglip. On both its western and eastern banks, the stream gathers the erosions from high grounds on both sides. This includes some of the subsidiary drainage patterns, which in all cases also land up in the Oorlogspoort stream drain. It is probable that this was the main movement area for plants, game and humans down the ages, and likely that this also reflects the soil erosion patterns on the farm.

The stream as a whole would be seen as a special riverine area, in need of biodiversity protection into the future. This is probably also the reason behind the state’s interventions during the mid to late 1950’s in the construction of cement erosion weirs. On oral evidence the valley through which the stream flowed was in former years badly eroded. The central state weir is on Hanglip at the edge of its Rivercamp, a 2nd weir at Sukkelweir (on the edge of Hanglip’s Sukkelweir camp), and a final weir at the north end of the property and against the adjoining Potfontein and Vergelegen farms.

There is a contour feed-off for surplus water to Potfontein farm at the northmost weir. There is a verbal message that the engineer involved in the central weir has said Hanglip can now take water off the top outlet hole of the weir if it can and so wishes …

Historically the stream has at times been a subject of controversy and conflict between some neighbours, about the use of water from the stream, particularly about the pumping of water from or nearby the stream for potential lands …

Two generations back the first Hanglip windmill pumped from the stream into a catchment dam for irrigation from some 700 meters south of the roadway bridges. Thereafter the pump worked through a diesel generator. When the Biggs/Pienaar families hired the farm, if not before with the Jim Openshaw hire, a small low holding local stone weir was built on the farm, just upstream of the windmill catchment pool. An electric pump came more recently in Maeder’s time, in recent years, only for livestock emergency drinking water.

There are two bridges, an old bridge and a newer, nearby higher ‘Schimper’ bridge – named after Maeder’s grandfather who once served on the then Divisional Council (a ‘bloedsap’ enthusiast)

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