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Fordoun … time-old tracks

Posted on: August 26, 2017, in News

Before the devastating rinderpest epidemic of 1897 and the introduction of the railways in the early 1900, ox wagon transport was the order of the day.  Due to their physical location, Fordoun was on the main transport route from the Port of Durban up into the hinterland.  Fordoun shows evidence of these “forgotten trails” today.  The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in the 1860’s and the expansion into the interior made this route very popular.

Trekkers, settlers, missionaries, and pioneers from all occupations formed a steady flow of movement.  Following natural paths formed by animal migrations, and the bushmen before them, people turned these paths into tracks and routes and then into roads. These tracks can be seen all over the landscape of Kwa Zulu Natal as each homestead, each hamlet and each stop-over was linked to the greater route “up north”.

Annalie places Fordoun on the route that used the crossing at Allemans Drift (just below the Midmar dam wall).  This route ran on the ridge that joins Lions River and Fordoun.  It was used mainly for heavier ox wagons made using timber (mainly the gigantic Eucalyptus) while trading along the way.  The faster horse drawn coaches used “The falls” crossing.  Annalie goes into depth looking not only at the trails but also the people, wagons and the oxen used during this moment in history.

old wagon tracks near the Fordoun entrance in the camp … the gum-tree was used as a marker

 

Old wagon tracks on the hill side …

taken from Annalie Kleinloog and her book  Forgotten Trails – across the midlands of KZN

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