Page 7 – ‘Notes of a trip’ by Robert Jameson

the aspect of the country again abruptly alters and becomes wild, rugged, and mountainous, range after range of high hills extending before us until lost in the blue haze of the horizon. The high veld here ceases, for the road dips down into the valleys and winds round or climbs over the hills, and the temperature moderated until it became quite warm. The collar work for the horses and climbing for ourselves, was very stiff, but was readily forgotten when we reached the usual evening haven, this time an accommodation house in a charming valley, many hundred feet below the level of the hills around. Here is situated the natural warm bath of which we had heard so much. A good many Boer families were encamped in the valley, partly for the grazing for their flocks, and partly for the benefit of the bath, which has a great, and I believe deserved, reputation for its virtues in skin diseases. After seeing the horses cared for, we went to see for ourselves this phenomenon, and found it to be a large rocky basin surrounded by pretty miniature grey cliffs, some 50 feet in length by 20 in width, and of a depth of from 4 to 12 or more feet. At one end a number of jets of water almost boiling bubble up from the sandy-bottom or gush from crevices in the rock; at the other end a little stream of icy cold water tumbles from the rocks above, so that the bather can have hot, warm, cool or cold water at will. The hot water is strongly charged with sulphur, which will account for its curative properties. After a long day’s driving and climbing, as in our case, it is inexpressibly refreshing to spend half an hour in such a luxurious bath.

                     A curious rencontre occurred here. A strap ping big Boer farmer waded over to where Mr. Greenacre was disporting himself, and offering his hand under the water introduced himself as au old acquaintance, and very ludicrous it was to see these two parboiled men doing the polite in puris naturalibus through a veil of steam. It is well that in undertaking such a journey as this, one could put away at once all prejudices in favour of clean tablecloths or sheets, of decent cooking or refined company, and settle down to realise that they can all very well be dispensed with, and let life not only be tolerable but enjoyable. We had arrived at this happy frame of mind, took things as they came, were thankful to get shelter and something to fill up a. vacuum, and looked for no more, and so were not difficult to please; but at the same time, if any young couple wish to have a honeymoon trip, I fear I cannot exactly recommend them to try the accommodation house at this place, for it is just possible they might be somewhat disappointed. Warm Baths Hotel” sounds very enticing; alas! for the reality.



                     “Make hay while the sun shines” is a good old adage in its way, and is understood in all its selfish significance by some of the good folks in these roadside houses. Here is a specimen:
Scene: Mr. Runner’s Hotel, the parlour; adipose tissue of a weary and travel-stained capitalist in repose on a sofa, benevolence in his every feature.
                     Adjoining room, low, mud partition separating from parlour. Voices heard. Treble: “These people want their bill; what must I charge?” Basso profundo: “Let me see; four bundles of forage (all them eight), lunch, etc., 6s. 3d; total 14s. 3d; um, just call it 17s. 6d; that’s near enough for them.” Benevolence disappears, and is replaced by virtuous indignation on the aforesaid face. Exit capitalist hurriedly. Grand tableau!