The Hunters’ Road, Botswana

It so happened that the Voetspore team last night, March 16, 2020, showed this historical road on the SABC2 channel, visit www.voetspore.co.za or www.voetspore.tv Coincidentally, less than a week after I had written this on my other blog:

The 500 miles from Bulawayo to Mafeking was built at a rate of up to four miles a day by George Pauling and his team. Rhodes bought £250k shares and Alfred Beit a whopping two million. It followed a wagon track best known as The Hunters’ Road through the east of Botswana.

There were many casualties, especially "water boys." Max Sonnenberg from Vryburg converted a rail car into a general goods store and made good money. CGR and SAR operated the line in a foreign country. Amazing how things were done. Tswana chiefs provided protection.

There is another story of railway guys that built a side line, diverted three cars full of whiskey, then pulled up the tracks and took their contraband to Bulawayo by ox-wagon. The theft was only discovered much later when someone came across the three alienated rail cars in the bush.

In the photo: South Africa’s very first Locomotive, Blackie, built by Hawthorn & Leith in Scotland, 1859. Blackie is plinthed on Cape Town Station, where Eric Lomax, visited her in December 1939 where his destiny led him to become The Railway Man.

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