South Africa Day 6 15th Feb 2007

Now – I know that a travel journal usually starts at the beginning but seeing as I started at the end by posting yesterday I’m going to write about my final day in South Africa.

To say that the day was a Geographers dream would be an understatement! Myself and colleague Jamie German were given a tour of the Franschhoek area by one of its residents Julian. Franschhoek being the area around one of the partner schools. The highlights of the day were standing at the base of a dam which will be under 90m of water by this time next year; being given a tour of a water filtration plant and tasting wine from the fermentation tanks with the wine maker.
I have to give our thanks to Julian who accompanied us around the area!
Julian our guide. The area he is standing on and behind will be flooded once the Berg River Dam is complete

As this article suggests the Berg River Dam is an important development for the Western Cape. The dam will supply Cape Town with additional water. We were lucky enough to be given a tour by the project manager that involved a 4×4 tour around the dam site. We were able to discuss many issues including the environmental impact of the project, including the rehabilitation plans. We also chatted about the employment opportunities the dam project had created and how archaeological sites were protected during the project. We also talked about the consideration of the various stakeholders including local farmers and wineries. From the tour we will produce a virtual tour of the site and a case study of the issues involved with such a large scale development – especially as the tour involved the very rare opportunity of standing behind the dam. I hope to revisit the site once the dam has been completed to compare the area. This will provide an up-to-date case study of a dam under construction!
Archaeological artifacts under protection.
Behind the base of the dam with the intake tower in the background
Looking down on the spillway and the front of the dam
Where else could you just turn up at a dam and be given a tour of the filtration plant? The Wemmershoek dam is in an incredible position – surrounded by a Nature Reserve that is home to Leopards, Baboons and many other animals. The scale of the project is unbelievable considerings that this clay dam was completed in 1958. We were treated to a tour of the filtration plant where the water is filtered, cleaned and pumped to Cape Town residents. Our tour guide even showed us how the filter beds were cleaned – I just hope that there wasn’t a Capetonian who went without their water for a while! The tour also including a look at the Power station.
It will be possible to produce a virtual tour of the facility that will allow a greater understanding of the process for pupils. I was also impressed by my restraint – considering the plant looked like a James Bond set I resisted the urge to run around pretending to shoot people and push buttons!
‘We only have 1 minute to save the world!’ The James Bond style control room.
Our guide shows us how the filtration tanks are cleaned.

The next stop on this amazing day was the Moreson Winery. We were treated to a wine tasting (I know – tough work but someone has to do it!) and also a behind-the-scenes tour of the cellars and production process by the wine maker himself. This included tasting the product in its various stages straight from the fermentation tanks. I liked the way in which the winemaker described his job as being ‘an educated alcoholic’.
The winemaker getting something to taste form the fermentation tanks.
All the gear but no idea – wine tasting

Franschhoek Pass
With the tour coming to an end we were driven to the top of the pass for an overview of the area – this will be great for the virtual tour of the area.

The view from Fanschhoek Pass showing land use.
And to the airport
Informal settlements around the airport

So to end a totally bizarre day it was off to the airport. I noticed that the area was surrounded by informal settlements.
Cape Town International Airport and flight BA 58 home

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