Friday, May 14, 2010

Ugie (G 12)

Name: Ugie

The village Ugie in the mountains of the eastern cape undergoes major changes at the moment. The biggest factory for wooden chipboards in the southern hemispere has been build here a couple of month ago. 2008.

In 2008 the pretty village of Ugie made history when it snowed in the little town that lies between the towns of Maclear and Elliot in the wild west region of the Eastern Cape for the first time in years. Small and insignificant Ugie may appear to be, but the town has its own website, a Facebook group with no fewer than 141 fans, and a rather thrilling rock formation known as Gatberg - a large hole in the mountain south west of Maclear.

Ugie lies beneath the towering cliffs of the Drakensberg Mountain range on the banks of the Inxu River. It derives its name from another river, however - not the one on whose banks it resides, but the Ugie River in Scotland. To all intents and purposes Ugie began as a little mission station at Gatberg, established by a reverend called William Murray who was born in Scotland. He was the first white man to settle permanently in Ugie.

But it is not the history that draws people to the villages of Ugie and Maclear, only 21 kilometres apart. Rather it is the incredible natural scenery - the towering mountains that form a backdrop to the towns, winding rivers and huge dams that lure fishermen of every description, and the hills and dales that provide hours of hiking opportunities.

Visitors will enjoy visiting the Gary Kashula tractor museum, the Ugie Methodist Church, easily viewable from most parts of the town, cave trails in the Prentjiesberg (the Prentjiesberg dam lies just outside of Ugie) and Woodcliff, and skiing at nearby Tiffendell Ski resort.
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Other interesting info:

The history of ugie and maclear
As compiled by Fay Bell

The villages of Ugie and Maclear, situated among the foothills of the Southern Drakensberg, in the Eastern Cape, are surrounded by natural scenery which is grand and impressive and unforgettably beautiful The towering mountains, innumerable streams, winding rivers and large dams make this area a veritable paradise for the angler, hiker, bird watcher and indeed anyone who loves the great outdoors. Situated on R56, which is the shortest route between the Durban area and the Western Cape, and tarred throughout these two villages are readily accessible and offer excellent and varied accommodation for overnight sojourners and holiday makers. The climate is bracing and healthy. Although cold in winter, it is never oppressively hot in summer.

Before 1750, although the Pondomisi people had passed this way during their migration south from mid Africa, the only permanent dwellers were the San. They have left behind a rich legacy in many fine examples of rock art to be found throughout the area. From 1819 onwards many tribes fled the aggression of the Zulus under king Shaka and found refuge in this area. However they found the winters too cold, and the summers too wet and the San people rustled their cattle. They soon moved and this area became known as "no man’s land". Perhaps the first recorded white men to pass this way would be the Voortrekker Pieter Uys and his party of Grahamstown burgers on their way to explore Natal. Pieter Uys commented in his journal on the beauty of the area and the mountain that looked like a picture -

One of the first permanent inhabitants of this district was Nape, a Baca chief and his followers, driven out from the Pietermartizburg area and from Mt. Fletcher by the Zulus. The name of one of his men was Gubenxa - and so the area, which he settled, was given that name. Hence the name Kapaailand, as this
District is sometimes called.

In 1862 Adam Kok and his Griqua people were resettled in the Kokstad area. En route a splinter group of Griqua made their way over the Drakensberg and down the mountain pass known as Bastervoetpad. They settled in the vicinity of Ugie – Maclear District. Two of the early Griqua farmers were Jan Apprentjie, who settled near the Prentjiesberg and Adam Paul who lived on the farm Dalvy near Lake’s Drift. In 1863 William Murray established his mission station on the banks of the Inux and from 1874 onwards the area gradually became settled by white pioneering traders and farmers.

William Murray, a medical missionary and schoolmaster, founded the small village of Ugie with its peaceful ambiance and beautiful surroundings in 1863. He was sent out from Scotland under the auspices of the London missionary society to minister to the needs of the Griqua people, who had settled in this area.

In 1862 he built his lovely mission station on the banks of the river Inxu (Wildebees) and named it “Ugie” after the river in Scotland, on whose banks he was born. His station became the nucleus of the present village and in 1874 the Allen brothers, from Craddock, were the first to obtain a trading license at the little mission

After the quelling of the Pondomisi uprising of 1880 the area became more settled and on the 27th July 1885 the sale of erven in Ugie took place. On the 27th July 1916 a village management board was established. Today the village is the home of the regional head offices of P G Bison. A new mill is currently under construction a few kilometers from Ugie. Twelve kilometers outside Ugie is the Mondi seedling nursery at Glen Fahy, one of the largest of its kind. Also interesting is the Gary Kashula tractor museum and other developments include a poultry farm, an egg farm and a private saw mill. Escom electricity and an abundance of water are available. The area is known for its highly successful timber, crop and cattle farming enterprises the Prentjiesberg dam situated on the outskirts of Ugie, built by the municipality provides fishing, boating and water sports.

The picturesque little town of Maclear with its backdrop of the mighty Drakensberg is a busy trading centre, still reminiscent of the early frontier days where pioneers lived, fought and contributed to the building of a nation. On the 17th September 1879 this area, together with the rest of the St John’s territory was annexed by the cape colony and Mr. John Rogers Thompson was appointed as the first magistrate. His residency was built at Quangaru (place of the zebra) on the Mooi River, and was called the Mooi River Residency. From this beginning evolved the town of Maclear. During the Pondomisi uprising, the pioneers of Ugie and Mooi River and the outlying trading stations, who escaped being murdered, were all gathered at the residency under the leadership of magistrate Thompson. They were besieged for several perilous weeks until relieved by captain Mulenbeck with a small body of volunteers from Barkly East, just in time to save the brave men and women.

In 1881 Mooi River was renamed Maclear, after sir Thomas Maclear, after her majesty’s astronomer at the
Cape of Good Hope, and the magisterial district was formed. White farmers made large tracts of land available for purchase and settlement and the area became known as being good for stock farming. In 1903, the railway line from Indwe to Maclear was completed and this brought more development to the area. In 1916 Maclear acquired its first municipality. Today the Town of Maclear with its tree lined streets and park like residential area has a thriving business sector. The area is also well known for its excellent crop, dairy and stock farming and is justly renowned for its superb trout fishing.

Today Maclear falls into the eLundini Municipal area. This incorporates Ugie, Maclear and Mt Fletcher. The communities of Ugie and Maclear are sports loving and the Maclear Country Club offers many sports facilities such as the golf course, squash court, all weather tennis courts and rugby fields.

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