The Cawood family and GannaHoek are also inextricably woven into the Olive Schreiner story.   Olive Schreiner worked as a governess to the Cawood children, who adored her, and where she wrote the famous “Story of an African Farm”, which met with great success and received world-wide acclaim.  Olive’s friendship with Mrs Erilda Cawood was well published and their letters can be read in many books of that era.    Olive’s dream was finally honoured.  The concept of setting aside land in South Africa for the preservation of Wildlife!

WRITTEN BY PAT CAWOOD

 

In July 1819, England , after expending her all in conquering the Napoleonic tyrant and in agreement  with Lord  Charles Somerset, selected principle families the opportunity to emigrant to South  Africa.   David Cawood 43, with his wife, Mary 43, and family, James 21, William 19, John 18, Joshua 16, Elizabeth 13, Mary 12, Samuel 10, Sarah 9, Joseph 5 and David 1 (who died on the voyage out).   David Cawood and his family travelled on the “Good Ship St. John” with the Hazelhurst’s party.   They arrived in Table Bay on April 19, 1820.

 Together with other settlers, the family travelled in comfortless wagons and finally arrived at Round Hill, but David Cawood moved his family to 'Kaffir Drift', and renamed it “Cawoods Post” in the Trapps Valley of the Eastern Cape.  From Cawood Castle, in the town of Cawood, with all their craftsmen whom they had transferred with them!    Their son, William Cawood, partly owned the Kimberley Diamond fields.   Eventually, his dream of building another export harbour at the mouth of the Port Alfred Kowie River was becoming a reality.   From the profits of the Kimberley Big Hole, William Cawood secured the River Mouth and Kowie Riverbanks, with massive stone support.   There was a freak tropical storm, which washed a huge sandbar across the mouth of the Kowie River.   This put an end to the development project.   On the return journey to Kimberley, they saw and fell in love with the farmland called GannaHoek, which was in their favoured Eastern Cape of South Africa.   They purchased this pristine land, which has been in the same family, worked, improved and treasured by each successive generation.

GannaHoek – Ganna is a Bushman word for an indigenous bush growing in the area.   Ganna was a vital ingredient in soap making for the bushman.   Hoek is the Dutch/Afrikaans word for Corner.   GannaHoek is an amphitheatre of Mountains, with valley within the high plateaus on top of the GannaHoek Mountain Range.   The high point is the backdrop of the corner or “Hoek”.   Situated in the area called “Karoo”, which is a Hottentot word, meaning, “dry”.   The early travellers who crossed this land called it “Carrow Veld”, the “dreary waste”, or simply “the desert”.   It was.   The Cawood Family have stayed.   Their lives, like the landscape, have endured to see the rain, which brings sweet fragrance and colour to the land.  GannaHoek is now a conservation conscious Private Nature Reserve.   A pristine heritage for future generations!

The historically important settler homestead, set in the beautifully well-established garden has been converted into an elegant manor lodge.   The homestead is steeped in atmosphere, with old paintings on the walls, well oiled antiques from a lifestyle of the past, creaky polished wooden floor and mounted game trophies on the walls.   An example of the comfort of colonial days and the history of the Eastern Cape! 

  

It was on GannaHoek that the first registered breeding stud of any kind in South Africa was established.   The once-famous GannaHoek Angora Goat Stud.  When Mr Richard Cawood  established the GannaHoek Angora  Stud, No  101, in 1873, he  set out to produce  top class rams that would  carry with  them a proud history of sound breeding, high fertility and outstanding quality, length and fineness of staple Mohair.   A pure-bred Stud!   Edward James Schreiner Cawood, known as “Baas” Cawood, son of Richard Cawood, was world renowned for his expertise and devotion to the Angora industry.   He became the first president of The South African Angora Ram Breeders’ Society.   Mr Cawood worked tirelessly for the improvement, encouragement and success of the Angora industry in every possible aspect.  

The Cawood family and GannaHoek are also inextricably woven into the Olive Schreiner story.   Olive Schreiner worked as a governess to the Cawood children, who adored her, and where she wrote the famous “Story of an African Farm”, which met with great success and received world-wide acclaim.  Olive’s friendship with Mrs Erilda Cawood was well published and their letters can be read in many books of that era.    Olive’s dream was finally honoured.  The concept of setting aside land in South Africa for the preservation of Wildlife!   Olive mapped out the Kruger National Park area for this vision and sat at President Paul Kruger’s door until he finally gave her entrance for the persuasive interview, which changed the history of South Africa.   The first land was set-aside for Wildlife, named after President Kruger.   (Not Olive Schreiner!),  This land is the world famous, much visited and respected Kruger National Park.

After the death of his Father, Michael Cawood, a young 19 year old, took over the reins of responsibility and continued the Angora Goat Stud farming for many successful years.   Mike was also a hunting client in Kenya a few times and his love of sport hunting and game progressed to him becoming a registered International Professional Hunter.   In 1966 Mike married Pat Senn.   Their combined passion for wildlife led them to enjoy eight months of each year in Botswana, where  Michael was a Professional Hunter with Safari South and made a name for himself as a Safari Specialist.   Mike and Pat had four children:   Christopher, Kim, Lyn and Richard.   Once the children started their formal education, Pat’s sojourns to Botswana came to an end.   Thereafter, she remained permanently on GannaHoek.   Eventually Michael abandoned Angora goat farming in favour of Game Ranching.

Michael and Pat were, undoubtedly, the first people to go entirely into the game business in South Africa.   Although the change met with heavy criticism, Michael had a dream and tremendous vision about the game industry, which he knew needed to be developed in South Africa, with particular attention to the Eastern Cape, which area holds the largest number of wildlife species of any area in the world.   The climate, vegetation and natural topography of the disease free area are perfect for game and all wildlife species. Southern Cross Safaris was then primarily about the “wise utilization of wildlife”’ for the survival of the various game species.   Game Breeding and Game Management programmes were established.   GannaHoek was developed, from internal road building, high fencing and the purchase of additional species of game to the building of the first traditional, classic tented  safari camp in the country.

 

2001 marked a new era for Southern Cross Safaris. Chris Cawood built upon his fathers vision of environmental sustainability with the introduction of the Cape Buffalo amongst other species, and the reintroduction of the Sable. Christopher and his wife, Mel, have continued to enhance the Southern Cross Safaris tradition.   Game viewing and hunting is conducted within the spectacular amphitheater of majestic mountains, adorned with ancient rock art and the vast rolling plains of the Eastern Cape, where each sunset has a special meaning.   The wise and sustainable “use” of the large range of wild game populations, the huge topographic and habitat diversity, the vistas and exotic rock formations and prolific bird life offers the special “Wilderness Experience”.    The conversion of the main homestead into an ideal venue for the African Safari  provides the “Truly African Style” of this, the Last Great Adventure, within the vast rolling veld, the mountains, the open plains, the sounds and smells of the bush and the quiet sanctity of nature at the internationally renowned Southern Cross Safaris  -  The home of the Cawood  Family since 1843.

 

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