As a keen adventurer, one of the most phenomenal places for me to travel to in South Africa is the Karoo. It has a calming effect on one's soul, the desolate landscapes, the windmills and deafening silences just transport me to a peaceful place. I've explored many kilometres of Karoo roads, mostly solo on my adventure motorcycle. I love arriving at small back road towns and villages and learning all about their history and troubled pasts. Many a Karoo town comes with its own eerie ghost story that often entices me to stay the night in the local hotel. I'm going to write a couple of blogs about the little dorps that I have visited and tell you all about each one's 'Ghost'. Let's start off with Uniondale...
Uniondale is a small town situated in the Little Karoo along the infamous Route 62 in South Africa. It came about by the joining of two towns, Hopedale and Lyon in 1856. Initially known for its wagon building and ostrich feather industries, which later declined and left a quaint farming town. It's now more commonly known for the spooky ghost tale of the Uniondale Hitcher.
The story was first told to me by Henriette. She is the proprietor of the lovely Uniondale Manor Guest House which is where I was staying for the night. Her recital went something like this:
It was rainy weather on the Easter weekend of 1968, and a young engaged couple had a car accident on the Barandas/Willowmore road around 20 kilometres from Uniondale. The lady, Marie Roux, was asleep on the back seat of their Volkswagen Beetle when her fiancé lost control of the car. The car unfortunately overturned and she was killed.
The first reported sighting of a ghost matching her description occurred during the Easter weekend of 1976, and since then many other sightings have been reported. All of them involve a female hitchhiker who is given a lift, then disappears a few kilometres down the road. Some have even reported car doors opening and closing, laughter and a chill in the air.
Another account of the scary tale comes from a motorcyclist just like myself and goes like this:
I was riding near the Baramdas turnoff which is the site of the fatal accident a decade ago. I felt my hair stand on end inside my crash helmet and someone or something put its arms around my waist from behind. There was something sitting on my bike.
The frightened motorcyclist said he accelerated to 120kph to get away, but the ghost hit him three times in the helmet to get him to slow down. 'The blows were vicious,' he said. When he reached 160kph, the rider said, 'the apparition disappeared.'
He then rode to a local Uniondale cafe for help. He could hardly speak when he was asked what had happened. But gradually it dawned on the cafe owner that the woman ghost had appeared once more.
There have been several reports in recent years of motorcyclists picking up a blonde woman hitchhiker near Uniondale, only to find that she had vanished from the back seat after a few kilometres.
With this being said I'll definitely be sure not to pick up any hitchhikers on my motorcycle adventures through the Karoo!
Right now we're all a bit stuck and bored with lockdowns caused by COVID-19. I'm dying to get out on an adventure again as soon as possible and at SA Adventure we've been planing a few new tours for when we all can travel again. What we want to do is set up some exciting tours within South Africa. One of them will go through the Karoo and visit towns like Uniondale. We want to take you along with us so we can help local hotels, restaurants and the like to recover after having no cash coming in over this period.
Keep checking our website's Tours Page to see the new tours we'll be bringing to you soon.
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