Karoo Ghost Stories

2012-11-02 15:54
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14 Ghost towns

Abandoned, forgotten and strangely beautiful. Check out this selection of the world's most arresting ghost towns.

The Karoo is one of the most fascinating places in South Africa - almost arid and yet brimming with beauty and life.

Perhaps that is why a Karoo ghost story is all the more poignant - because it is set against such a magnificent backdrop.

The toll-keeper ghost

Seweweekspoort is one of South Africa's most spectacular mountain ravines and doubles as one of the three major gateways that link the Central and Little Karoo.

It is a winding route that carries on for 17 kilometres with views that can easily distract from the road.

But many years ago, this route was less known for its views and more for the notorious people that traversed its curves. Better known as Smuggler's Route, Seweweekspoort was once the main route for brandy smugglers, runaways, slaves and outlaws.

In an attempt to combat the criminal use of the road, a toll-house was built, demanding that all people who passed through pay a fee.

The ruins of the old toll-house can still be seen at the northern entrance to the Poort... along with the ghost of the first toll-keeper...

Some people report that he runs frantically into the road on cloudy nights, waving his lantern in order to warn them of a threatening storm or raging river up ahead. Others say he flags down motorists to take their toll fee, but vanishes the moment their car comes to a stop.

No one knows why the toll-keeper has never left his post, but one thing is certain, it is best to always carry some cash on you in case he demands his toll...

The Uniondale ghost

Late one night in 1968, Maria Roux and her fiancé were driving just outside the town of Uniondale.

She was asleep on the back seat when he tragically lost control of the car. She was killed in the ensuing accident - made more tragic by the rumours that the couple had been on their way to announce their engagement to her parents.

It was 8 years later that people began to wonder if Maria had ever left this world. A man named Anton Le Grange noticed a young woman hitchhiking on the side of the road, so he pulled over and offered her a lift. A few minutes later, he realised that he didn't know where she wanted to go, so he turned to ask her - but she was gone.

Terrified, Le Grange reported the incident to the police. Sceptical, they were finally convinced to go with him to check out the area where she "disappeared". As they were driving along, the police officer noticed the back door of the car opening and closing by itself.

Back at the police station, Le Grange identified his mysterious passenger from an old photograph of Maria Roux.

In 1978, Army Corporal van Jaarsveld had a similar experience. He stopped his motorcycle and offered a lift to a young woman with long dark hair and dark clothing. She climbed on, putting his spare helmet on her head and wrapping her arms around his waist.

A few miles down the road, van Jaarsveld felt a small jolt and turned to check on his passenger - she was gone.

Quickly he turned around to go and look for her - assuming that she had fallen off the motorcycle. It wasn't until a few moments later that he noticed that the helmet neatly refastened to his luggage rack...

Many people think that, because Maria was asleep when she died, she doesn't know that she is dead and is still desperately trying to reach her parents house to tell them her exciting news...

The ghost of the Karoo National Park

The Karoo National Park is a beautiful place that is also prone to some eerie weather conditions. The mountains often get covered in a thick mist that muffles the area.

Locals attribute this mist to the Waterspook (water ghost) - a cunning spirit that hides the mountain in thin cloud so that it can move around freely and undetected.

Prone to mood swings, this ghost sometimes entices livestock into its midst and leads them to their drowning death in a deep pool.

To add to the atmosphere, a few lonely, unmarked graves also lie in this area, poking through the swirling mist, Many locals are too afraid to even walk past in case they never emerge on the other side...

Find out more about South Africa's legends with GoTravel24:

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