It was the year 1915 - early May. The folks on the farm Welvanpas (down in the valley below), belonging to Mr Retief, were going through their normal morning rituals. The first one up had to go down to the stream to fetch fresh water to drink and to wash. But something was wrong that morning. The water tasted funny! It took them a while to figure out what the taste was. And then it suddenly was not a thankless chore anymore but a huge rush to go fetch as much water as you can.
Bainskloof was still a dirt road then (it was only tarred in 1934). Earlier that morning a traveller from Worcester, when coming down the mountain on the Wellington side, noticed how the fresh tracks of a wagon ahead of him were wandering all over the road. With each turn it got dangerously closer and closer to the edge. But the spoor somehow managed to safely make it round each bend, particularly the more dangerous ones higher up. The road was busy levelling off with just one or two sharp bends still ahead. As he came round one of the final long hairpin bends, the tracks suddenly disappeared over the edge! The inspanned team of oxen were standing safely in the road. The only sign that they were pulling a wagon was the stub of a broken disselboom, still tying them together. Rushing to the edge, he saw the wagon with its load of raisins and brandy (most barrels now broken) spread all over the kloof. Luckily the driver was unhurt. Actually, despite his dismal situation, he was in quite a happy mood - mostly just worried about the loss of good brandy which he had been sampling along the way from Worcester.
It should be clear by now where this bend got its name, Brandewyndraai (Brandy Bend), from. But not so obvious is its other, earlier name of Morrie-se-draai (Morrie’s Bend). The locals’ name for the famous Rev Andrew Murray was “Mr Morrie”. When he started his ministry in Wellington in 1871, he was apparently met by the congregation at this spot.
As the result of a number of researchers digging up many of these forgotten stories in the archives, Mr M. Austin, road engineer of the then Paarl Divisional Council, in 1988 started erecting road signs with the names of Bainskloof’s historic sites. The signs were unfortunately badly vandalised, with Brandewyndraai topping the popularity list. After all, who can not wish for a better sign to hang over your bar than this one!! If anyone has a picture of an original Brandewyndraai sign, please send it along.
A brochure is available at the Wellington Museum (S33 38.267 E19 00.734) which is a nice self-guided tour of Bainskloof’s rich history. At the Museum you simply zero your trip meter (on your car or GPS) to easily find the locations mentioned at the odometer distances given. A basic one can be downloaded here.
Note 1: During the cache's first winter, the road washed away and Bainskloof was closed for quite a while. In the meantime the path got completely overgrown such that in March 2011 the cache had to be relocated (with a new cache) since the valley was unfortunately not accessible any more.
Note 2: During a maintenance visit in April 2012 I noticed that a sign saying "Brandewyndraai" had recently been erected claiming another bend (at S33 38.566 E19 04.755) to be the one featuring in this story. I'm busy following this up with the authorities, trying to resolve this confusion since my position agrees with the info I got from the Wellington Museum.
Please hide it well afterwards. Remember, this is baboon country!