Information provided by Hans Bornman from his unpublished book, Lowveld Tour Guide:
COETZEESTROOM. Farm and afforestation, 1 km west of Kaapsche Hoop, situated on route R799. It was named after Dirk Jacobus Gerhardus Coetzee, known as “Witperd” Coetzee, one of the earliest pioneers in the Elands Valley. ‘Witperd’ Coetzee, so named because he always rode a big grey-white horse, obtained the farm Houtboschfontein where he started farming with sheep. He was married to S M Pretorius, daughter of commandant-general Andries Pretorius. Between them they eventually owned a vast stretch of land totalling some 100 000 hectares. This area consisted of some 25 farms. Upon the death of ‘Witperd’ Coetzee, the farms were split up between the sons. Over the years, they gradually sold off large areas. Fanie sold a number of valley farms, such as Elandshoek and Rietvalley, to George Heys, of stage coach fame, and according to the Title Deeds, for a cow and calf and a salted horse and saddle!
KAAPSCHE HOOP (1529m)
If time is no problem, take the Kaapsche Hoop road (R799) over the mountain to Nelspruit, the distance is 34 km, while the road from Ngodwana via Montrose to Nelspruit (N4) is 42 km. The road is tarred and the Lowveld view from the top of the hill is breathtaking. The road re-joins the N4 at Nelspruit.
Kaapsche Hoop is a hamlet founded in 1882 as a gold mining camp, 10 km east of Ngodwana and 24 km south-west of Nelspruit, at 25 35S, 30 46E. Gold was discovered at Berlin by B Chomse in 1882. Encouraged by signs of ancient mining activity, Berlin was proclaimed a digging. On adjoining state land a town known as Duivels Kantoor (the Devil’s Office) soon developed. Owing to the growing activity at Duivels Kantoor a commission of enquiry was formed consisting of General Piet Joubert, M W Pretorius, C J Joubert and the Gold Commissioner, C F Hoolboom from Pilgrim’s Rest, authorising them to investigate matters, to appoint the necessary administrative personnel and then to report back to the government.
During their stay the members of the Commission visited Kantoorberg, as it was then known. The red earth at the foot of the Kantoorberg had, through the centuries, eroded into deep ditches and furrows. Looking down on the scene Pretorius turned to his companions and said “Here we have Table Mountain, and those red erosion ditches represent the houses of Cape Town and I now rename Duivels Kantoor, Kaapsche Hoop, the valley below will be known as De Kaap Valley and the river as the Kaap River”.
The Kaapsche Hoop area is now an important forestry centre.