History of Humansdorp Veterinary Clinic
Dr Charles Deacon [who had returned from a practice in Australia] was the first veterinarian to open a practice in the area [in 1967]. Before that, the area had been serviced by veterinarians from Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage. In about 1969 Dr Deacon leased [and later purchased] a building which had housed a furniture factory run by the Du Preez brothers [Harry and Jan] and an adjoining cottage. Dr Deacon utilised the factory building as his veterinary clinic and although it has undergone many changes over the years, the original building remains the nucleus of the current veterinary clinic.
In 1976 Dr Deacon and his wife, Rina, moved to George to open a new practice and Dr Gert Briers then took over the Humansdorp practice. In May 1980 Dr Briers moved to Onderstepoort to lecture there and sold the Humansdorp practice to Dr Francois van Niekerk. Dr Annelise Barker joined the practice in 1983 and in 2003 Dr Pieter van Vuuren became a partner. Dr Anthony Davis became a partner in 2018.
The practice focus is on preventative health care in both companion animals and production animals. In production animals, this is an essential approach to reduce profit losses for the farmer. There is a strong emphasis on a problem-solving approach based on thorough examination and investigation.
Community work: animal welfare (AW)
Veterinarians of our practice spend about 96 hours i.e. 8 days per month on AW work for the SPCA, St Francis Animal Rescue [founded by Rebecca Tilders and currently run by Verna Couper and Sue Rae Fox ] and individual impecunious pet owners. [In cities this burden is carried by AW organisations.
Community work: maintenance of nature trail
Besides the large amount of animal welfare work we do, the practice has re-opened and maintained the Boschkloof nature trail on the outskirts of Humansdorp. Fallen exotic trees [black wattles] which were blocking the trail were sawed and chopped to enable hikers to enjoy the beautiful trail which winds its way through indigenous thicket and then follows the Boschkloof stream through indigenous forest. See media release about the trail below:
A Jewel on our doorstep
Boschkloof trail re-opened
After years of disuse, the scenic Boschkloof nature trail on the outskirts of Humansdorp, has been cleared of fallen exotic black wattle trees by Dr Francois van Niekerk of the Humansdorp Veterinary Clinic, together with the help of staff from the veterinary practice [especially the recently deceased Boesman Feni] and casual labour. Dr Van Niekerk and his partner, Dr Pieter van Vuuren, sponsored the cost of the labour, fuel for the chainsaw used on the black wattles and other costs.
There are two access points, either from the north-east corner of the traffic/fire department grounds just past the Koelkor abattoir or alternatively across the road from the offices of Moore-Stephens accountants, at the eastern end of Voortrekker Street, leaving Humansdorp on the road to Jeffreys Bay. It can be enjoyed as a short trail of about 50 – 60 minutes, by taking the marked short cut, or as a longer walk of about 1½ - 2 hours, depending on your pace. It is far better to take three or more hours and savour the beauty of nature rather than rushing it.
If you start from the Jeffreys Bay road, the first 100 meters of the trail follows an Eskom power line, but once you have crossed the Apple Express railway line, you are surrounded by thicket vegetation and short forest until the point where the trail drops down into the kloof and follows the stream through temperate forest back to the railway line.
The Boschkloof trail provides a wonderful excursion for nature-loving families and school outings and can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Pack some light refreshments [or a picnic!] and some sun-screen and enjoy a day out in one of our area’s secret beauty spots. On windy days when the beaches are miserable, the Boschkloof trail is sheltered from the wind for most of its length.
A walking stick will help you to cross the river especially if it is in flood.
If you would like to help preserve the indigenous vegetation in the kloof and maintain the trail as an asset for the community, you are welcome to help establish a support group for the trail, The Friends of the Boschkloof Trail.
Should you have queries or comment, or need a guide, you can contact Dr Francois van Niekerk on 042-295 1083
Continuing Professional Development [CPD]
CPD, also known as Continuing Education[CE] forms a very important part of our activities as staying up to date on new developments is an important element of veterinary practise. We therefore attend as many CPD events [refresher courses and congresses - local and international - as possible].