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The Boers Probe the Hinterland
Thus was Great Trek born. In secret, 'Commissie (Commission) Treks were established to explore the areas to the north and report back to the Boers. One went west to what is now Namibia and returned with a disappointing report, the others that assessed the Zoutpansberg (Salt Pan Mountains) mountains (in the northern Transvaal) and Natal respectively returned with glowing reports of perennial water, adequate grazing, abundant game and empty land.
The high plateau of TransOrangia (from Bloemfontein through Johannesburg to the northern Transvaal) and the rolling green hills of Natal were empty because of the 'mfecane' - the crushing (or marauding).
The Results of the Commissie Treks
The northbound Commissie Trek encountered the Buys family in the Zoutpansberg but not any Matabele. The Natal Commissie Trek, comprising 21 men and one woman under Piet Uys were impressed not only with the sweet grazing but with the fact that Natal possessed a fine port, a necessity for a developing country.
The Voortrekkers had in mind a single destination for their people but now, two regions seemed to have presented themselves as equal candidates. This dilemma was to cause much dissent in the future. For the present however, nothing happened - except the talking.