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Old Kruger park Stories

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Bushmom
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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread postby Bushmom » Sun Mar 07, 2010 11:43 pm

It was definitely not my first visit, that being in 1950, but it was very funny at the time. It must have been around 1962 and wildlife in the camps were rife. One evening late my aunt, coming from the ablutions in her nightwear, was chatting to us through the screens on the stoep. Suddenly she cried "Voertsek, voertsek" (go away, go away) and tried to push the screen door open. There was an hyena sniffing at her feet and she was dancing and pushing alternately, never realising she should pull the door open. My mother helped her out of her misery by opening the door, but I do not think she went outside at night for the rest of the trip!
On that same trip my cousin ran after what he thought was an hyena to chase it away and it turned out to be a lioness.
If I think what a commotion the leopard in Tambotie caused, we must have been very brave!
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SilverSpur
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Re: Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:51 am

There has been no activity for awhile, I will be in Lower-Sabie next week. I have so many wonderful memories of the camp.

Will be staying in the single bed bungalow, they must be some of the first built in the camp.

I wonder who remembers the old entrance? Even before Sunset dam was built and before the current road to Shokwane. The old bridge was on the side where the restaurant is today..

Many many years ago, in a land far far away. How wonderful are those memories.

Thank you to my parents for introducing me to the Kruger so many years ago....

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Hugh
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Re: Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby Hugh » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:00 am

Oh I remember that road and bridge well We stayed there at LS on Honeymoon ... and had a meal or two at the very old restuarant.. long since gone.. Well its still there but not used for anything . Must really look up old photographs. No tarred roads then
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Re: Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:13 am

Do you remember the old Cafeteria, they had these old rails that you walked along in an L shape.

They made wonderful buff pies with gravy, salad and chips.

And what about the old shop, small but very effective.

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76 years visiting Kruger

Unread postby Guinea Fowl » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:20 pm

Hi everyone,

My first post on this site. Just wanted people to share their experiences and memories of the Kruger National Park. My father has been going to the Park now every year for 76 years! He is 86 years old and his first trip to Kruger was to Satara in 1934.

He says there was only one circle of huts then with a very low (non-electric!) fence, and the water was still brak. No shop or restaurant.

I will be bringing him back to Satara at the end of November this year. He is already very excited for another memory lane trip.

Anyone have other info about the camps back then or memories? Anyone been going to the Park longer than this?

Just curious!

Guinea Fowl
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Re: 76 years visiting Kruger

Unread postby Hippo-fan » Tue Sep 07, 2010 1:13 pm

Welcome Guinea fowl. I found this picture recently in a Dutch book on Kruger.

Image

This Skukuza in the thirties :shock: I've been wondering what it must have been like in Kruger then and your father actually experienced it. :big_eyes: He must have great stories to tell.
Kruger 2010 countdown

19 sept Letaba, 20-22 sept Sirheni, 23 sept Olifants, 24-26 sept Amukela (Balule Game Reserve), 27-28 sept Lower Sabie, 29-30 sept Skukuza, 1-2 oct. Shishangeni Camp Shonga , 3 oct. Lower Sabie, 4-5 oct Satara, 6 oct. Letaba

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Re: Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby bambazonke » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:52 pm

Hi all

have been going to the Park since I was a child and remember when the north was closed during the summer, and reservations being like gold dust, gravel roads and being boiled in the car.

My story however, concerns the late 80's, I had managed to get a long weekend (for me) during school holidays only camp available was Shingwedzi, so ES and I were off, SO was working, so couldn't come., and in accordance with family tradition first night meal in restaurant. The restaurant
had animal heads mounted on the walls, not just skulls and horns, and that night buffalo was on the menu. (it would have neem better as biltong) but while we are eating ES in a lound voice asks the manager why he shot the buffalo, not once but several times, and wanted to know why they could not go to a butchery and get meat like everyone else, WHY must they shoort the amimals?
I am by this stage trying to stifle laughter, at the expressions on other diners faces. Mind you never a dull moment with small children around :o
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Albert
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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread postby Albert » Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:12 pm

I guess my first memory of Kruger was when I was about 4 or 5 years old (that would have been in 1961/62).
I recall us (the entire family, mom, dad, four kids) in the family Kombi.
It was a day trip, think we went in at Numbi (we used to travel from the Cape to visit family in Pretoria, then went on to stay on smallholding on the Nelspruit-Sabie road).
Anyhow, it was a slightly rainy day, but in a single day trip we saw not only the big 5, but Cheetah as well! Memorable day, also remember getting smacked late in the afternoon when I had a fight with one of my brothers.
Then another memory, shortly thereafter (I think it was the same June/July period).
My dad checked in at Skukuza and found us accommodation in the park!
Three whole nights in Lower Sabie.
This was going to be the greatest event ever!
We arrived at Lower Sabie, then discovered that they had basically ploughed up a section of bush to the upriver area of the camp as it was then.
They had pitched tents for folks to use, in neat rows (but on a ploughed slope)
We had two tents for the family, I shared the tent with my parents, while my brothers and sister shared the other tent.
This was magic for a young kid.
Then the thunderstorms started, and the rain.
And it rained....at about 9 pm the water started flowing through the tent.
Shortly thereafter the central tent pole started falling over...By this time my siblings' tent had collapsed, and we were all in one tent, with all our luggage piled onto the bed, us sitting on the camp beds with 10 cm of water flowing through the tent.
The next few hours were spent like that, with my father and brothers sporadically rushing out into the rain to hammer in the tent pegs, to stop the tent from falling over.
For some or other reason, m parents decided to pack up the next morning....could not understand why, the sun was shining!
Searching for a Cape Eagle Owl....

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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread postby Rooies » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:21 pm

The first trip that can remember was July 1966.
On a specific day we travelled from Skukuza to Nwanedzi to have a picnic there.
(The S100 did not exist, so we took the S37)
At that stage we lived on a farm and I took my 'kettie' with me wherever I went and thought that my trusted 'kettie' would be adequate protection if a lion decided to attack.

On the way my father stopped to look at something in the distance.
It is then that I looked the to my right and saw this Francolin standing no more that 5 yards away from the car.
I aimed at him and he looked at me as if he was saying "you can't shoot me because this a game reserve"
I decided, bugger you and let loose with the 'kettie'

Frankie was no more but then all hell broke loose.
Dad took a swipe at me, got out of the vehicle and gave me the hiding of my life.
Back at Skukuza, my sister continued mocking me by saying "daddy hit you today-hay, daddy hit you today-hay"
So I grabbed one of her shoes and threw it into the Sabie river. Guess what happened next?........

On a serious note, some of the best memories were when we approached camp at dusk and smelled all the camp fires, the communal braais, the last minute shopping and the night sounds.
In some way, I wish I could relive those days. "Beam me back Scotty"
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In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:04 am

The pet cemetry got me thinking to the role that dogs and other animals have played in the development of the Park. As I write a group of specialy trained Fox hounds are being prepared to take on poachers. I would like this to be a testament to all those brave and loyal little creatures who have given their lives to protecting, or servicing the Park.

James Stevenson Hamilton realised in his very earliest days that dogs were needed to protect livestock, horses and donkeys from the many predators. Aquiring a good pack of dogs was an essential part of being a ranger.

On my favourite, though poignant stories concerns the first justice of the peace in the Park. Tim Healy was a very likable young Irishman who took up the position with gusto. His favourite dog was Mary. She suffered from heat stroke on a patrol one day. Healy carried her back 10kms to camp, but despite his best efforts she died.

Healy was besides himself with grief. Stevenson Hamilton reports that he made his black rangers stay up all night for a proper Irish wake and she was buried with all the suitable wailing to go with the loss of a loved one. (I can only imagine what his rangers must have thought).

He then placed a "tombstone" incribing her name and date of death. "In loving memory" it stated. Later this was taken by some visitors to be the grave of a child.

Sadly, Healy himself died young in the first world war. He left a very young widow and a son, "John".
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Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

Unread postby anabel1 » Thu Aug 09, 2012 11:50 am

What a sad story! Indeed a dog can be like a child to a person

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Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:58 am

Anabel, indeed.

The rangers needed to keep many dogs in the early days. Many were lost to snakes, crocs and of course sickness.

One of the most eccentric early rangers was Alexander Frazer, a crusty Scot.. I know a few crusty Scots :hmz: . I come from a line of crusty Scots :whistle: I strongly suspect that he was dyslexic. He refused to write anything and when once left in charge, left a legacy of chaos.

He hated people, in particular women and loved his dogs and whiskey... in no particular order. He was known to have as many as 28 dogs at a time.

There is the story told by Harry Wolhuter and Stevenson Hamilton of his strange habits. Harry Wolhuter once had to stay over at his camp for the night. It was winter and rather cold. Frazer gave Wolhuter one of his blankets and his bed. As the temperature dropped, Wolhuter felt that he needed a more substantial cover than one blanket.

He went to ask Frazer for another blanket and found Frazer covered by all his dogs and sleeping on the floor. It seems that he had given his only blanket to Wolhuter. It was not unusual for him to sleep covered and kept warm by his many dogs.

There is a lovely picture of Frazer in James Stevenson Hamilton's "South African Eden", where he is indeed surrounded by many, many dogs.
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Re: In loving memory, Mary aged 3 years

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:05 am

Poachers used dogs as well as the rangers. Harry Wolhuter would often have to shoot their packs as they were too often starved and covered with mange. Every so often he would spare a dog's life if he felt the dog had potential and could be an asset to his own pack.

One dog in particular took his fancy. He was intelligent, fearless and an asset to the pack. This dog would however continually break away and find his way home to his original owner. This was despite the conditions close to starvation and lack of any comforts.

Such is the loyalty of dogs.
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.

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Grantmissy
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Re: Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Aug 12, 2013 2:52 pm

Livingstone wrote:Tshokwane was similar but the tree was enclosed and it was a tearoom.
The water at Satara and Tshokwane was brackish and undrinkable
I remember Steravieta milk that was sold in the shops.


bambazonke wrote:why they could not go to a butchery and get meat like everyone else, WHY must they shoort the amimals?


Some funny/great/brilliant old Kruger stories here :clap: :clap: :clap:. The restaurants in Kruger were indeed a highlight of the trip and at least one meal in the Restaurants was Kruger tradition :D whether it was breakfast, lunch or dinner. I also remember the set menu’s in the restaurants they had in the 1980’s. We could not wait for the drumming to start – dinner time :P ! The Letaba Restaurant was our favorite – I guess the view has had something to do with it. Luckily that view is still the same today :thumbs_up:
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”

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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread postby Grantmissy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:09 pm

As a child I remember the smell of the Kruger veldt especially the grass after baking in the hot sun whilst eagerly waiting for the lions and hyenas to show themselves, the family braaivleis evenings, the openness and friendliness of the other Kruger goers and the light of the oil lamps from nightfall onwards. Those are my earliest memories.

Oh, also the Brasso copper fire hose fittings and the shiny Brasso taps in the camps - it reminded me of the brightest and most sparkling clean fire engine. I remember asking my grandfather why they kept the brasso so clean and he proudly told me: Because this is the Kruger. Just that and I knew he was right.
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”


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