Skip to content

SANParks.org Forums

View unanswered posts | View active topics






Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  Page 1 of 1
 [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: adw's From the past. KNP, Feb. '07
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:26 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
Macho Mouse was asking in another forum if anyone had information / stories from the past. My first trip to the KNP was way back in 1955 when I was 6 years old. My parents took the entire family (6 of us all in all) and we camped at Skukuza. There were no tar roads, no electricity and most of the toilets were of the long drop variety. Right up to the late sixtys / early seventys the most northerly camp you culd stay at was Letaba. Elephants were extremely hard to spot in the fiftys particularly down south. From what I can remember visitors were generally well behaved and of course the park was nowhere near as busy as it is now. I have an old map dating back to the late seventys and I enjoy comparing where we were able to ride. For instance the Fayi loop used to extend several 'miles' further south. Rhinos were only reintroduced to the park in the sixtys and my first Rhino was only spotted in 1983 near Pretoriuskop.
the story I have to tell was my first visit to the park without my parents. I had just started working in 1968 when my future wife and I went to stay with her Aunt in Phalaborwa over the Easter weekend. On a day visit my future wife and I drove into the park in my second hand Renault R8 and drove around Letaba and OLifants area. On our way back to Phalaborwa gate on the main road, which was still a gravel road and in a terrible condition. The corrugations rattled my fuel line off the fuel pump and petrol spewed out into the engine bay. The engine caught fire and we had to get out our vehicle. Fortunately the week before I left I bought a 99cent fire extinguisher from a motor spares shop. I emptied the entire contents and nearly extinguished the fire. Only the rubber from the fuel line was burning. I then grabbed handfulls of sand from the road and threw it over the remnants of the fire and finally extinguished the fire. After about 5 minutes another motorist arrived in a Ford Galaxy which already had 6 passengers. There was no way we were going to be left behind and we squeezed in. All 8 of us then road to Phalaborwa where a tow truck was arranged. I went with the tow truck to collect my vehicle and we were now travelling in the dark. (In those days there were no night drives and consequently we met no other traffic.)
Fortunately all ended well as the damage to my REnault was minor. We simply replaced the fuel hose and taped the ignition wires with insulation tape and hey presto we were able to drive back to the East Rand.
Finally I must say I am most grateful to my late parents who were passionate about the Park which has rubbed off onto me. I try and visit the Park at least 4 times a year. My late father was an excellent photographer and I have a number of his photos in my collection. The early photos are in black and white and the later photos are on slide. His cameras were nothing like the ones of today. Everthing was manual and some did not even have a built in light meter!!!.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: From the past
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2007 5:32 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
just a correction to what i said about the most Northerly camp you could stay at was Letaba. This was during the summer months. In winter you could of course stay at Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2007 3:44 pm 
Offline
Virtual Ranger
Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2004 12:08 pm
Posts: 500
Location: GAUTENG , S.A.
Yes I also remember the KNP facilities in the sixties and into the early seventies as very harsh . I can't even rememember there being refrigerators in the accomodation , which was basic with as many beds as could be squeezed in - thats all . The bathrooms also ran out of hot water often . Cooking was always around a central fire and only Skukuza had kitchens with coal stoves. The camps had plenty of thorns so you couldn't walk barefoot. All the roads where gravel . The sixties where a period of incessant drought but the game was good.
There was a very rudimentary booking system and everyone took their chances from camp to camp.

1972 to 1975 I was studying so that is a dead period for me but by 1976 when I made a few trips there had been a lot of new development. A lot of new accomodation with amenities and tar roads up to the Letaba river . Electricity was laid in most camps making fridges possible . There was now a period of good rains making game viewing more difficult until the early eighties when drought hit again (El Nino) .

In 1977 the tar road went up to Pafuri and the north was opened up all year . However Punda Maria had no fridges yet and you stayed in the old wattle and daub huts (pre-renovation) . Lights came on by way of a Lister generator at night but off at 9 pm . Hot water was coal fired donkey boiler .
Radio reception was not possible . The trip to Pafuri was like an adventure using TV Bulpins book as a guide .
I'm glad I had a last taste of the old park as we probably don't appreciate the facilities today as we should.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 4:06 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:51 am
Posts: 214
Location: Vanderbijlpark
I'm a bit younger than adw, but can remember my first trip to Pretoriuskop in 1962. We spent the whole holiday doing the loops around the camp and just once ventured to Skukuza and back. We saw none of the Big 5 and not a single animal from Numbi gate to the camp either ! Only on our first drive from camp that afternoon - and I saw it first - a kudu ! I got the reward for seeing the first animal - 5 cents !
We did however see wild dogs - a kudu crossed the road at high speed and dad slammed down the brakes. A few seconds later the road was swarming with wild dogs - 12 of them I think. They stayed just long enough for us to decide that they were wild dogs and not hyenas ( well we didn't decide - dad told us - he'd been to the park a few times before.)
There was no electricity in the huts, but Pretoriuskop had the "luxury" of communual fridges. It looked like a bank of pigeon hole sized post boxes and one could rent a little fridge for the duration of your stay.
I see in adw 's report that they had car trouble- well over the years we've had our fair share, but on that first trip, on the day we drove to Skukuza, our Simca ( can anyone remember those little cars ?) suddenly refused to change gears - we were stuck in second gear ! A Mercedes with a TJ registration stopped and offered to take mom and us kids to Skukuza to report to the AA mechanic. Now that was a trip to remember - my first time ever in a big Merc and one full of Joburgers too ! That species of mankind that dad warned us against - " they don't appreciate nature like us and always drive too fast " !!
We got to Skukuza and even before the AA mechanic could leave the camp in search for dad, he arrived - fixed the broken pin on the column shift gear stick himself !
We went back to Pretoriuskop in the afternoon via the only strip of tar road in the park - a short experimental tar road near Renosterkoppies dam - still there today ! Another experiment was the last kilometre leading into Skukuza - it was brick paved !
Enough for now - I've got enough memories to bore you to tears !!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:50 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 6:02 pm
Posts: 584
Location: South Africa
Really enjoyed reading all the stories! Thank you! :lol:

I can't relate my own memories from the past but one story that my husband and his mother have told me I found really interesting because over the past few years, with the elephant population growing, frenzied elephants are becoming increasingly common.

Ouma and SO arrived at a waterhole to discover a lion had just made a kill, an impala, and had subsequently collapsed in the shade of a bush nearby to recover.

In a single moment a wily crocodile leapt from the water and grabbed the impala, the lion sprang forward and a vicious tug of war ensued. Fascinated by what was happening in front of them they lost all interest in everything else around until a frantic knocking on the window of the car by a very irate ranger on a bicycle made them all jump. Wildly gesticulating to behind the car the ranger made a speedy and propitious departure into the bushes at the side of the waterhole.

When they spun around, to their dismay a young bull in musth broke through the bushes, ears wilding flapping, head reared, trumpeting loudly, then rolled his trunk under his head and put his ears back flat, (bad news in any scenario) and headed determinedly in their direction.

My SO's panic-stricken mum was left to best save the situation.
Needless to say they did make it, the sad part was that they never saw the end of the tug of war - what a pity!! :cry:

_________________
Member Stiffnecks
Member LIT club


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: From the past
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:11 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 3:30 pm
Posts: 702
Location: Back Home
I would like to share one more experience from the past. In January 1970 we spotted a pride of 34 lion ,yes 34 but that did include cubs as well. I was still driving my Renault R8 (the one that caught fire in the KNP a few years earlier). This was on the side road leading to the Leeupan just off the H1-2. Along came a black Pontiac with red upholstery with 4 adult occupants. Of course they stopped and looked at the lions as well. After a while the lions wandered off and the Pontiac then decided to leave as well. Rather than go the whole circular route the driver decided to take a short-cut across the veld where just a few minutes ago the lions were resting. My future wife and I were flabbergasted but low and behold justice was served. The rear wheels of the Pontiac sank into a patch of soft sand. The driver then made his next mistake and put his foot down and the wheels spun deeper and deeper. He tried reversing but he was well and truly 'beached'. Remember its January month ,middle of the morning, and their car is black (with red upholstery) and 34 lions are somewhere close-by. Nobody got out the car! My future wife and I struggled to control our mirth and all I could do was to lean out my window and shout to them that I would go to Skukuza and ask for help. The driver gave a sheepish thank you. On arrival at Skukuza reception I informed the official on duty. In those days it was almost like reporting to your Sergeant-Major. The official looked at his watch and replied 'I will give them another hour in the sun and then I will send the AA to tow them out'. I never did find out how long they were stuck there. Please remember that even expensive cars like the Pontiac did not have air-conditioners. If they were stuck there for 3-4 hours they must have been half-baked!


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:56 am 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 13666
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
FAC Member (2013)
My mother is 79 years old and has memories of my grandfather's love of the Park.

She came from a large family, 9 children. At any given period their car would have to squash at least 5 kids into the back seat.
In order to acheive this they had to sit one back and one forward (like sardines) and change positions at each stop. My mother suffered from car sickness, so she was always allowed the window seat.
Progress was slow and it was a two day drive from G'teng.
My grandfather would often stop at night before pitching his tent, often unaware of where they might be. (Its in the genes :redface: )
Once the family woke up to find that their tent had been pitched in the middle of a traffic circle. My mother wanted to die of humiliation, but my grandfather thought it rather amusing. Mostly they would just find themselves on farmers lands.
My mother's trips stopped when she and her younger sister contracted maleria.
To this day my mother hates camping. I, on the other hand, seem to have picked up on my grandfather's love of the bush.
I am visiting my mother tomorrow and I'll ask her whether she has any other memories of Kruger to share.

_________________
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2007 3:28 pm 
Offline
Junior Virtual Ranger
Junior Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:51 am
Posts: 214
Location: Vanderbijlpark
mikev wrote:
Hot water was coal fired donkey boiler .
.

We never set an alarm clock in those days - the staff started cleaning out the ash from the previous day and started a new fire a good hour before the camp gates opened - in the quiet pre dawn hours nobody could sleep through the noise !

adw wrote:
just a correction to what i said about the most Northerly camp you could stay at was Letaba. This was during the summer months. In winter you could of course stay at Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.


I can remember once when we arrived on the first day after Punda reopened after summer closure. The staff were still pruning back branches that had grown unchecked for the six months of summer. In some cases branches were obstructing access to some bungalows. They were working feverishly as the camp manager's wife, Aunt Kitty , was shouting instructions and everyone, even tourists, tried to stay in her good books !!

mikev wrote:
There was a very rudimentary booking system and everyone took their chances from camp to camp.

Rudimentary indeed - On our first visit, we booked into Pretoriuskop and went for our first drive. We came back to the camp late in the afternoon, only to find all our luggage standing outside in a light drizzle. Our hut was occupied by strangers who told us in no uncertain terms that we had to be out by 10 am ! We showed our reservation form to a puzzled reception official - a while later we were given the only alternative accommodation - a massive big 7 bed rondavel !

macho mouse wrote:
My mother's trips stopped when she and her younger sister contracted malaria.


I can't remember that we ever took any malaria prophylactics, but I do remember that the camp staff came round every afternoon with a spray pump with DDT and sprayed around and inside every hut. We also met a researcher of some kind in Skukuza once, who told us that they sprayed every stagnant pool of water around every camp !


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 7:54 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar
Award: Forumite of the Year & Travel Tale of the Year, Other Parks (2013)
Joined: Sat Feb 18, 2006 10:36 pm
Posts: 8372
Location: Lausanne (Switzerland)
My first night in camping (6 years ago) in the bush, no fence, alone, only me and the staff 100/200 m far, was terrify. In the middle of the night... big noise... So I don't dare to move, without a breath (and any cigarette to give me some courage) during 1-2 hours... a life (maybe only 20 min.!!!) :shock:
In the morning, just after the day rise... we look for what happend. Soap disappear, the pliable wash-stand empty... we analyse : some animal drink water (like a dog) and rob the soap, we think it was a hyena... who bubble during several days... Nobody heard... only me and I haven't dare to do a picture... too much scare.
Now I know the noise... sure not all.

_________________
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye
Le Petit Prince


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:32 pm 
Offline
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 8:47 pm
Posts: 13666
Location: meandering between senility and menopause
FAC Member (2013)
My mother told me that during the war years petrol was rationed and it was impossible to travel to Kruger.
I wonder how Kruger did during the war years :?:

_________________
The bird doesn't sing because it has answers, it sings because it has a song.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic This topic is locked, you cannot edit posts or make further replies.  [ 10 posts ] 



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group

Webcams Highlights

Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Addo Nossob Orpen Satara
Submitted by Lorinda at 17:36:15 Submitted by Lorinda at 20:44:18 Submitted by Lorinda at 20:21:36 Submitted by Karin Mitton at 08:52:42