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Bangu/Olifants gorge

Discuss the different camps and roads of the Kruger National Park
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wildtuinman
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Bangu/Olifants gorge

Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon May 16, 2005 7:40 am

From where to where does this gorge stretch? It looks awesome!! I heard that it is home to about a 1000 croc's. Biggest concentration in Africa. Footage I have seen of it showed crocs swarming all over the place. Is it possible to visit the gorge on a hike, mountain bike drive etc?

It is a magnificent area of the Park.

Is the gorge's future still in trouble with planned dam building outside the Park?

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon May 16, 2005 12:57 pm

francoisd wrote:I notice that the Olifants trail is in that area. Can people doing the trail get to the gorge? Maybe that's your way out WTM


That is the best chance francoisd, but the Olifants hike is a very popular one. It takes forever to get a opportunity to go on it. :lol:
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Getting to it

Unread postby KNP Spokesman » Mon May 16, 2005 2:56 pm

Hi Everyone

As you drive out of Olifants Camp, turn right and drive to an outlook post on top of a hill.
That will give you a fairly good idea on what the gorge looks like.
If that only makes you hungry, book yourself on the Olifants Wilderness Trail.
The trails hut itself is built very close to the river and, I am sure, the trails rangers will take you closer to it ...
Alternatively, you can go on one of the MBT.
I stand to be corrected but I think at least one of them goes pretty close!

Yes, yes and yes. There are indeed an estimated 1 000 crocs in the gorge (probably the biggest in the world too and certainly the densest population), the raising of the dam wall will impact negatively on the gorge itself and it is one of the most beautiful areas in the KNP!

ImageLarge

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Last edited by Elsa on Fri Feb 06, 2015 3:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Toddelelfe » Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:09 pm

I have the luck to see on german tv Terranova the last days reports from KNP called Parklife. I think the reports are from 2000. There was a report from the big flood and the damage in Skukuza, some reports of capture of game, about using the GPS-trackers from the fieldrangers and so on. Very lovely reports.
And there was a report about a Section-Ranger :?: named "Swanee" :?: He must capture a croc from a waste water dam and then they followed him to the Olifants Gorge. So much crocs! One lying near by an other. Great! Amazing! And he loves them all. He seems to be a very nice person who really loves his job.
:hmz: Thinking about the next trip :hmz:
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Unread postby Shidzidzii » Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:31 pm

"GORGE" was a picnic spot in the 60's and 70's .
It was also a camp in very early years, and it was even more primitive than Balule.
Count yourself priviledged to have visited it as a child because it was an impressive view and had a rich early history. I heard it was closed to general public when the first "wilderness areas" were set aside rather than "Rooi Gevaar".
Aparently the Olifants river below has an unbelievable density of Crocodiles especially large ones. The raising of Masingire dam wall in Mozambique could push water level up in the gorge
altering the ecosystem forever.

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Unread postby bushguy » Mon Aug 15, 2005 4:52 pm

Thanks Mikev.

Apparently the picnic spot attendant used to take visitors on walks down to the river. No gun or anything for protection! This also used to happen at Balule, and I guess still happens at Massorrini with the guide taking you up the mountain.

So it's name was actualy Gorge. My mother thought it was just our familie's name for it.

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Aug 29, 2005 8:54 am

What say, if any at all does SANP have in this project?
How can we help to put a stick in the spokes of this project?
Surely this project will mean the end of one of Africa's last unique eco-systems.

I am not at all happy with this. :evil:
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Unread postby francoisd » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:04 am

I did not see the insert, but I've read the article in Getaway. My opinion on this, and maybe I'll have to watch out for some bricks flying my way, is:
It's their part ot the river and it's their dam. They are free to do with what is theirs what they want. Nobody in SA asked them for permission when we started bulding dams in the Olifants that made the end supply of water to their country less. So why do they need to ask SA's permission to complete the building of their dam?

Yes, the raising of the dam wall will most propably have a negative impact on the gorge. And yes, it may have a negative impact on the crocodiles and fish populations but on the other hand it might not. The animals might find alternative places to carry on with their breeding activities.

*Francoisd trying to put his crash helmet on waiting for first bricks*
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Aug 29, 2005 9:16 am

Here comes first one, with some added on dagha mix for maximum result. :twisted:

I hear what you say francoisd, but the Olifants gorge is one of the most scenic places in the Park. It is an unique eco-system in Africa if not the world. About a 1000 croc's inhabit this area.

The scenic part of this gorge will then be lost forever.

There is enough water in the current dam there to support what ever they need water for. Do they realy need to raise this dam wall by 40m? They are now part of the transfrontier park, do they realy need to destroy one of these nature wonders which they form part of?

I realy feel heart-sore about this.

We too on SA soil are causing major problems in rivers. The amount of "slik" we are sending down as a result of mining activities that ends up in the Olifants river is also a huge concern.

Maybe I must wait till next Sunday's 50-50. They will be broadcasting the Moz side effect of this dam.
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Unread postby DinkyBird » Mon Aug 29, 2005 10:57 am

wildtuinman wrote:We too on SA soil are causing major problems in rivers. The amount of "slik" we are sending down as a result of mining activities that ends up in the Olifants river is also a huge concern.

I only caught part of the program last night - can you give more detail on the silt problems. I am sure they said as it is the fish cannot breath in the water at times and are seen coming to the surface to try and get oxygen?

I also thought that I heard that this dam wall has been 'being built' for 30 years now so this is not a new problem?
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Mon Aug 29, 2005 11:05 am

In a nutshell: As the water come from Mac mac pools it is so clear and clean that it can be consumed by humans. The it passes through plantations of big named companies, which take up much of the water. It then passes past mining activities which stuffs up even more of the quality of water. By the time it reaches the Park it looks like melted chocolate flowing in the river.

As you correctly pointed out, the silt suffocates fish. It also ends up on sandbanks creating a very sticky clay. With this silt other alien vegetation ends up alongside our rivers. this is a huge concern on its own. I think of it as SANP being a country on it own and SA and Moz doing everything possible to kill it.
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Unread postby richardharris » Sun Sep 04, 2005 6:37 pm

To return to the original question (!) they used to do day walks to a spectacular part of the gorge - at the confluence of the Letaba and the Olfants. And you can see large numbers of croc there!

Sadly they don't often do this now as it interfers with the 3 day trail - though I did manage to persuade them a couple of years ago.

Its worth asking.

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The Old Gorge Restcamp near Olifants

Unread postby etienne » Mon Nov 21, 2005 7:22 am

Can anybody still remember the old Gorge Restcamp near Olifants? Just interested to know why it was closed and if it is still accessible? It must have been a beautiful camp (with a view over the Olifants River gorge). I am sure there must be some forumites who have experienced this camp when they were children? 8)

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Unread postby Shidzidzii » Mon Nov 21, 2005 3:14 pm

Most people alive today will probably only remember it as a picnic site . It was a very primitive camp (more so even than Balule) and that only in the very early days .

There is a photo of Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton visiting it, with a lot of camping gear on his "bakkie" and a full staff contingent, in the book "Neem uit die Verlede" by Dr. U. de V. Pienaar . There seems to be a pole and bamboo (reeds) kitchen structure in the background and I don't think there were ever too many other structures like huts . Ablutions were done in wash stands (and chamber pots). You still get a wash stand in your hut on the wilderness trails to feel the old Africa .
Swimming with the crocodiles would not have been advised in that rapid flowing gorge.

Gus Adendorff wrote stories of camp life at Gorge in "Wild Company" . Aparently two German ladies got stuck there one night without much in the way of preparedness. Anyway the kind gentlemen staying in the camp had a party in their honour and one was even crowned "Queen of Gorge" with - you guessed it - the chamber pot .
I shudder to think of their hangovers as cold beers , ice etc. which we take for granted were definatly not available . Whiskey with water from a canvass bag was probably the best option and that part of the park was only open in winter so they survived to tell the tale .

In closing - an unforgetable quote from David Niven's "The Moons a Balloon" regarding his training as a cadet at Sandhurst Military College and the kit issued to commisioned officers.
"POT - CHAMBER - FOR THE USE OF GENTLEMEN OFFICERS ONLY".

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Unread postby Shidzidzii » Tue Nov 22, 2005 7:55 am

I did a little more research last night .

It was used as a post on early patrols by first rangers including Harry Wolhuter.

Gorge camp was "built" right after proclamation of the KNP , approx. 1927/28 using local materials ie. no cement . There were a couple of huts too. It therefore predates Balule - 1930/31 which was planned by Paul Selby and used (some) imported material .

There was one more photo in the book , and the hut roofs were shaped like Basuto hats - steep at the peak then bottoming out . Reed "walls" were much in evidence. This photo also shows the steep walls of the gorge in the background perfectly.
What a wilderness it must have been.

It was used after WW2 (during which few visitors came because of fuel rationing) but in the 1950's the accomodation was understandably scrapped and it became a picnic site only .

Harry Wolhuter in "Memories of a Game Ranger" wrote of his winter patrols (conducted from his summer HQ at M'timba) in the very early years of the Sabi Reserve .
"I heard some elephants trumpeting in the thick bush not far from the present Gorge restcamp . However I did not approach
them as I had no knowledge of elephants , in fact , I was rather scared of them ."
These were among the handfull of elephants left over in KNP which were not shot for ivory in 19th century - probably due to the inaccesable terrain .


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