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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:27 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2008 2:02 pm
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Location: SA
BB i might just take you on about that offer.
I am busy with chapter 2. Problem is i have some viral sickness and i am very soar and aggetated.

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:56 pm 
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Wacktazz - hope you are serious about doing this book. Your topic has been so entertaining and such great stories.
I'm sure you could include amazing photos from over the years.
Lots of chapters and short stories - :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:46 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Yes fee. I am busy with it. Will post the first few sentences tonight.

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 8:40 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Hi all! Still alive and kicking, in skukuza. The place just cant get rid of me. Its just very, very busy at work. Hardly have time to post, but i read every now and then

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:33 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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It would be nice if others would share their stories, I agree. Anyway. I am at the game processing plant outside skukuza, where they are busy revamping. All I can say this is the biggest butchery I have ever seen

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Tue Nov 22, 2011 5:08 pm 
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Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
TheunsH wrote:
So the elephant culling is in the pipeline again? :hmz:


Huge number of hoops to jump through before that could be considered! There must be solid scientific evidence of the need (biodiversity threatened, etc); evidence that other methods of control have failed or would not be appropriate; then a plan must be drawn up with a specified responsible person in charge and submitted to govt for approval, together with a plan for public education re the whole thing. Only then might it become a reality.....

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:50 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Ok. No big parties in skukuza happened this weekend. I understand that other camp might not have been that lucky. I am now a Nelspruit resident and only visit my family over weekends, untill they get to move as well, which will be end of feb.
On my way to work this weekend had a pleasant sighting of a few cars in the middle of the road, being watched by lion. Wonder what they thought. Tin lions, that is

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:41 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Ok. For those of you have not read from the begining, let me try to paint a picture of life for most folk in the park. I will start of in the remote areas and then move to the big citys- skukuza and satara. A place like pk has a small village. I think there is 12 houses. The living quaters have probably 50 people staying there. Tshokwane has I would say 40 odd people. Nkhuhlu 8. Satara, I think 10 houses in the village with probably 80 people in the quaters. Lower sabie the same as pk.
Now in these and all the other camps, but skukuza, there is no facilities for staff. I am talking about a shop, bar or tavern, swimming pool, cafeteria, etc. Nada. Nothing. For security purposes I will not discuss ranger posts, but you can draw your own conclusion.
In skukuza there is the staff shop, which closes at 7. The golf club closes at 9, but most living in the quaters have no transport there. There is a few hundred staying in the quaters, and roughly 240 houses in the village.
The park works on salary scales, so in order to stay in the villages, you have to earn a certain salary. That means that most staying in the quaters, earns hardly enough to fed for their family, never mind for owing a car. So. I know some dont like to hear the word human on this forum, but day in and day out, most sit in their rooms ( in the quaters), except if they visit their family, which for some is a day to there in taxi and another back. Towns are thus out of the question, as taxis are only allowed to travel certain times. There is a bus system in place, whereby staff are taken outside, once a week. But the humans staying in the north, travel with the same bus from skukuza, which is a one day trip from skukuza.
Right. People signed up to work in the park. Fair enough. But it is financially impossible to have staff facilities in every camp. Most people in to bed probably around 8, except the restaurant staff. They are forced to pay R10 for a loaf of bread, because, where else can you buy? Buy outside and freeze? With what freezer. Watch tv? Only if you are lucky to have your own.
So in skukuza, there is the golf club or the two restaurants. But do you think someone who earns just over a thousand rand a month can and will pay park prices for a meal?
So, naturally over Christmas or New years, people, lets not call them human, will try to enjoy life in the park with their colleagues. If you stay in the quaters, you are not allowed to have friends or family stay over. In the villages its fine, but because you stay so far up in sa, and in a holiday resort, most of them only phone you once a year to tell you how they miss you, and by the way, "me and the wife and 4 kids would like to come and show uncle piet, which you have last seen when you were still in school, how the kruger park looks like "
I am a testimony that social life sucks in the park. I suppose its what you make of it. But have you ever lived in a small town with less than 500 people. Before you want to go to the toilet, everybody else knows that you were there already. I sat with my wife and kids around a fire old years eve, because I chose to. For kids, the only school is in skukuza or outside. Ditto.
Someone mentioned somewhere on a heated thread that its the same as when you visit a big city for the first time. It looks so nice. But if you read here, and you have kids and want to have a life, or feel like a pizza tonight, do not even try to imagine to move to the park. You have to be strong for that. I was, but i came to that point where I have to think of a better life for my kids and wife and about money

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Location: SA
I would like to stipulate that I chose to live in the park for so long. But when you have kids and they look forward to going to hazyview once a month or nearly kill your sister in laws' dogs when they see them from excitement, you know you deprive them of something. And that is the bottom line. Do you simply live in a place for you, or do you think of your family as well?

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:40 pm 
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Thank you Wacktazz, you have put perspective on what's it really like to live in Kruger! All the best for you and your lovely family...may you all be blessed! :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:52 pm 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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Whacktazz,

so good to hear "Kruger from another perspective" again.

I do think that most of us idealise life in Kruger.

I learnt to look from a slightly different angle, once when I lost my backpack
That is another story.

I had no money to "tip" those who handed it in.

Their response to my "left over vegg, onions.. and .. and.. and.." changed my view. Never, ever have I taken for granted what the staff go through.

particularly those in far off sections

little transpost
little food
no education and schools
no fresh veg

few hours with family

watching and smelling other people's joy.

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:34 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: SA
Ok. Maybe im a coward for punishment. I know I said I am finished with the forum, but the new years eve thread is just a joke. I know I only stayed in kruger for almost ten years or so and other for many longer. Hell. My wife has been here for 24. Some people for more than that, and some before them longer. If you read between the lines, you will probably see that I never said I am miserable, or my family for that matter, in the park. We just realised there is a world outside. A world where my kids can have fun. Where I can eat freakin KFC if I wanted to. I just realised that the park is not the same as couple of years back. Now please, the people who was offended by my remarks on the NY eve thread, please ask any staff member who stays in the park for more than even 5 years. They will tell you as well- things have changed. Most not for the better as well. And I do not complain or moan. I am just saying I made a decision. You know what is the sad part? I do not see things getting better soon. Hell, I remember when I started working at selati how much fun it was. How many friends I had. Ask a few forum members, theuns being amongst others, what great time we had in the bush. Ask martie. They will tell you. But those days are gone. Why? Because inconsidered staff screwed up and now every body has to pay. Days when I never locked my house when going away. Now people get into my house after being locked. My stuff stolen in my own house. In kruger! Finding beggers. In kruger! Paying R 22 for a double brandy. Up from R13(ok. I just had to put that in). Now, if I want to go to the post office to get my mail, the security asks me for my id card. To open my mail box?
So, as said. Everything has to change some time. Kruger is just not for me anymore. And I do not need sympathy from anyone. My bank manager gets enough of that.
Its just funny that on this forum, peeps complained about the people drinking over board at picnic sites, or on the roads. When sanparks put the rules in place, those same cowards that called for a ban, complained that they can now no longer have a beer at a water hole. Now that I tried to speak from another perspective, I get told I am an ar.se. I am now the victim of my own fate. Sorry for speaking my mind. With that being said, hopefully I offended some. Hey, its a cruel world.
Anyway. Whats it like living in kruger? Magic. No where else can you listen to hippos and lion at the same time, while sitting on your wooden deck. No where else is it a pleasure to show a tourist a lion for the first time. To see his/her face light up. No where else do you have to wait for elephants to move out of the way so you can enter your yard. And no where else have I touched a wild rhino before like I did there. Sela

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 3:55 am 
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Thank you for the sobering perspective on life in Kruger, Wacktazz. :thumbs_up: Yes, we city-hermits who have any appreciation for nature as we were designed to enjoy it - who wants to breathe in diesel fumes for an hour while clogged on a highway because of some irresponsible driver who had an accident, or stand in long queues to enjoy some life after work - dream constantly after a retirement in Kruger. Now it is put into more perspective, although as you so reminiscingly put it, the nature aspect is soul-lifting. Depends what your agenda for life is and indeed who shares your life with you.

One thing I know is that Kruger is changing irreversibly, mainly, and generally sadly, directed towards developments that are almost entirely profit-orientated. There are reasons for this, and some of those reasons are necessary. However, this sanctuary is slowly being destroyed like a cancer - if we allow hotels, or too many private camps to spring up, or parts of the Park to be used a convenient highway between non-conservation destinations, how far away are we from allowing mining?!

The bottom line is that so many people do not want to talk about such realities (after all, SANParks is paying for this site, and they don't want bad publicity) but it is the slow, inexorable decline in what the Park once stood for - unbridled dedication and pride in a unique heritage that only Africa, and so South Africa, possesses in the world - that is most worrying. With civilised development comes the inevitable negative ecological impact that humans have on their environment. This is because the largest majority of humans do not respect their environment and many are selfish in taking what they can now without considering how that will impact future generations. I wonder how Paul Kruger or Stevenson-Hamilton would have viewed the modern Kruger, and what they might have considered as viable options in keeping our beloved ((yes, it does belong to ALL of us!) Kruger the magically pristine Eden that is has been for most its 100+-year lifespan!

Which is why I go to Kruger as often as I can, and as many times out of season as I am able! I intensely dislike crowds (I get enough of that in Jo'burg); I am most disillusioned with the mass exodus of dozens of speeding public-transport vehicles from about an hour before gate close, and which so often destroy any meaningful sighting around what once was a magic hour of game viewing; I am saddened by so many modern tourists' attitudes in blatantly disregarding rules and, not only spoiling sightings for those that appreciate what they are seeing, but also endangering themselves and others around them by their actions; and I am most upset by the economic pressure that is bearing down upon our sanctuary, and so which is driving the Park to ever more expansive man-made developments. Which is why I try and see Kruger in as pristine state as I can as often as I can, ensuring that my daughter gets the maximum exposure to what is special in life; perhaps before it one day is no longer as special as it should be. Sometimes money cannot be measured in material things!

Yet, as much as I lament changes that I see as destructive to our beloved Kruger, I also hold out that, if enough people-in-the-know express - and indeed are allowed to express! - their experienced opinions, I believe that with enough brainstorming and concerted and mass support, we will keep Kruger the amazing place it has always been for me; for, despite an erosion in tranquility and good attitudes towards game-viewing, it still is by far one of the most spectacular holidays anyone could ever experience! And, like a gambler looking for that one huge win, sometimes the tourist is privileged and blessed to see a once-in-a-lifetime sighting which makes living on this earth entirely worthwhile! Although, come to think of it, so does watching a herd of impala stotting, or a dozen giraffe loping through the bush, or those termites constructing their hills, or that spider spinning a web of such geometric intricacy in such a short space of time, or a zebra foal suckling, or, or , or ......... :D :D :D

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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:30 pm 
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You know, I visit the forums every day, mostly just lurking in the background, reading what people have to say, and finding the various opinions fascinating - but now feel the need to just give my 2 cents worth (for what it is worth of course :D )

I work in the Tourism Industry, for a large operator that has camps all over africa and is 100% dedicated to conserving the wilderness areas in which we operate and work.
This is my vocation - I contribute to the conservation of Africa's wildlife, not by sitting in the bush with a rifle waiting for a poacher, but by promoting reserves, camps and hotels that share the same values.

I contribute by sitting in an office for 10 hours a day, making sure that people get to see our beautiful country, that people fall in love with our country, and keep coming back to spend money here, and uplift our country; of course one of the perks of my job, is that I get to travel, often (Next KNP trip in 21 Days), to places that are way out of my price range, and normally I would not be able to afford. This is my vocation, this is MY choice. I take the good with the bad.

However, I have also been back of house (admittedly never at a Sanparks camp) but I have worked in some very impressive Game Lodges and reseves, all over africa - and this I think allows me to give a little perspective that some city dwellers do not seem to grasp. They simply try to compare their lives to their holidays in the camp - and so very quickly assume that people working in camps have that holiday feeling all of the time.

So here goes -

1) Your management couples and field rangers - are paid a pittance - yes you get perks - housing and meals if you are lucky - and why most of us do it - you get to live in an amazing place - the bush. This is a vocation, this is a choice, and you take the good with the bad (low salaries, and lack of modern amenities vs a life in the bush) See that word choice come back - you can choose to do this - you go and learn how to be a ranger, how to manage a lodge etc - so it is pretty well thought out really, a plan.

2) Your cleaning staff, Porters, Kitchen Staff etc - are paid even less, they often dont have much choice in choosing a job - remote rural areas - you take what you can get, a hungry belly and starving children are a very good motivation to go out and get a job - and then you take what you can get - there is very little choice in the matter.
3) Cleaning staff - are the most undervalued staff at a lodge, I once had to help clean an outside shower at a private lodge after a hyena had decided this was a good place to corner an impala - and let me tell you it was gruesome.
People on Holiday are messy, they feel that because they are paying top dollar to be at a lodge or resort or even a national park - they have the right to expect people to clean up after them.
Now, let me tell you - I have walked into rooms to supervise the cleaning staff, where drains had been blocked by vomit; people had missed a toilet, or simply used the shower instead (these are some of the more extreme cases).
The cleaning staff - have no choice but to knuckle down and clean it up - because if they dont, they get fired and then we are back to the empty bellies and crying children. They generally do not have the means to make their own decisions - their decisions are dictated by their circumstances. Can you seriously think of any one person, who says when they grow up they want to clean toilets - I cant - so lets please stop assuming that is how these people have ended up scrubbing your toilet.

I doubt that any person, who has not lived and worked in the bush for an extended period of time will fully understand the difficulty that these people face trying to make your holidays memorable. Often you are away from your family for a long period of time, your friends are the people you work with....Imagine the most annoying person in your office, and then imagine having to share a house with them...(i have the signed t-shirt if anyone would like to see it)

I have often heard people say, they could easily move to the bush and be very happy there, hell, I was one of them - and I can tell you, it took me a number of years to get used to it, until you have done it - dont assume it is easy.
Imagine, the middle of winter, and you dont have power - you need to be at work by 04:30 am to prep for early morning game drive - and you need to take a cold shower (5 days in a row - because the generator is for guests) no use in trying to do it in the evening when you get home, because you leave the lodge way after the last people have gone to bed (remember they are on holiday - and they have the benefit of an afternoon siesta - while you need to try and unclog the pool because of a naughty monkey trying to kill the creepy crawly)

Try having Ellies rip out the water pipes to the swimming pool 24hours before a bridal party checks in, and working through the night to try and get the pool fixed, filled and blue so that wedding photos can be taken.
(yes - at the one lodge the pool was jinxed and an endless cause of sleepless nights)

I always laugh when the office workers around me get so excited that its time for the weekend to begin, because they are braai-ing and swimming and drinking, and then I always spare a thought for my ex colleagues who are currently still working in the bush, often having worked 3 weeks in a row, without even an evening off - and how busy they are going to be over the weekend, answering to the beck and call of some people they might never see again.

I also just want to say - I love Sanparks - I have had the pleasure of staying in each and every camp in KNP, of hiking Table Mountain over weekends, and growing up in what is now the Garden Route National Park. So I am not in anyway trying to discredit them, or question the way in which their staff are treated. I am simply trying to give a little background to what goes on behind the scenes.

Of course, every little creature you see - softens the blow of every inconvenience you encounter - and of course, if you are fortunate enough to be able - you can leave.

So - next time you want to moan about staff being grumpy, or inconveniencing your holiday - spare a thought for everything they endure every day, to be there and to make your stay a memorable one, and of course we all have our off days, where the boss chews us up and spits us out, or you are tired because you had a bad nights sleep - we all go through this, and showing a little bit of tolerance for our fellow man, can go a long way to improving everyone's day.

Live and let live, and life will be a much more pleasant experience.

So there are my 10 cents worth, have a lovely weekend everyone, I am off to a braai :redface:


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 Post subject: Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:13 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Posts: 448
Location: SA
Hi kayth. Thank you for your input and they. I fully agree with everything that was said. Sorry guys if you think I tried to bad mouth the park. That was never my intention. I also just tried to paint a realistic picture.
Had a nice braai with old knp friends of nine tonight and we chatted about the park. (they lived there for 5 years). They ran tshokwane and nkuhlu as well as pk and letaba restaurants. Had so much fun stories. Will share one or two tomorrow

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