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Observations over 50 years ....

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Meandering Mouse
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:42 am

A few of my memories:

The lack of enthusiasm by many about Berg n Dal.
It was a camp that broke the rules in terms of architecture.
It was the first camp to be considered thoroughly modern.

There were often protests at Bushbuckridge.
Many is the time we had to take a longer route.
Cars were often stoned and police were out in full force.
In those day we would often stay at :Sabie Sands" and we would have to check on the safety of roads before travelling.

The area around Kruger was really poor, shanty town at its worst.
The AIDS epidemic was becoming a reality and funeral parlours were springing up all over the place.
It was not unusual to see signs like: Special: Two tombstones for the price of one".
Another was, "Fresh meat sold here and underneath, funeral parlour".

We would have to write months before a trip requesting nights accommodation.
We would then be given written confirmation or refusal.
There was also a strict allowance on the number of nights we were allowed to stay.

There were very few foreign voices.
Those that came were usually on tours.

Far fewer sightings of elephant, rhinos and wilddog.
The hyenas were still being fed by tourists.

The larger camps would have wildlife movies at night and talk by a ranger.

Poaching was a problem, but more focused on ellies.

There were very active army bases on the Mozambique border.
Kobie's Krugers books give a bit of a sense of the army presence during that time.
It is also worth reading Bruce Brydon.

I never saw a black, coloured or Indian tourist. :( Anyone with a darker face was considered to be a servant.
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby RobertT » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:24 am

A lot of the bungalows had no locks and keys. 95 % of people you met on road greeted or acknowledged your presence.
Lion beer was as popular as a castle. :lol: :lol:
Fires at picnic sites for a quick braai.
Hum of generators in camp.

And no wife so my problems hadn't started yet. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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ndloti
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby ndloti » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:35 am

There was meticulous upkeep & neatness of camps & facilities.

Grantmissy wrote: ... the mid-90’s in Kruger was a good example when adult elephants were culled as a method to control the elephant population. As the orphaned elephants matured they became apparently very aggressive towards tourists and even the poor Rhino’s.


Family groups were isolated and all those were culled - possibly the odd elephant from a group was not isolated and lived .
My observations and experiences of elephant behaviour is much the same since culling was stopped.
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby johanrebel » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:10 am

Grantmissy wrote: What I remember form the '90's is the set menu's in the restaurants - fish, soup, main course and pudding.
Ja, and the food was dirt cheap, at least by the standards of overseas visitors like I. Although rather unimaginative, you would get a solid and hearty meal of consistent quality. Not exactly haute cuisine, but good enough.

Another feature was the large number of waiters, and the dinner was served at lunchtime on Sundays. I'm not sure it the latter was the case in all rest camps.

Johan

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby johanrebel » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:24 am

Meandering Mouse wrote:There were very few foreign voices.
Those that came were usually on tours.

There were not many tours either. Atlas Springbok and Welcome Tours offered 4 day / three night trips out of Johannesburg, including the Panorama route on the way down, and Comair flew guests into Skukuza airport. They had exclusive use of a few units around a little courtyard just east of the Skukuza gas station, and drove their guests around in VW Combis.
This operation later became Expressions of Africa,, and they switched to open game viewers.

The great thing about the '90s was that there were far fewer visitors, and far less traffic.
No speeding taxis, no open game viewing vehicles racing up and down the roads, no staff vehicles flying to the private lodges, not as many delivery vehicles, far fewer staff driving around in private cars, no Mozambique border travel etc.
You get the picture.

Johan

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby johanrebel » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:55 am

I have a book called Kruger National Park - Questions & Answers, which I see I bought in Skukuza on November 17th, 1992. It is in parts a really amusing read, because it shows how times have changed.

Some examples:

Q: Young people would sometimes like to have some sort of entertainment. Is this possible?

A: The KNP was never meant to be a pleasure resort. One could well imagine what the effect would be if dancing and discotheques were allowed.

Q: Are certain people taken out at night?

A: This is rarely done, and such trips are restricted to scientists and radio or televions teams if they are able to convince the authorities of their bona fides. If such a service were offered to the public, everyone would want to go out, causing considerable disturbance to game.


Well, that was until somebody realized that offering such a service was a money spinner, from then on it was perfectly all right for everybody to go out and cause consideralbe disturbance to game!

Q: How much accommodation is available in the KNP?

A: It is limited to 3,250 beds and 1,500 day visitors


An interesting figure, as the theoretical maximum capacity thus was 3,250 + 1,500 x 365 = 1,773,750 visitors per annum. That figure is substantially higher than the actual number of visitors last season, and much higher than the 669,167 who visited in the '89/'90 season. On an annual basis, only 37% of capacity was utilized. Makes you wonder why guests had to book 12 months ahead, were limited in the lenght of stay, etc. The latter restrictions admittedly only did apply in the March/April and June/July school vacations.

Q: Why are staff at the huts often reluctant to help visitors with the washing of dishes or grilling of meat?

A. It is not part of their official duties. However, they can perform these tasks in their spare time if it does not interfere with their official duties.


Johan
Last edited by johanrebel on Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby gmlsmit » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:36 pm

The 2010/2011 SANParks annual report, reports as follows:

2009/2010 - 1429904 visitors 83.9% occupancy rate.
2010/2011 - 1386287 visitors 76.0% occupancy rate.

My experience was never that one had to book twelve months ahead, some visitors did but not because the had to, they did so immediately after returning home from a wonderful nature and spiritual experience.

I can speak of experience as I have been visiting the KNP since 1967.

Quite often one had to change your planned itinerary during school holidays or during the Easter week-end but we usually got accommodation up to six months ahead during the mentioned periods and this was not because we had a contact. Outside the mentioned periods accommodation was available even at the "drop of a hat" opportunity. Even if we had make a visit to or phone the old National parks Board Head Office in the SANLAM Building situated in I think on the corner of Andries and Pretorius Street, Pretoria. It was just wonderful leaving with a blue hand written reservation in your hand and then preparations would start . . . .
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby Bennievis » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:57 pm

This was definately pre-90's so please forigve me, but if I don't ask now I will forget. Seeing that we have people with a wealth of information posting here: :thumbs_up:
I think my dad had some sort of a season ticket, as we used to go to the game reserve just about every weekend!! :big_eyes: This was in the late 60's and 70's. Did season tickets exist, or was it a form of a Wild Card.
Many thanks

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby Travelstory » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:21 pm

I knew you guys would be filled with wonderful information and I appreciate every bit of it.
I was asked about my books.
The first is "Domestic Departures - A Midlife Crisis Safari".
The second is "Traveling Africa - A Women's Guide".
The first is in print on Amazon as well as on all e-readers and apps.
The second is only on e-readers and apps.
The one I am working on is my first fiction; working title Serenity.
And as I mentioned, much of it takes place in South Africa including Knysna and Kruger but also Botswana. So I am researching Botswana in the early 90's as well.
Should anyone have any information to share on that please private message me and I will give you my email address.

I also have a ton of stories of Africa posted on my blog site which is travelingafrica.blogspot.com

I can't wait to continue reading all of the great posts.

Thank you tons!
Dana

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby WildThing » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:43 pm

I am not sure when the booking system was changed (maybe late 80s or early 90s), but I remember that for July school holidays you had to send in your booking choice before end July. During August you would get a reply as to whether you got what you asked for, or the best available, or nothing.

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby gmlsmit » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:54 pm

In December 1934 the Board approved season tickets at the cost of two pounds which entitled the holder, spouse and three friends to free entry, but provided no concession for the use of pontoons or rest camps. This system was later cancelled.

Season tickets were reintroduced in May 1947.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.

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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby Penny » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:34 am

The Radios in camps with the chalk board outside being the ONLY means of communication. Very often we would break the news of the birth of a baby in a family by chalking it on the board or leave a message for someone joining us to please bring Varsity results. If you went on a drive and your family had not yet arraived you could leave a message on the huge chalk boards and it was the first thing everyone checked. Wonderful service in the guesthouses where people like Augustyn at the Fish Eagle treated us to napkins folded a different way every night and we would rush back and share all our sightings with him. At the Struben cottage a few Barberton daisies were artistically arranged in a vase when the drinks table was prepared by the male attendant every evening and we always met up with the same people who started to recognise us - it was just awesome!
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby Rooies » Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:57 am

Remember the times before mobile phones? How often did we hear on national radio "We are looking for Mr Jo Soap. He is traveling between Pofadder and Putsonderwater in a blue Valiant car. If you see him please tell him to urgently contact Mr Koos van der Merwe at the following number...."
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby leervis » Sun Jun 10, 2012 7:57 pm

Always enjoyed the fires that were kept going at the picnic sites. We just had to take a spadefull of coals and we could start our braai. By the way, downloaded to my kindle, your first book and I am looking forward to starting it on my trip overseas in 4 weeks.
19 - 22 May Punda
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gmlsmit
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Re: Kruger Park During the early 90's

Unread postby gmlsmit » Mon Jun 11, 2012 9:29 am

The facts of the restrictions of time spent in the KNP:

1. The area north of Letaba was closed as from 1 October as the roads were graveled and rains often caused them to be non traversable, as well the threat of Malaria.

2. Restrictions were placed in order for more visitors to be able to visit the KNP, during the winter school holidays a visit was limited to 10 consecutive days and no more than five days in any one camp.

My bit about facilities for other races:

Yes I agree it was wrong and should not have been, then as today the KNP belongs to all South Africans and also to international nature loving visitors, it is one of the last few relatively unspoiled areas in the world.

I can clearly see why the view of those opposing the commercialization of our National parks is misunderstood, opposition to the commercialization has nothing whatsoever to do with racism or any hidden agendas, it has to do with keeping the Parks "simple and wild".

Everyone should please realize that our National Parks are there for the benefit mankind, this does not then mean that it can be overutelized. A line has to be drawn somewhere and according to scientific surveys the Marula Area is already being overutelized.

The 2010/2011 statistics indicate that the bed-nights in the whole of KNP had an occupancy level of 76% the previous year was 81%.

Expansion can not just take place because of the non availability of accommodation during peak periods.

However all the above is off topic and has nothing to do with: Kruger Park During the early 90's.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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