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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:03 pm 
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Ben Lamprecht – Part 4.


Ben mentioned that no Ranger in the Park can do his job without the assistance of man’s best friend.

At Kingfisherspruit he had two of them a Fox Terrier which was his veldt dog

After Woodlands the Lamprechts were transferred to Satara where they retired.

After leaving the SANPARKS they moved to Graskop where they had built their retirement house.

Ben mentioned that they were a very close knit group all depending and reliant on all.

His god son Steven is now the Ranger at Tshokwane. Ben and Ted Whitfield made many dusty tracks together in the Park, they enjoyed many evenings around a little camp fire together with their staff, listening to the sounds of the AFRICAN night and looking at the stars adorning the AFRICAN skies. Their friendship started in 1966 and still going strong.

Ben mentioned that there was always absolute trust and loyalty between the Rangers and their Shangane staff.

No matter how difficult or dangerous the situation was, you would always find your Tracker or Rifle Carrier or Field Ranger where you expected them to be, at your side when needed.

Ben mentioned that while he and Dirk were in Rhodesia they took two Field Rangers with them. They were inexperienced as far as Black Rhino were concerned and learnt a lot from Clem and Paul Coetzee who were well equipped and knowledgeable about the task ahead.

The method of capturing the Rhinos was they would set out on foot in the area where the Rhinos were expected to be a Tracker would be in the lead followed by the Darter followed by the Backup being either Ben or Dirk followed by the Rifle Carrier followed by a group of Bearers about eight to ten, carrying the equipment required for the task.

The tracker would follow the spoor and the darter would dart the animal and the backup would shoot if required.

They set off to a likely area, with much long grass and shrubs; they approached a pan with a lone dead tree in the middle.

All of a sudden there was a noise Ben suspected LIONS and called for his rifle, there was no one behind him the grass and shrubs gave way and out came angry Black Rhino they all turned and ran for the lone tree on the pan. Ben noticed the rapidly approaching tree was full of hanging and clinging bodies, he wondered if there was place for three more. Fortunately the Rhino lost interested and trotted off.

They caught the twelve Rhinos and kept them in the holding bomas until they could be transported to Kruger.

Ben mentioned one very sad experience, they found a Rhino in the thicket and darted her she did not run away she walked slowly and then fell over. They cautiously approached and there she was sound asleep. When the turned her over the found her little calf underneath her dead crushed by the weight of the cow. They learnt a valuable lesson – never dart a cow unless you were sure that if she had a calf it could also run away.

Ben mentioned that during this outing they caught two cows with calves; the calves were kept in a separate boma for fear of them being injured by their mothers while in the boma.

These little calves were quite wild in the beginning but soon tamed into affectionate little rubbery pet animals who would readily come to a visitor for just in case there was a bottle of milk to be had.

During the handing over ceremony Dolf Brynard who came to take possession of this donation was quite thrilled when the youngest of the two babies went onto parade on a leash led by one of the Kruger Filed Rangers.

All done the twelve adults and the two calves were loaded onto the Mercedes Benz Trucks donated by MB South Africa for the reintroduction of the Black Rhinos to KRUGER PARK.

Soon good byes were said to newly made friends and the dusty road to KRUGER was lying ahead, they arrived safely at their destination.

Ben used to walk a lot and he earned the name of Nqulu referring to this habit.

One day while out on patrol Ben in the Makhadzispruit area Ben came across a foundation and on investigation found pieces of cutlery as well as broken porcelain and other domestic pieces, this was later identified as part of a Steinaeckers Hors encampment dating back to the Anglo Boer War – 1899 to 1902.

Ben told me the tale of a deaf and dumb labourer employed by the late Ranger Ben Pretorius at Shingwedzi. This man had no fear anything crawling or wiggling or slithering, he had the habit of catching scorpions some of them deadly or a spider and would then promptly put them in his trousers pocket. No one knew why he caught them. He was never bitten or stung by any.

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 3:54 pm 
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Ben Lamprecht – Part 5.


Ben had quite a lot of experience about veldt driving and after a while he came across the idea of 4X4 excursions in the KRUGER PARK. He raised the idea with the officials and there was no response. He later enquired about his proposal and was referred to Mac Mc Donald who was in charge of activities. Mac gave Ben permission to submit a proposal. Ben contacted Toyota South Africa for a sponsored vehicle which was soon made available. He went the see Mac and soon Ben and Vanessa were exploring the KRUGER veldt, travelling and camping and enjoying what they were doing.

He went to see Mac again and then Mike English and Ben set out o and upon their return submitted a firm proposal which was favourably considered as a tourist facility under the guidance of a suitably qualified SANPARKS staff member – the birth of the 4X4 trails including the Lebombo Trail had taken place.

Ben mentioned that no Ranger could do his job without the assistance of man’s best friend.

While at Kingfisherspruit he had two one a Fox Terrier which was his veldt dog and Zulu a cross bred Boerboel/Ridgeback who was absolutely fearless. They were often awoken at night with all hell let loose finding an angry Zulu on one side of the fence and a Lion or Leopard on the other side having a row through te fence, Zulu never gave an inch.

While at Crocodile Bridge he had Ratel a crossbred Fox Terrier/ Doberman an extremely brave dog who was also very intelligent and an excellent tracker.

Ratel joined them at Aughrabies and often tracked down the Klipspringer who had escaped from their holding camp and chased them back to where they belong. The field staff often said that he would be an excellent sheep dog.

Brutus a crossbred Labrador/Ridgeback it was black and beautiful also hated all predators and also did not give way to any of them Lion or Leopard were intruders and had to keep their distance. Brutus’ time came when he got tick bite fever at Graskop. He was the last of man’s best friends of the Lamprechts.

After spending some time at Graskop they moved to and Estate bordering the eastern side of Nelspruit where Ben is managing the estate and enjoying the beautiful views of Shandon Estate.

Eldest son Leon shares a concession in the Selous and Lake Natron area where hunting and photographic safaris are undertaken, Ben is of opinion which I share with him that Tanzania is a beautiful country with friendly people and virtually crime free.

He says he was often involved in game census’ in South Africa but he could never imagine the vast herds of the Serengeti until he actually experienced them.

Daughter Marinda and her husband together with Ben’s pride and joy his two grand daughters are close by neighbours at Shandon Estate.

Youngest son Chris still often visits his parents and of course then they have to go “Die Wildtuin”.

While visiting the Lamprechts we saw many different bird species and also some of the smaller antelope species. Ben mentioned that Kudu are still often seen in the bush a Leopard was shot their not too long ago and the last Sable in the area was also poached a few years ago, fortunately the poacher was arrested and charged.

The Lamprecht family still love the place where they served for many years. Ben said that one of the advantages they have is being allowed to still make use of the outposts they established while in the Parks Board service. Their children and grandchildren are also convinced that this is the best place in creation.

Ben the tall soft spoken man who hated shooting an animal and who also hated poachers will always remain a good friend of mine.

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:05 pm 
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:thumbs_up: Thank you !!

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2010 5:36 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:10 am 
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Mike English Part 1.

Mike English was born in Zambia in 1934 where his father was a Bacteriologist in the Copper belt. Unfortunately Mr. English senior who was doing research on Polio succumbed to this dreadful illness at the age of 39 years in 1946. The English family consisting of Mrs. English the twins aged three years and the twelve old Mike then moved to Johannesburg, eventually Mrs. English settled in Somerset West.

Mike finished his school education at the St. Johns College in Johannesburg where his father had also received his schooling. Mike spent most of the short school holidays with his best friend at their farm at Louis Trichardt, near the Elim Hospital – Somerset West being too far. During one of his visits the father asked Mike what he intended doing after school, Mike replied that he would love to go farming, he was then offered to come the farm where he could learn how the farm and how o be a farmer. After completing his schooling he moved to Louis Trichardt and became a pupil farmer. Mike spent nine years on the farm along the Great Limpopo he lived in a tent and soon started building a rondavels, life here reminded him of the times of his youth along the Kafue River where he regularly used to join his father and his friends on their hunting safaris, here he then realised that this secluded lifestyle really was for him,

Mike tells of how he often went with Oom Johannes Henning the farmer, to the latter mentioned’s farm at Gravelotte along the Selati River where they went to dip cattle, them living on the back of the lorries and enjoying the tough outdoor life, here he got his exposure to the Lowveld. Lions were plentiful and many hours were spent in the veld looking for missing cattle and shooting rations for the African farm workers.

He then moved to Plaston near White River in the then Eastern Transvaal where he managed a citrus farm for two years. While at Plaston Mike and André (a Louis Trichardt girl) got engaged were married, here they spent a year of married life.

After a successful application with the National Parks Board for a position a Ranger in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, his predecessor’s mother in law visited the family and decided that her daughter was not to live in the bush, the poor fellow resigned for peace sake and Mike and Andre became the new couple at the Shangoni outpost about one km from the Park’s western border. The closest gate out of the park was the Giant Reefs Mine about sixty kilometres along the bushy track.

No wonder the mother in law did Mike a favour.

Mike mentioned that their little Zephyr did quite well on these roads, the nearest town being Louis Trichardt where the children received their schooling and the shopping was done.

Obviously the Grandparents often visited the Ranger couple at Shangoni, bringing the children for the week end.

Mike told the story about a poacher named Two Boy who stayed on the other side of the Park fence; he was well known to the Field staff and was always up to new tricks. Two Boy set snares and then came to collect his catch. The Rangers knew his foot prints but catching him was a very different story.

One day the Rangers set up their ambush at a snare and no one arrived, later that evening they returned to where they had left their bicycles to return to their picket. The tyres were all flat, land the pumps were missing. They decided to push their bicycles home, when they wanted to switch on the bicycle lamps – they were also missing. The following morning they returned to the snare and found that the poacher had collected his catch – all the work of Two Boy.


He used to approach the spot where the snare had been set and approximately twenty metres away stop, make himself visible, turn around and ran away, the Rangers in ambush would then spring the ambush and chase after the poacher who was quite a fast runner. By the time they got close to Two Boy he had already crossed the fence and outside the Park and disappear in the bush.

In this way he regularly escaped, obviously if the Rangers were not in ambush, he was not followed and he would return and collect his catch.

They devised a new strategy to catch the culprit, at the next ambush Two Boy arrived, made himself visible and ran off. The Rangers did not follow, the poacher stopped and returned, not suspecting that he was awaited by two very eager Rangers; Elias and Joao. Two Boy got busy chopping up his catch when the two Rangers sprang the ambush, Two Boy ran off but this time the Rangers were faster, Elias tried to catch him and Two Boy used his axe in defence Joao side stepped and thumped him with his rifle but. When Two Boy came around he found himself on his stomach with his hands cuffed behind his back and his head throbbing. The two Rangers called Mike who fetched them and handed the poacher over to the Police.

Two Boy spent six months in prison.

One day Mike went to fill up his vehicle at the Shingwedzi filling station and could not believe his – there was Two Boy. The poacher approached Mike and told him that he was to apply for a job with him, as instructed by the Prison Warders upon his release. Mike gave it a thought and then declined. However Two Boy promised Mike that the Boss would never regret it if he were to be appointed. Mike told him to go home and return to Shangoni in a fortnight.

In the meantime Mike consulted with his Field Staff who did not quite like the idea, but eventually they all decided to give Two Boy an opportunity to correct his previous wrong doings. Two Boy became a good Field ranger as many other ex poacher before and after him had done, he kept his promise – Mike never regretted this appointment.

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:15 am 
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Mike English Part 2.

Mike was always impressed by the loyalty and diligence of his Black Field Staff, the people without the National parks Board could never be without.

He mentioned the following: One day his Field rangers came upon a spot where a Lion, a Hyaena and a Zebra had been caught in snares, as it was already close to dark, they decided to return the following morning.

The following morning the snares had been cleared, the two Rangers then found another snare with a strangled Impala; they decided to set an ambush. Soon afterwards the two poachers appeared, the Rangers caught one of them, the other then attacked them with his axe, one of the Rangers moved backwards to avoid the attack and tripped over, the poacher came down on him with his axe. The fallen Ranger still had time to aim and fire, the poacher was fatally wounded.

Another instance was while when two Field Rangers Jan and Charlie were on patrol and came across two poachers who ran off, they were followed, one turned upon Charlie and stabbed him in the chest, Charlie tackled the poacher and handcuffed him. Jan was bleeding and needed help.

Charlie told the cuffed poacher to carry Jan’s rifle and come with, while he carried his own and lifted the bleeding Jan onto his shoulders and carried him back to the road. Here the poacher was tied to a tree. Jan was left behind while Charlie set off on his bicycle to fetch help for the wounded Jan.

Jan Ndluli spent some time in hospital where he completely recovered from his ordeal, he was very thankful towards Charlie Nkuna who later became the icon of an exemplary Filed Ranger.

Mike remarked that these people never looked at their watches, or got too cold or were too hungry or too got hot or too were ill too wet to do their job, no distance was too far for them. They did the job with pride and passion that is seldomnly matched.

Mike tells of a tragedy that came over Field Ranger Cement.

Here below is a reconstruction of the incident. Cement was on his bicycle travelling from Punda Maria Rest Camp to the Punda Maria Entrance Gate when an Elephant charged him, Cement jumped off his bicycle and fled into the bush.

When all seemed peaceful again; Cement returned to his bicycle, upon reaching the road, the Elephant charged again and grabbed the Ranger drew him closer, threw him to the ground and gouged him just below his chest. After being told about the tragedy, Don Lowe the Regional Ranger for Punda Maria and Mike set out to find the rogue animal, they followed the spoor, when it was too dark they returned to Punda. The following morning Don and Koos Smit another Ranger went out and tracked the rogue with its blooded tusks and shot it.

No one could ever imagine what had caused the attack; the only possible explanation was the unpredictability of wild animals.

Mike told of another incident while still at Shangoni, one of the Black Field Rangers had a premonition of himself being killed. Ranger Emanuel was soon afterwards badly injured but recovered completely.

A while later two Field Rangers reported to wife André that they had come across the tracks of a Leopard, it seemed to be dragging a spring loaded trap along by one foot. Chain marks were also visible in the sand.

Mike was at SKUKUZA and was radioed by André about this report. Mike requested Koos Smit to investigate. Koos accompanied by two of his Field Rangers set off to Shangoni, upon their arrival; Manuel was requested to accompany them.

Manuel was not very keen as he was still worried about his dream. He reluctantly joined.

The tracks were found and followed up to a spot where they disappeared in some thick shrubbery. The party surrounded the bush, Koos threw a piece of wood into the bush to flush the Leopard, the animal immediately reacted and went for Koos, for some unknown reason it changed direction and went for Emanuel. Koos pulled his trigger and shot the Leopard through the shoulder of the leg to which was caught in the trap. The two Filed Rangers fired and hit the body of the now crazed Leopard. Before Emanuel could lift his rifle the Leopard was upon him, the fallen Emanuel held his rifle horizontally aloft in defence, sticking it into the animal’s mouth.

Koos jumped forward and shot and killed the female Leopard on top of Emanuel, using his revolver.

The quite badly injured Emanuel was rushed to the Elim Hospital where he was kept and treated. Fortunately Emanuel recovered after quite a long period of convalescence, all were very pleased that his premonition never materialised.

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Mike English Part 3.

In the meantime the Department of Bantu Affairs had decided to move the Makuleke people from the area between the Limpopo and the Levhuvu Rivers as there was hardly any infrastructure, very few navigable roads, no shops, and no medical clinics. The area was originally populated by the Venda People; the Makuleke People under the leadership of Chief Phele, moved from Mozambique during the 18th century and chased them off their land, after much bloodshed.

When he became aware of the possible relocation of the Makuleke People, Mashangane made it his business to get involved. He often visited the area in the company of the previous occupants of the area, many historical sites e.g. old cairns indicating borders as agreed in yonder days by the Chief Phele and the Venda Tribal Chiefs, ancestral graves and other places of historical value and other interests were indicated on these excursions.

Mike spent many weeks with land surveyors in the veld and also many hours discussing and arguing about where the borders should be.

Very often of the tribal chiefs would complain that of their land was been encroached on. Mr. Daan de Wel Nel the then Bantu Affairs Commissioner would contact the National parks Board, the whole process would be halted, much time was spent by all involved establishing the facts and ten again continuing.

A big problem with the addition of the Makuleke Area to KRUGER was an agreement between the Union of South Africa Government and that of the Rhodesias dating back to the early 1940s that the area could not become part of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK unless it was fenced off at the northern border.

There were many arguments regarding the northern border, Mike felt that the border should be at the Limpopo River, others felt different – it should be further south and east for some obscure reason. Mike realised that many pans would be separated by a fence, cutting off the movement of the Hippo frequenting the pans in the area, the pans in question were the Nyavadi and Spokonyolo . Mike seeked assistance from his friend Pieter Mansveldt the State Veterinarian at Louis Trichardt, together they motivated why the borders should be where they currently are, fortunately sense eventually prevailed and the boundaries were set.

It was after much consultation decided and agreed that the Makuleke People would be moved to the area west of Shangoni similar in climate and of a larger area but with much more infrastructure and facilities in exchange for the area which they had previously occupied, a large part of the Shangoni area was offered in exchange for the Makuleke area, it was a morgen for morgen exchange, the shortfall to the National parks would come from a part of the Numbi Area,

The Makuleke people were resettled during 1968.

The fence was erected by the State Veterinarian Department and the Pafuri area became part of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Later on when the Numbi Area was to be handed over the Bantu Affairs Department refused, the reason given was that the Numbi Area belonged to the Southern tribes and could not be used as compensation for the land lost at Shangoni as different tribal land may not be used to compensate for one another.

Mike applied for a transfer to the Makuleke Area. The transfer was approved but could not be immediately take place as there was no accommodation. No funds were available for Ranger’s accommodation. Three Field pickets were first set out and manned. The area was from the Great Limpopo River in the north to the Levhuvu in the south and from the western border where the Pafuri Gate is to Crook’s Corner.

Johan Klopper who at that stage was the District Ranger at Punda took charge of the area regularly visited the newly acquired area inviting the next incumbent Ranger to join. The two did regular patrols together; Mike learnt to know the area very well.

Very often the Klopper and English families together with Ben and Quarta Pretorius from Shingwedzi camped in this beautiful part of AFRICA. Mike and André were really looking forward to the day they could move into their new post.

Eventually after nine years at Shangoni the English family moved to Pafuri. He said they were quite sad when the moment came as they had quite strong ties with his Field Staff, where they were mostly on their own and where they had gotten accustomed to relying and supporting one another.

Mike learnt to really love his new post. It was unspoilt, wild possibly still similar to what the Great creator of all had envisaged. The birdlife was exceptional, as is still today. Many plant species found nowhere else in the Park grew here in great abundance.

It was here in 1973, that the seed for walking tours in the Park was planted; Mike said that this gem of AFRICA could not be kept away from the public, it had to be shared. Fortunately it germinated into what we today know and enjoy as the Wilderness Trails in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. The history about this may be read by those interested in the postings “The History of Wilderness Trails in KRUGER” in the Kruger National Park forum.

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:06 pm 
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I really love this thread. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Been following it sinds the beginning. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:43 pm 
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Thanks my pleasure.
I am pleased to be able to share what I have and had thepleasure of. :)

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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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Mike English Part 4.

As everyone knows there is no bridge at Crook’s Corner where the Pafuri Ranger’s house was and there was also no road from the Pafuri Bridge. Getting to the Rangers post was by means of crossing the Levhuvu River in a little rowing boat.

Mike tells of a now amusing incident when he and Number One his assistant went to fetch rations and other supplies from Shingwedzi. About a tonne of supplies were fetched at time. Arriving at the crossing area Mike realised that they would have to get a move on as it was getting late in the afternoon, soon the Hippo would start leaving the river on their feeding excursion and they were not out of the way – beeeg beeeg trouble. Taking over a 210 litre drum of fuel was quite eventful.

The supplies had to be loaded onto the little boat and then rowed across and then offloaded on the far side. This process had to be repeated a few times as the capacity was not very much, when a bag of maize or a gas cylinder the draft was deep and the clearance not very much, maybe 10 to 15 cm.

The little boat was loaded and they set off across the Levhuvu, they went a little way maybe a metre or so and then Mike noticed that despite all his efforts in rowing, they were not moving – they had got stuck on a hidden sandbank, what now, the river being infested with many hungry Crocodiles and also some Hippo of whom it did not take much to get very irritated.

Mike made a plan and asked Number One to get up and put his one leg on dry land and try and push the boat slowly to release it from the sandbank. Number One obliged and suddenly the little boat moved with Number One doing a split with one leg on dry land and the other in the moving boat. The boat started capsizing and both gas cylinders fell off drifting off in the strong flowing Levhuvu.

The Gas cylinders could not be lost so Mike had to chase them and catch them rowing and heaving and foreing like someone taking part in a regatta. The second cylinder was eventually caught a few hundred metres into Mozambique.

On return Mike noticed that Number One was still bone dry, he must have also walked on water.

When the Great Limpopo was in flood, the Levhuvu was blocked off and pushed back upstream causing overflowing into the swamps sometimes even up the Fever tree forest.

The children often very much enjoyed crossing the river in the above mentioned circumstances; evading tree stumps being washed down in the flood did not cause much alarm to them.

Mike mentioned that the original road to the Pafuri Gate was originally planned to be made through the Baobab forest near the Nyalaland Trails area, many arguments were raised about soil quality and economics and a few other far fetched ones, Willem v/d Riet was quite involved in this planning, splitting an area in excess of 500 km sq in two, fortunately Mike had an ally in Tertius Minnie the Parks Engineer and eventually the decision was made that the road would be made where it currently is. The bridge crossing the Levhuvu River has not yet collapsed as predicted by those pro towards the road through the Baobabs.

Mike mentioned that one of his treasured moments was when he discovered the nest of a pair of Woolly – necked Storks in the swamps of the Pafuri area, they were not known to be nesting this far south until then. He also tells that Kenneth Newman very often stayed with them while doing research for his books on birdlife; very many interesting days were spent together out in the Pafuri bush studying the prolific birdlife.

Mike mentions that Harold Mockford, who had spent more than forty years at Pafuri in the WNLA Employment, had many “tamed” wild animals, many of them were bought from Mozambicans in order to save them from anguish, and one of these was Badgie a very appropriate name for a Honey Badger. Badgie was a good pet, he kept intruders of all kinds away from the Mockford abode Mike mentioned that once he took a liking in somebody all was OK, he also seemed to have a great sense of humour as he would often creep up on his selected victim and then rattle his teeth and his claws causing quite a fright.

Harold was the first appointed Life Long Honorary Ranger in the KRUGER PARK.

After many years at Pafuri, the English Ranger family was transferred to Stolsnek in the south-western part of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. A Rangers post that was structured specifically to combat poaching which rife in that area.

Mike and his Ranger corps soon realised that the poachers do not just come and do their thing, they hid in sheltered areas until they guessed that they could reap their harvest of snared animals. They would then set out and visit the snares and take what had been killed or was still dying their agonising death.

Mike devised a grid system on maps and aerial photos using stereoscopes searching for likely hide outs in caves and overhangs.

During the ten years spent Stolsnek, while searching for these hideouts, Mashangane and his Field Rangers came across the rock art – aged hundreds of years – done by the Bushman or as I prefer to call them – the Little People, he discovered 120 sites with rock art, to Mike this was the absolute highlight of his career. Mike often used to go and camp in the bush once the bug had bitten him; he was very often accompanied by André and their two sons Don and Ross. Many happy times were shared during these explorations. Mike was so enthusiastic about his new interest that he had it registered as an official National Parks Board project.

Mike and his sons found Hyraxes on one of their excursions – they were supposed to be the first Whites to set eyes on this species, south of the Olifants River.

Leo Braack approached Mike during 2005 and asked whether he would be interested in assembling and leading a group of people in the Park in a search for further sites with these treasures.

Mike agreed. Sponsorship was obtained from Anglo American and the R250 000 was well spent as a further 240 sites were found by the group which included Conrad de Ross who is very knowledgeable on this subject, the finds were carefully mapped and recorded with very accurate geographic referencing during 2006.

On his own Mike since found a further fifty sites bringing his total up to one hundred and seventy.

Mike showed me a photograph of artwork not unlike that of the White Woman of the Brandberg in Namibia.

Many others were later involved in the interpretation of the artwork.

Natural destruction has taken place at many of the sights by dripping water and smoke and just old age causing of the salts and other minerals being washed out or fading. . . . .

Mike and I share our admiration for these little people. He has quite collection of tools used be thee interesting little group who did no one any harm, who only took what they needed and never wasted anything.

We spent quite a while going through his albums of photographs of these treasures.

Persons interested in these rock art sites should go the Wilderness trail named “the Bushman’s Trail” make a specific request to the Ranger in charge and you will return to base tired but satisfied – you will return home spiritually enriched.

Mike is now compiling a Dictionary of the Shangane Language – few whites are as fluent in this language as Mashangane. His intention is to at a later stage publish his dictionary. The only available Dictionary of the Shangane language was published by a Swiss Missionary in 1967. What amazed me is that the Shangane people have a name for a Springbok, a species now extinct in the area habituated by the Shangane People.

Mike loves the Shanganes; he says that they are a peaceful people who are very proud without being arrogant.

Mike states that most of his knowledge was acquired from his fellow Black Rangers of whom very few were not Shanganes they grew up in the bush and therefore had an unsurpassed knowledge that could never be acquired in a lecture room or in a book of any kind. They have a name for every plant, insect, bird, herbivore, carnivore, fish, reptile or whatever.

The Shanganes also have extensive knowledge about the medicinal and other uses of plants and minerals.

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:23 pm 
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Mike English Part 5.

While Stolsnek, Mike and André went to fetch the boys home from Nelspruit for the week -end, bringing a wide eyed school pal with. They entered at the Malelane gate, Mike driving their new blue Zephyr, André in the front passenger seat and the three boys in the rear.

They noticed a pair of youngish Lions alongside the bush road, they stopped and soon the Lions walked up to the car one raised itself at Andrés’ window and put its forepaws on the windowsill, André got quite upset as she did not want scratch marks on their new car. Without thinking she stuck out her hand and pushed the Lion away, it meekly obliged. Then reality struck the lady and she wound up the window and Mike told his wife that what she had done was not very clever, she could have been bitten. They then drove home; the school pal was quite astonished by this lady’s braveness, and really behaved very well all weekend.

The Sunday afternoon, taking the boys back to the Boarding school they again came across the young Lions, looking quite thin and very inquisitive, they again approached the car but the blue Zephyr drove off. The boys were dropped off at boarding school with the pal thanking them very grateful for the wonderful weekend spent.

On return Mike decided to report the two young Lions to Johan van Graan the Section Ranger at Malelane, Johan enquired about their markings and then confirmed that they were his tree hand reared cubs which he had recently released after finding them in the reeds after their golden coloured infuriated mother attacked him and of his Rangers while on patrol. Unfortunately she had to pay dearly for her instincts.

Johan tells the history of the cubs, there were three of them tiny little bundles of golden fur with darker spots found in the reeds, he decided to take them home, after all he had a heart and he had just shot their mother.

Arriving at home wife Kotie enquired about the new additions to the family. Tessa his black Staffie who had just weaned her pups came around and also sniffed around the newcomers, she wagged her tail and immediately adopted them as hers; the following morning Johan noticed the three little ones suckling, Kotie fed them some powdered milk mixed with egg yolk. That afternoon Johan noticed the three again suckling from Tessa and to his amazement noticed that she again was in milk.

Tessa mothered the cubs, two survived and it apparently later was quite a commotion when the two survivors had a rough and tumble with their smaller “mother”, Tessa still held her ground even when they were much bigger than her, the youngsters paid her the necessary respect until the day Johan loaded them onto the back of his truck for the last time and left them behind at the carcass of Giraffe . . . .


Mike and André drove home and again came across the two juveniles, they stopped and they again came closer, they drove off and Mike decided to fetch his rifle and provide them with a ration of an Impala, he says he realised that what he was doing was not quite in accordance with the rules but he had to do them a good deed after his wife had been so rude towards them.

The two juveniles later grew up into lovely specimens and were often seen by the Parks staff and visiting tourists.

André tells of their dogs, one Waldie was a little Dachshund who loved going on drives with the family. Extreme pleasure chasing hares, it was quite amusing watching the chase the hare leading the way followed by the bobbing long body of the enthusiastic barking little brown dog. Waldie survived all the snakes, scorpions, Leopards, Caracals and other dangers of Kruger until the ripe old age of seventeen years. When his time came he was buried at Stolsnek in a little marked grave.

Mike and Andre spent only eleven months of his whole career in a Rest Camp the rest of his time was spent in Outposts.

When transferred to Satara Mike decided that he had had enough as he just could not fit in with that environment and decided to resign from the National Parks Board employ. Fortunately there was a vacancy at the WNLA offices at Mike’s beloved Pafuri Area. Mike and Andre spent their last four years in KRUGER here at Pafuri where he and his friend Harold Mockford worked very close together, amongst others Mike managed the Chamber of Mines recreation area at Pafuri. While at Pafuri Mike also still in close co operation with the KRUGER PARKS Department of Nature Conservation.

Don is married to the daughter of Ted Whitfield and is now the District ranger at Malelane; their grandchildren are the pride and joy of Mike and André.

Ross went to University and had just completed his studies towards his honours degree also in the natural sciences when he was tragically killed in a vehicle accident.

Mike and André are now spending their retirement at White River their house has quite a few pieces of memorabilia accumulated during his career in KRUGER, one cannot miss the paintings decorating their walls most of them done by the artist André English.

Much time is still spent in the place they love so much, visiting the children at Malelane and travelling on roads still so familiar to them, I often wonder what really crosses their minds while travelling their history.

Visiting the remarkable English family is always a great pleasure, time flies while they share their memories, fortunately there is always a next time.

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:56 pm 
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Man’s Best Friend.

Man’s best friend has always been part of the Ranger’s life.

They give their all, very often their lives to their master.

Most of them are not thoroughbreds according to the kennel union but as far as being good companions, they are of the absolute best, very often they were the only company a Ranger on patrol had while sitting at his little fire listening to the sounds of the AFRICAN BUSH, when all has quietened down and the flames have turned to embers and the master and other staff had gone to sleep, the faithful companion would still be on alert and warn of any possible danger approaching.

Very few Rangers would follow a dangerous animal without the assistance of his trusted friend; for he knew very well that a warning would be given in time, very often when charged the dogs would delay the charge by diverting the beast giving the master time to take evasive action or to aim and shoot.

The Rangers always knew that the wife and children would be safe at home while out on patrol as faithful “Oubaas” or “Wagter” or “Leeu” or “Flash” or “Vivo” or “Bonzo” or “Tess” or “Mary” or “Jock” would do their duty.

Many of them were Foxterriers or Staffies or Ridgebacks or Bull Terriers or Retrievers or Labradors or a mixture of the mentioned, some of them were of some very strange origin.

Johan van Graan who was stationed at Malelane had a black Staffie – Tess she adopted three Lion cubs and reared two of them.

Tess was very fond of the van Graan daughters, when neither Johan nor Kotie were in the vicinity one would know Tess would be close by. One afternoon the girls were playing on the lawn closely watched by Tess, all of a sudden there was a huge commotion and then all was quiet; on the lawn lay a huge dead Black Mamba, the girls were safe and little while later Tess paid the ultimate sacrifice, her little grave is one of many close by to the Stevenson Hamilton Library at SKUKUZA.

Gus Adendorff who was then stationed at Shingwedzi told of “Ripper”. One late afternoon one of the Field rangers – John reported that a Lioness had chased a young piccanin along the compound fence; fortunately she was on the outside. Gus and John set off, followed by the eager Ripper. Arriving at the compound the congregated group pointed to a clump of bushes on the outside.

Gus realised that it would be a matter of time and the Lioness would enter the compound and then a tragedy would follow, he had to shoot the Lioness.

Gus knew that Ripper had often tracked Lions and had sufficient experience to flush out the Lioness, he picked Ripper over the fence, and he immediately found the scent and charged into the bush. Little did Gus realise that he had just signed the death warrant of faithful Ripper.

The dog would charge and then retreat when the Lioness charged from the bush, by now it was too dark to make out clearly what was going on, the Lioness retreated back into the bush again followed by Ripper, there was a howl and Gus knew that his faithful RIPPER had been caught. Gus leapt over the fence followed by Jutas and John, Jutas grabbed Gus warning him that he would surely be killed, Gus was enraged and called for Phillip his truck driver to fetch the truck and shine the lights into the bush.

In the meantime Gus could hear the crunching of bones and he knew that he would never see RIPPER again.

The truck arrived and Gus and his two Field rangers got onto the back and directed Phillip to the spot. Gus despatched of the Lioness and found that her teeth were badly worn and that she was full of porcupine quills, a sure sign that she would be turning into a man-eater at the first opportunity.

Gus buried RIPPER together with the Lioness in a communal grave not far from the old ranger’s quarters at Shingwedzi.

Oom Gus also mentioned that Bubbles a small cross-bred foxy was one night caught by a Leopard which had entered the yard at Letaba, Gus was sleeping on the screened veranda, he head a yelp and immediately went to investigate, he must have disturbed the Leopard; as the Ranger found a bleeding Bubbles and now Leopard, apart from a few scars the little dog had no ill after effects from the experience and lived onto a ripe old age, never losing its courage.

However a few evenings later the Leopard returned and got into the aviary keeping Gus’ Pels Fishing owl.

Oom Gus also made mention that very often his dogs would worry a charging Elephant by biting its hind legs.

Peter Stark a Ranger from Etosha also confirmed that very often a charging Elephant would be attacked by his accompanying dogs, also biting its feet and thus allowing him to get out of the way and to safety.

Lynn van Rooyen also tells that he very often went into the veld armed only with two or three of his very faithful friends.

Col. Stevenson Hamilton very seldomnly went into the bush without his dogs. They often followed dangerous animals in hot pursuit and lost their lives when the animal crossed a river and they were taken by crocodiles.

Major Frazer a bachelor had a whole pack of dogs who kept him company, it was often told that he would first attend to the dogs and then to his staff and then to himself.

No matter how big or small, there was always a bond between the Ranger and his family and the staff with their trustworthy four legged companions with their wagging tails and drooling tongues and shining eyes, no wonder the little cemetery behind the library brings back so many memories . . . . .

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:33 pm 
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gmlsmit, thanks again for this thread. Great job you`re doing here.


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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 2:16 pm 
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Harold Mockford.

No writing about the Pafuri area can be complete without making mention of Harold Mockford.

Harold and wife Tiny lived in the Pafuri area of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, where the tall kind Harold was employed as Recruiting and Administrative Officer for WNLA for 47 years starting in 1937.

The Mockfords truly loved Pafuri; very often refusing transfers and promotions meaning that they would have to leave this beautiful, remote part of South Africa.

Very few people knew the Pafuri Area as well as Harold.

The kopje where the WNLA post is was transformed into a little Eden of their own through their gardening skills using the indigenous trees, shrubs, bushes and flowers.

Tiny was the affectionate lady of the homestead who regularly hosted visiting friends; many of them ordinary and very often senior members of the National Parks Board, members of the SABC who were making programmes about KRUGER were often hosted by the couple. Many authors of books on nature visited the couple and tapped their knowledge.

Harold Mockford was appointed acting Customs and Immigrations Officer at the start of WW1, as well as a Special Constable of the South African Police.

The Mockford family played a significant part in the conservation history of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. They were truly caring nature lovers who through many years explored the area and during there walks and travels through the area, built up one of the most comprehensive collections of natural-history AFRICANA in the country.

Nothing missed their keen eyes, soil, Bushman rock art, archaeological interests, insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and plants were all integral parts of nature and therefore part of their lives.

Many orphaned animals found refuge at the Mockford homestead where they were kindly hand reared by Tiny.

While on one of his walks at the confluence of the Levhuvu and the Great Limpopo, on 4 July 1950, Harold Mockford could believe his eyes when he came across a live Zambezi shark swimming in the freshwaters of the rivers.

Harold and Tiny often recorded the first sighting of a rare plant, reptile or bird species in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

No wonder they were often referred to as the “Pafuri Rangers couple”.

The Mockfords had a wonderful relationship with the staff of KRUGER and all were always welcomed and looked after while just passing by or sometimes for a bit longer. They were extremely good friends of Gus and Pat Adendorff and Mike and Andre English. When in need these people always knew where to find assistance.

Harold was honoured by being appointed by the National Parks Board as the first Lifelong Honorary Ranger in the history of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Long after his retirement in 1985, “Shitsakise” was still remembered by all whoever came in contact with him as he truly was the “one who made others happy”.

_________________
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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 Post subject: Re: LEST WE FORGET
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 18, 2010 4:33 pm 
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This is such a special thread.
Thank you for sharing these stories with us.

Bornfree.

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- Gerald Hinde


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