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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:56 am 
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AT THE WATERHOLE . . . . . . PART 2

After arriving at a waterhole Stevenson-Hamilton would build a hide of reed or bushes from the surrounding bush, after carefully selecting the site, downwind from the drinking spot, with a slight reasonably unobstructed slope towards the water, now silience . . . . and no movement in the hide.

Eventually a few animals can be seen grazing or standing in the bush a few hundred metres away, as time goes on the numbers grow and the first comers begin slowly grazing towards the selected site . . . . .

Stevenson - Hamilton found it easy differentiating between animals coming to the waterhole and those intending to just graze along the banks. The former would approach very cautiously, stopping every few minutes to gaze around, especially with the wind being behind them. as the sense of smell was now of little use, they have to rely upon their eyesight and hearing alone to warn them of any pending danger . . . . . . Should the wind have been blowing in their direction or had other animals already been drinking, the approach would have with much more confidence.

Now, slowly in single file comes a troop of Wildebeeste, heads tossing, tails swatting and every now and then their " gnu gnu " is to be heard. then about fifty metres away they stop, as if by a silent command, turn and stampede madly away from the water for maybe eighty metres. They stop and look back and listen. This is an inbred manoeuver to induce any concealed eater of flesh to disclose itself. In this instance everything remains quiet and the herd slowly retraces it's steps.

Now about forty metres away, a little closer than previous, they stop and look. Eventually an older experienced cow will break way from the herd and scout her way slowly towards the water, stopping every few metres, looking, smelling and listening, very aware of the surrounding bush and the water in the pool. She scans every object - the rest of the herd watching her with the trust in her wisdom, gained over many years.

Then, she decides all is is safe and slowly walks straight down to drink, the rest of the herd now following. The Wildebeeste are joined by Zebra who come trotting down to the water, playfully kicking up and biting at one another, now there is a lot pushing and shoving and the accompanying "gnu gnu " and " hie hie hie " from the Zebras.

Now more animals join in, another herd of Wildebeeste has arrived and soon many animals have congregated, impatiently waiting to get down to the water.

Disputes between animals of the same species seem to be more frequent than those between different species. Waterbuck, Impala and more Zebra have arrived, at the occasional false alarm there is a lot of splashing as the animal mass rushes from the shallow pool followed by a short stampede and dashing up the incline. It is amazing how a single snort from an individual raises the immediate alarm. Less attention seems to be paid to an alarm made by a different species. However the whistle of a Reedbuck seemed to be an alarm to which all species immediately take heed.

Animals which have satisfied their thirst, immediately move off, normally in single file - away from the potentially dangerous area.

A movement in the bush and then a family of Warthogs come trotting down towards the water hole, tails stiffly erect, they stop uncertainly on the bank and impatiently await their turn, there a short stampede away from the water by the drinking Zebra and the Warthogs make use of their opportunity.

More Impala move down towards the water, stretching down towards the water in which their beautiful shapes and colours are reflected while sipping from the cool. . . . . Then a troop of baboons arrive, animals with very keen eyesight and a great awareness of the surroundings, they spot the hide, give an alarm call, there is a turbulent rush away from the water and the animals disappear in the bush, the cover blown - all to be heard now is the mourning " doe-doe-doe-doe " call of a Greenspotted Dove.

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Last edited by gmlsmit on Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 12:23 pm 
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THE EARLY RANGERS . . . . . PART 6

H.E. TOMLINSON

Herbert Ernest Tomlinson was appointed Ranger In the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK ( note where ) on 1 September 1927. This ex New Zealand batchelor first relieved Ranger de Laporte for two months at Crocodile Bridge, after Harold Trollope's resignation in 1928 he replaced the latter at Malelane for five years. Bert Tomlinson was a calm excellent marksman.

He was well built, softly spoken and very well liked. " Rivalo " a man of authority built an outside post at Mahulaspruit not far from Kemp's Cottage to keep an eye on the ganger and his staff. He did a lot for boys to introduce them to introduce them to and create a love for the AFRICAN bush. He amongst others took a group of Boy Scouts from Bloemfontein, on a wagon trip through his section. Just imagine the experiences relived and retold after returning home.

One evening, staying over in the veld while on patrol in his little lorry, in the Bumi area they pitched camp and all settled, the camp fire burning brightly in the dark Ranger Bert Tomlinson made himself some coffee, he did not have a spoon so he thought his knife left on the bonnet of the lorry would do He went to fetch the spoon and saw a dark shape, but with a cold shiver running down his spine, realised it was a Lion - three metres way- Bert grabbed his rifle standing against the radiator and tried to load it - a jam - he jumped into the lorry and switched on the lights- twelve pairs of greenish yellow eyes in a half moon close by in the bush stared back at him. He cleared the jammed rifle and shot three of the Lions before they could do any harm, the rest clearing off into the safety of darkness.

There was a need for a ranger in the northern part of the Park and Ranger Tomlinson was transferred in March 1933 where he built a tent camp on the Tsende River bank approximately one km to the northwest of the Grysbok waterhole ( north of the present MOPANI REST CAMP ).

The tented camp was moved to a more suitable area next to the Shingwedzi River - the start of the now beautiful SHINGWEDZI REST CAMP, in 1934. Here Bert Tomlinson built himself a comfortable cottage ( now where the Shingwedzi workshops are ). The area very soon became well visited during the open season.

A tourist officer was appointed and he ( George Meade ) and the Ranger started erecting more permanent accomodation during 1935. Material used was redundant, from Sabi Bridge, Lebombo- Ironwood poles chopped from the PUNDA MARIA area were all transported to the new building site by ox wagon, local clay bricks and thatch was used. The wooden poles were dipped into the locust poison mixture prior te being planted into the ground - no wonder even today unmarked by insects.

Impala lilies were planted, their pink and white blooms, as today, welcoming visitors.

Next time when visiting this beautiful camp and you stay over in one of the five bedded huts, please realise that you may be living in one of the original huts in the camp, maybe renovated, but the walls and the supporting pole structure could be seventy four years old.

Ranger Tomlinson built many roads and also two dams one at Mooiplaas and the other at Dzombo. The Mooiplaas dam still holding a wide expanse of water of good rains.

Foot and Mouth disease was diagnosed in some cattle herds at Moamba near Komati Poort. This soon spread into the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK and the surrounding areas, all domestic cloven hoofed animals in the stricken area had to be destroyed, the bodies buried in trenches dug by buldozer. In an effort a to kerb the spreading the disease foot dip trough was made at Dipene ( still to be seen today ) where people entering the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK from Mozambique had to wash their feet in some sort of disinfectant.

Although stock owners were compensated by the Government for their loss this was absolute disaster as to many natives, their cattle were their total riches.

Bert Tomlinson married his wife Martha at Elim during February 1940, the couple happily settling at SHINGWEDZI untill Ranger Herbert Ernest Tomlinson retired from service in 1949,. . . . a true pioneer.

E. Howe.

Stevenson- Hamilton was suffering from ill health, he informed the Board that due to his condition, he thought it better to leave the service and that a suitable replacement be appointed. He recommended Captain Elliot Howe from the Police, as the replacement. After much correspondence Howe was seconded from the Police for a year, after which it would be reconsidered. Howe joined the PARKS on 23 May 1928, but arrived at Sabi Bridge early April to be taught the ropes.

Stevenson - Hamilton left for Scotland during May 1928, the Commisionner of Police was not prepared to extend the secondment beyond the agreed twelve months.

" Mkonto " - spear or assegai, was a tough taskmaster and served with reasonable success, his knowledge of the bush was often doubted by the field staff. During his period of service a further 40 km of roads was built and rondavels were built at SATARA and the GORGE REST CAMPS.

Acting Warden Howe reported the sighting of a Black Rhino along the Selati line as well as a herd of Roan along the Acornhoek-Rabelais ( now Orpen ) Road outside the boundary of the PARK. Roan were reported to be plentiful in Mlondozi flats near Tshokwane.

Fortunately Stevenson - Hamiltons health improved and he could return to continue his duty at Sabi Bridge.

G.C.S. CROUS

Gerhardus Christoffel Snyman Crous was appointed Ranger at Tshokwane as from 1 January 1928.

A former seaman in the American Merchant Fleet he was well travelled.

This batchelor was extremely neat and well organized. Everything on its place and a place for everything.

No one was allowed to touch his well maintained rifles as their sweaty hands my cause rust to his prescious tools of the trade.

Neat and comprehensive correspondence and reports left his immaculate desk in time, as required.

Even his meals and tea drinking times were scheduled, arriving there out of schedule resulted in awaiting the next tea or meal time.

His favourite dish was well prepared fish, he was also well known for a tasty well prepared stew with Cane Rat as the main ingredient.

Ranger Crous once shot and killed an armed poacher, while on patrol near the Lebombo Mountains, during April 1929, he was charged for murder but was acquitted at the Trial held at Pilgrims Rest.

Crous shot a white Lion whilst stationed at Tshokwane ( the first reported white lion in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK ).

Ranger Crous relieved at SATARA during the period July - September 1928 before being transferred to LETABA., replacing Ledeboer who was transferred to SATARA.

Ranger Crous served at LETABA untill hir retirement on 31 December 1950. Ranger Crous was an extremely good road bulder and is responsible for many of the roads in the surrounding area. Crous was extremely proud of " his camp " LETABA and did much to improve tourist facilities and to make the camp attractive to visitors.

" Mashangana " he who can speak the Shangane language, built the Matilodam near the turnoff to Shingwedzi from tje Malopeni road.

Crous reported the following approximate game counts in the LETABA area in 1936- Elephant 150, Eland, Sable and Roan 50 of each, 80 Hippos in both Olifants and Letaba Rivers.

After his retirement from service he settled in White River, often visiting the place he loved so much, the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK often giving advice to the younger successors.

Gerhardus Christoffel Snyman Crous' time came in 1975, he was buried in White River with many friends in attendance.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 6:31 pm 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . PART 5

Some more native Rangers to be mentioned are Sergeant Jafuta Shitlave who was posted Sabi Bridge, highly respected by all who came in touch him. He was in charge of training new black Rangers, he was for many years after his time had come still remebered and respected for his dedication and strict discipline - truely a man among men !

Sinias Nylungwa who in 1940 saved a woman and her child from drowning in the flooded Crocodile River after they had been washed 400 metres downstream from the Railway bridge from which they had fallen, Sinias was awarded a Bronze Medal of the Royal Life Saving and Royal Humane Society as well as a reward of five pounds from the Board.

By the mid 1940's there were many black Rangers who had served between 25 and 35 of excellent service.

Corporal Malunzane Mhlongo saved the life of Ranger Geldenhuys after the latter had been attacked by a wounded Lpard.

The legendary Sergeant Nombolo Mdluli, who shot an attacking Lion from Ranger Trollope along the Hlambanyathi River. While at SHINGWEDZI as Corporal he man alone shot and killed a man eating Lion of whose skin Mrs Stevenson - Hamilton made him a hat.

Segeant Jan Hatlane after whom the Jan-se-pan near the airfield at Punda Maria served for many years in the northern camp area.

Njinja Ndlovu, Stevenson-Hamilton's right hand man died in 1945 after 35 years of dedicated and loyal service, of tuberculosis. Jerry Sibuye retired as cook after 62 yeras of service, he started of as a herdman in 1910.

Who will forget Samuel Maluleke who kept the PAFURI picnic spot, spotless for 30 years, who retired in the mid 1970's after 54 yaers of service, or Joël Zima who was in charge of running the NWANETSI Camp who retired 20 January 1985, after 47 years of dedication.

Who of the old timers will ever forget the welcoming smile and crack salute on the shiny assegai of JUDAS MASHELE at the Numbi Gate - 50 years is a long long time, possibly the most phographed PARKS BOARD employee ever.

Sergeant Amos Sibuye who was killed by some evil minded individual outside Malelane, driving over him with a tractor.

Then there is the sad end of Ranger Joseph Nkuna who on instruction from Harrly Wolhuter, patrolling near the confluence of the Phabeni spruit and the Sabie River was attacked by a Lion. There were no witnesses but the following was concluded.

The charge was over a very short distance, Joseph just had time to fire a normally well placed shot, unfortunately the Lion was only wounded and attacked him. Joseph lost grip of his rifle, he then used his hunting knife and stabbed the Lion three times behind the shoulder and twice in the chest, the last stab - fatal.The bleeding and torn apart Joseph crawled about 20 metres away and colapsed. The following day Joseph's father unknowingly walked across the sandy bed and came across the body of his son at a place where it appeared that the dying JOSEPH NKUNA tried to dig a little hole in the sand in an effort to get some seepage from the sand to quench his terrible thirst . . . . . . .

There are hundreds more names that could be mentioned of BLACK RANGERS who also gave their everything for the place they loved and truely cared for - the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. May you all rest in peace, you will live on in our memories. We thank you for the heritage left behind and we salute you. HAMBA KAHLE.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:14 pm 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . PART 6

Stevenson - Hamilton was quite knowledgeable about Lions. Here are some notes.

The voice of a Lion is not his least distinctive attribute. There is no other animal that could generate such a volume of sound, from the lungs. The roar of a Lion heard at close quarters impresses more by its volume than by its loudness. He said it was like the rumbling of an immense bass organ.

There exists a variety of tones of which the call or "roar " is just one. Two animals walking quietly together, the one follwing the other, keep up a kind of conversation of sighs and grunts. He also noted that at night they make wheezing noizes or a snoring sound - not from a sleeping animal but from one moving around.

One may often hear a long low moan which sometimes develops into a great volume of sound and then ends with a few grunts.

A charging or demonstrating Lion utters a series of coughing grunts of an alarming nature, however the most sinister and nerve shaking of all were the very low and deep continual purring which a very angry, wounded or cornered individual would make, laying with its head low on the front paws, tail twitching and fiery eyes piercing, meditating some very real aggressive action.

When a Lion really decides to do his best at vocalizing, he can be heard over an astonishing distance. At night or early morning with all else quiet and the breeze is favourable, the performance heard, may be presented up to eight km distant.

One can also often be mistaken when the sighs, grunts and other noises may seem further way than they actually are, many a hunter in the years gone by had this experience.

The sound heard, depends on the thickness of the bush and also the relative position of the Lion towards to listener. With a little experience one can easily distinguish between the gruffier and deeper sounds made by a male to those made by a female.

Lions hunted by man are silent and are seldomnly heard, even during the hours of dark. However where they are free and unbothered, they may often be heard from late afternoon, through the darkness and also welcoming the newly born day . . . . . . . .

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I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 4:35 pm 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . PART 7

More about Lions.

Healthy, well fed Lions living a family life in a pride, seldomnly attack humans, they seem to have an inborn fear and prefer to rather get out of the way, unfortunately sometimes circumstances force them to change their habits and become man eaters.

A Lion becomes a man-eater by force of circumstances or by chance. They seem to have no preference for Human, Dog or Hyaena flesh. They seem to have a dislike for the human smell as long they are not starved.

Once the fear or dislike has been overcome and it discovers how easy it is to kill its naturally feared enemy, habits change rapidly.

Lions living in a pride, act as a group with each having its own roll to fulfill. When they start growing older and the competition gets the upperhand, the once proud specimen, King of the Beasts, is expelled from the pride by the new King. The older one now has to catch his own, a role which he is not quite used to play.

As time goes by and the aches and the stiffness increases together with the blunting canines, it gets more difficuilt catching larger prey. Even mice and rats are now on the menu, very often the old King would try his luck with a Porcupine resulting in broken off quills, in its mouth, body - and its paws. Now anything edible, would suffice. Maybe the King had been injured by the horn of some animal it had caught - who else would know.

The Lion may now have to wander around picking up what had been left by others. The old King may be attracted to a native kraal by the sounds and smell of the cattle, one day while hanging around, the starving beast may encounter a child or a woman who may run away when seeing the predator. The running away means only one thing to the Lion - prey . . . . . and the woman or the child becomes the victim.

This was now the beginning, the starving animal has caught its prey. Next time hunger overcomes the animal, the process repeats itself, it now slowly loses the natural fear and becomes bolder, catching and eating its next easy victim, eventually it specializes in the easy prey untill itself is killed, hopefully sooner than later . . . . . .

In 1936 at the LETABA CAMP, a native was sleeping in his hut by himself. He bacame aware of a Lion trying to force the wooden door. Holding the door with all his strength he yelled at the top of his voice, for help, fortunately help came in the form of Ranger Crous. The Lion cleared off but not fast enough. Crous made out the skulking Lion in the lights of his vehicle, he shot and killed it - an old mangy starving male . . . . .

Young Lions also sometimes turn to man-eaters Like all carnivores they have the instinct to chase anything that runs away. Should young males who have been expelled from the pride be prowling around a village at night, seeking the goat or cattle pens and there meet a woman or a child, it is very often for them the beginning of their short lived man- eating career, either shot or caught in traps and then destroyed.

Close to a village just outside the PARK, five persons were killed by a single Lion in two days. It began with a woman and her baby who were killed and partially eaten, next was her husband who had gone out looking for her, later the same day a neighbour who came to visit. There was no alarm, strange as it may sound, the tragedies took place a few hundred meters from the huts. it was later supposed that the villagers had been off to a beer drink in one of the neighbouring villages.

Finally the next day a man out hunting, was set upon, he managed to cry out before he was killed. The cries were heard and on investigation the body was found. About sixty men armed with knobkerries, spears and assegais set out together with their dogs, they surrounded a patch of grass in where the Lion was concealed. The Lion rushed out and was killed without much trouble- it was a young Lioness barely two years old, emaciated and so weak it was astonishing that she was still able to surprise and kill in succession a woman and her baby followed by three full-grown men. . . . .

The Stevenson-Hamiltons' cook, George returned from holiday, riding his pushbike, suddenly met up with a few Lions approaching from the opposite direction. George set a new record in roadside tree climbing, the bicycle lying along the roadside. The Lions for their part only appeared a little surprised, sniffed at the bicycle in turn, then conversed and seemingly decided to carry on to where they were heading - so off they went. George, however prudently remained up his tree, eventually fear of the approaching dark brought him down, to hurry home setting another new record, this time for field cycling. At home and quite a while afterwards everyone was told of his great escape. . . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:02 pm 
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THE EARLY RANGERS . . . . PART 7

H.McDONALD.

Hector Mc Donald was appointed by Acting Warden Howe, from 555 apllications for the position.

Ranger McDonald commenced his service on 1 January 1929 at CROCODILE BRIDGE.

Soon after his appointment, a group of well to do Americans toured through South Africa in a luxury train. Part of the tour was a stop-over in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. They were taken on an excursion in two big lorries. As luck would have it, a typical thunderstorm resulted in the lorries getting stuck in the mud waith the well drenched passengers sitting on the back. With dark approaching the tourists decided to spend the night in the surrounding trees, there were Lions in the area. Later Ranger McDonald and of his field staff found them and brought them food and blankets. They were then taken to the Gomondwane outpost where the evening was spent in much less luxury than they were used to. This was regarded as a great AFRICAN ADVENTURE. Unfortunately some of the tourists contracted malaria, the resultant poor publicity the caused the PARK to be closed to tourists for the next few years during the summer season.

Hector Mcdonald was a good shot using his .470 double barrelled Rigby. While boasting about his shooting abilities in the Komati Poort bar, he took on a few bets which he won, shooting six bullets using his revover, through the same hole through the corrugate iron roof. The onlookers were quite amazed.

When asked to repeat the shooting a few years later, he replied that he could not, being questione why not, the reply " got no blanks, when questioned about the blanks he told that he had loaded 1st round live and 5 blanks . . . . .

" Ndlovane ' - little elephant - referring to the Rigby, in 1936 reported sightings of 3 Black Rhino in his area, but a 90% decline in the Ostrich and 50% of both the Roan and Sable populations.

During the dry spell of 1933, five boreholes were sunk in the southern area being at Komatipi, Randspruit, Muhlambaduba, Randspruit North and Gomondwane. Ranger McDonald built a concrete drinking trough at the latter. The structure can still be seen and is often mistaken for the ruins of the Sardelli shop.

McDonald took part in a world wide radio broadcast, reaching millions of listeners, made from SKUKUZA ( note the name ) on 30 May 1937 ( note the date ) together with Warden Stevenson - Hamilton and fellow Ranger Harry Wolhuter, arranged by James McClurry of the Cape Town studio of the SABC.

Ranger McDonald was also privileged to accompany miss's SOUTH AFRICA, GREAT BRITAIN and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA durin a visit to the PARK in 1948 - much to the envy of his fellow RANGERS.

Ranger, HECTOR McDONALD retired from service on 31 October 1951 aged 65 years, after 23 years of service in the PARK.

I.J.BOTHA

Izak Johannes Botha was the other successfull applicant out the 555 mentioned earlier.

Born on a farm in the Cape he grew up in the veld where he often hunted on his fathers and neighbouring farms, here he also developed his love for nature.

Ranger Botha was posted at SATARA, then to Sabi Bridge untill mid April 1930, when he was transferred to PUNDA MARIA. Ranger Botha proposed to the Board that school children be taken on trips through the PARK by ox wagon, The Warden welcomed the idea but also felt that it was not opportune to be implemented immediately.

Ranger Botha on arrival at PUNDA MARIA found very little game, but reported that he had found three Nyala at PAFURI, on 12 June 1930.

' Mawawa " - dominant one did a game count estimate in 1934 and reported the following :1000 Waterbuck, 400 Kudu, 150 Elands, 60 Nyalas, 10 Elephants, 30 Buffalo, 650 Zebras, 200 Sable, 200 Roan, 150 Tsessebe, 200 Buewildebeest, 250 Impala, 25 Hippos, 75 Ostriches and a 100 each Reedbuck and Bushbuck.

Ranger Botha was host to the first tourists in of PUNDA MARIA during the winter of 1931. After the tourist season, Ranger Botha and his staff commenced building more of the traditional pole and mud thatched roof huts, which we still enjoy today. The bathrooms were added in 1933, who will forget them, behind the huts on the upper level.

Ranger Botha built a few roads leading tp Klopperfontein, Dongadziva, Shidzavane and Magovane. Many a tourist ha to get out and push on these sandy roads. Ranger Gus Adendorf found a Baobab next to the LEVHUVU RIVER into which Ranger Botha enscribed his name, at his campsite while making the Magovane road.

Ranger Botha planted a little Baobab in the garden of his quarters on 4 February 1931 - this little tree grew to a height of neally 19 metres with a trunk circumference of nearly 7 meters, today still a tribute to Botha.

Ranger Botha built an earth dam south of the PUNDA MARIA campsite, which served the game animals for very many years especially during dry spells.

Ranger Izak Botha resigned from service on 1 May 1938, after nine very productive as ranger of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Next time you visit PUNDA MARIA you may be quartered in a hut built by Coetzer or Botha, long before our birth. . . . . . maybe just renovated a bit and re furnished. Who will forget the old iron beds with clean neat bedding and the neatly folded towels and later the little cake of soap, the steel stand supporting the porcelain wash basin with a galvanised steel water bucket full of cool water welcoming you with the smell of thatch . . . . sheer luxury.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 7:43 am 
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Please, continue this most excellent thread. Again, I think it deserves permanent sticky status.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 11:52 am 
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Thanks MM.

I still have about a months postings and then - off to the old " Sinwitsi Reserve " for two wonderful weeks. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 04, 2009 1:38 pm 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . PART 8

The balance of nature was something that the Warden often pondered about and also spent time on, very often by trial and error.

He wrote that upsetting the balance of Nature usually leads to enexpected and sometimes unfortunate results. The deliberate elimination of parctically all the carniverous animals from the ZULULAND Game Reserves resulted, within a few years, in the numerical increase of the "big Game " to such a degree that the reserves could no longer support their needs and the animals spread out far and wide into the surrounding country. This would again then sooner or later result in a serious campaign agains them, entirely apart from the Tsetse fly menace, which was causing great problems in the area mentioned, which merely brought the matter to a head earlier than might otherwise have been the case, and condensed the period of destruction into a shorter time.

In a certain district in the SABI GAME RESERVE, a season's intensive trapping of smaller carnivora - Genets, Mongooses, Civets, Wild Cats and Jackals - resulted in such a plague of bush rodents that the local natives lost most of their grain crop.

The senseless killing of insectiverous and raptorial birds on the part of ignorant farmers, the world over, must in the aggregate, have resulted in immense financial loss.

In the remote areas of Mozambique the local natives had succeeded in completely eliminating the larger types of indigenous game, by snaring or otherwise. The Lions remained unmolested and were driven by hunger to become man-eaters. They for many years such a reign of terror that the natives scarcely ever dared venturing into their fields and were even siezed while sleeping in their huts - this was also experienced in many other parts of AFRICA.

During the Rinderpest in the then Southern Rhodesia in 1896, large herds of cattle and game died of the disease and the carcasses were strewn in the veld. The Lion population experienced ans as with all, multiplied in numbers. Then . . . . . . the temporary food source came to an end, when game and cattle became relatively scarce, now the Lion numbers were in excess - the result - starvation, which for a short period became a threat, similiarly to that mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Another instance mentioned by Stevenson-Hamilton was about an event in AMERICA. Farmers turned a favourite area of geese habitat into sheep farming land, the foxes who normally prey on geese now partly turned their feeding to lambs the easier prey. The farmers now started eliminating the foxes. Now with no or very little threat of predation the geese started to multiply - resulting in the geese destroying the grass required by the sheep, resulting in many more lambs dying than had previously fallen prey by the foxes.

A second instance a small lake was well populated with snapping turtles and also favoured by numbers of wild ducks. The banks were the haunts of small fur-bearing mammals which kept the numbers of the snapping tutles under control by eating their eggs. Fur became a part of fashion, and became a source of income, the furry mammals were trapped to the verge of extermination. Freed from their enemies, the turtles now multiplied in numbers, eventually outgrowing their food supply, the turtles now turned to ducklings as an acquired taste. The result: the ducks left the lake and the turtles died off from starvation. WILDLIFE was successfully evicted.

He further wrote that the ideal wildlife sanctuary should aim to be fully and accurately representative of the particular area, as it had been before Man had progressed sufficiently to disturb its ordered and orderly arrangement. All indigenous species of FAUNA and FLORA ought to be represented, the introduction of exotic species must at all costs be resisted.

If not, an air of artificiality will appear and dominate the land. Only by keeping the place perfectly natural, may the student acquire true knowledge and the ordinary visitor real education in natural history, some links in the chain of their life economy will be missed and the relative value of observation to that extent be marred . . . . . . Only in carefully guarded sanctuaries, it will be possible to study wild creatures fully . . . . .

Elsewhere, on man's presence being detected, all the little intimacies of animal life stop dead, His tyrranny is to himself so much a matter of course, that especially if he is of the great majority who live their lives divorced from wild nature, he views the frenzy of horror and terror which the wild creatures display at his approach, as being the natural habit of life.

It is hard to believe that the folllowing scene is all part of nature's process of eating and being eaten : From a place of concealment you are looking over an AFRICAN river scene, Tree clad banks and green reeds fringe the water, which reflects the pure blue and snowy white of the sky as well as the birds crossing by. Hippos splash and grunt; Crocodiles float lazily about among unheeding fishes; Otters play and protrude their heads, turn over in the water like seals, or lie lazily on a rock preening themselves; a pair of Egyptian Geese are teaching their brood the joys of life from a sandbank; Kingfishers, call, flutter and dive; Pheasants strut about scratching and sand bathing, calling raucously to one another, a Bateleur sails overhead, first dipping one wing and then another . . . a pair of Fish Eagles perched on a bough and at intervals give their call of AFRICA; a long line of Impala make it slowly and stealthily towards the water; and up above on the thick branch of a great thick fig tree . . . a Leopard lazily sharing all of this . . . . . .with you.

It is hard to realise that within an instant all of this will change , the moment man becomes visible. The Hippos and Crocodiles dive, The Otters disappear into their burrow, The birds fly away, The Impala snort and rush off, The Leopard vanishes, i. . . . in a moment, all has changed . . . . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 8:25 am 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . .PART 9

During winter, no rain falls, the Low - Veld bears a dried up, monotonous, almost dead appearance. The grass mostly gone, either burnt off, leaving blackened waste, or the remains parched and withered to a dull brown colour; the trees leafless, often giving the impression that nothing can ever bring it back to its former splendour.

With the advent of the first rains, usually early October, everything changes. The whole country awakes from her long sleep, nature bursts into leaf and flower, all smiling and fresh. The trees go in full bloom, blossoms of of yellows and blues and mauves and whites and scarlets the leafless acacias of maybe a fortnight ago, now vover themselved in delicate soft green, the earth recently naked and scorched, now appears young, soft and vibrant. Thousands upon thousands of wild lillies and tulips and violets and primroses adorn the veld seemingly preparing it for a great festival. The Impala lillies now lose their beautifull crimson and white flowers of the winter to dark green glossy leaf - their summet coating.

Carefully treading or driving through, the wayfarer may well imagine that this colourfull garden is a carefully well tended botanical garden - which it is - by the Great Creator. In the pools water lillies - pinks and whites and blues and ivories, cover the surface.

There is a delightfull freshness and a newness in the air, with a never ending humming of insects and twittering and singing of birds expressing their joy of life, all preparing for the new season of reproduction, they all convey a sense of all prevailing life and enjoyment. The four footed children of the wild, join in while playing and frisking as if existance held for them as not a care.

Fauna and flora alike, unite, each in it;s own way in one swelling hymn of joy in this paradise between dry desolate winter and a sun ridden summer, this little paradise of spring may be short in duration - but lives on - forever . . . . . .

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Last edited by gmlsmit on Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 9:12 am 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . PART 10

Stevenson - Hamilton wrote that Sable and Roan were regularly attacked by carnovores, but when this did happen and they could not flee, their custom was to lie down or moving backwards into a bush and protect themselves with wide viscious sweeps of their sharp scimitar-like horns. Beware any daring attacker, who is struck or impaled.

Waterbuck often escape by swimming away as many predators e.g. Wild Dogs will not dare swimming or even entering a pool or river, from fear of Crocodiles.These reptiles are exceedingly quick in noticing any disturbance in or near their haunts and then immediately set off to the spot. Animals in the water, the size of a dog are more easily caught, pulled down and drowned thefore are the preferred prey to larger animals. Waterbuck will act in exactly the same way when chased by domestic dogs.

Stevenson-Hamilton lost many dogs to Crocodiles, for they lack the bush cunning of Wild Dogs and on a chase would plunge into the water without hesitation . . . . .. On one occasion while on patrol, his pack broke away after sighting a Waterbuck and followed it, the Waterbuck took off and jumped into a deep pool in the Hlolo spruit, the dogs followed, when the Warden arrived at the pool, the Waterbuck was swimming away with the dogs following, two were pulled down down by Crocodiles in front of his eyes, the Waterbuck- left alone.

On anothe occasion, crossing the Lebombo Hills, a big Warerbuck bull sprang up close in front of two of his best dogs, and made off; this was too much for the well trained dogs and they set off in the full speed chase . . . . . , the trackers followed the spoor to where it ended the bank of a deep wide pool . . . . . the dogs were never seen again.

He also wrote that there is no doubt that were Mother Nature left undisturbed by man, she would always strike a just balance among her children and no species, whether herbivorous or carniverous, Fauna or Flora would be permitted to increase to the detriment of the other. But should the balance to matter how little by artificial means, the whole delicate machine at once gets out of gear and is difficuilt to readjust. It should be the aim of a WILDLIFE SANCTUARY to preserve NATURES METHODS, for only where this is strictly maintained is it possible to acquire the true concept of the life history of the animals and the veld, can be studied by the student, while to the general public a natural zoological garden showing life as it existed on our planet before man became the master, cannot fail to be attractive. He also wrote that the Fauna an Flora should always get preference in NATURE to any human requirements or whims, in an area like or similiar to the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK . . . . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 10:26 am 
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THE WARDEN THINKS ABOUT . . . . . . .PART 11

During the heat of the day, natures rests. then an hour or so before sunset the ear is gladdened by a chorus of song. Pied King Fishers in their immaculate bllack and white uniforms poise over the water with fluttering wings and dive, often coming up their catch - a wiggling little fish. The tiny Malachite sitting on a branch overhanging the water - watching for a ovement below, then plunges headlong into its own reflection then fluuters back to its perch - with its prey. The colourfull Bee Eaters in green and yellow and red and blue and black flit it in the glow of the late afternoon sun, the sectretive Purple Crested Louries make their " kok kok kok ", melodious Shrikes of all colours and sizes sing their song , the golden and black Orioles make their beautifull calss while hiding in the shade, the golden Crested ' tjrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr tjrrrrrrrrrrrrrr tjrrrrrrrrrr " and the Black Collared Barbets witheir " kerr kerr kerr " and then " tooo-puddeley, too-puddely too puddely " all adorn the low veld bush.

Then an hour before sunset the Warden would go to a favourite birding spot and watch when the Francolins start their trip singly down to the water, then a flock of Guinea Fowl arive, marching in single file, like soldiers, at the last breaking the formation and crowding the bank with much noise and flutter and fluster. The doves arrive in pairs , the come down swiftly, alight a few feet from the water, take maybe two or three sips and fly away immediately. The Sand-Grouse arriving with whirring wings from the deepening shadows and from all directios untill the whole sandy space by the water is carpeted by them, some chase one another while others squat in the sand all relaxing and enjoying the Creation, te cock chirps a little ditty and the hens croon in agreement, then some willl run down to the water take many sips, the others follow. In the dusk the Grouse fly away untill the area is desrted.

Then a hush over bush. The day has come to rest and night is not yet fully awake.

The Warden knows that soon a Nightjar will be first to make his presence known and soon he will hear the little Scopsie . . . . . . no wonder James Stevenson - Hamilton everytime he became despondent or recovered from illness returned and returned to the place he loved so dearly, KRUGER NATIONAL PARK in the continent of AFRICA . . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:32 pm 
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THE EARLY RANGERS . . . . . . PART 8

T.W. JAMES

Thomas Llewellyn James also a New Zealander, was appointed by the Warden on 1 February 1929 and was immediately posted to PUNDA MARIA replacing Piet de Jager on the latter's retirement.

Ranger Tom James was the second Ranger to sight the scarce Nyala. He found six of these animals on the banks of the LEVUHVU RIVER during October in the year of his appointment.

" Mabalane " the writer, was transferred to MALELANE where he and his native were often shot at by the bands of poachers who entered the PARK over the Crocodile River and then made themselves at home in the caves of the Malelane region while carrying out their destruction of wild game. Once Ranger James and his field staff came across one of the poacher camps, the inhabitants immediately fled and he decided to aly in ambush should they return, as their belongings were left behind as well as a lot of freshly killed meat. That evening the poachers returned with four donkeys, when confronted they immediately fled; leaving the donkeys behind. Tom James on inspection found that one mare was in udder and realised that she should have a foal somewhere. He decided to release the donkeys and follow them, hopefully to be led to where they came from. His decision was rewarded as they were led straight to the poachers kraal where they were promptly arrested.

George Meade who as Tourist Officer assisted Bert Tomlinson in the development of the SHINGWEDZI REST CAMP developed gangreen in his one leg and moved to the James homestead at MALELANE where Tom James took care of him untill his death. George Meade the well liked Tourist Officer was buried nearby the Ranger's house at MALELANE.

Tom James' daughter Daphne learnt to know the Warden's Clerk " Makuloskop ", and spent her life as the wife of Mrs. H.C.vd Veen in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, after their marriage on 1 July 1939. " Makuloskop " later became the well known and very well respected Tourism Manager of the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.

Stevenson - Hamilton applied to the Board to be laid to rest at the Shirimantanga Koppie, after approval Tom James who had a blasting licence, was then given the task of doing the required preparations in the granite, from where " SKUKUZA " could still keep an eye over the PARK.

" Pop " James built in 1945 a concrete dam near Treasure Hill in the Mhlambane Spruit, which provided water to many a thirsty wild animal during periods of drought.

The James' homestead was struck by lightning on 21 August 1951 and the wood and iron part was completely destroyed together with the family's belongings. They were paid one thousand one hundred and forty four pounds as compensation by the Board.

Thomas Llewellyn James retired from service end February 1952, first to his farm at Malelane, then to Ladysmith and finally setttling at Port Elizabeth from where he very often visited his daughter and son in law - the v/d Veen family in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK .

L.B. STEYN

Louis Botha Steyn was appointed Ranger during 1927 just before Stevenson - Hamilton left for Scotland, he was posted to Tshokwane he enjoyed the posting but being a town boy was very wary of the Lions during the first few months. It is said that at night he used a Kudu horn as soldiers use a desert lily.

Lou steyn was short tempered and often abrupt and was soon given the name " Mafunyane " later one of the magnifecent seven tuskers, was also called the same, for the obvious reason.

" Mafunyane " was a stickler to the rules, during a census, he was appointed the Chief Census Official for the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. His son Louis from Pretoria, was visiting the Steyn family and on the morning of the census there was a knock on the door to the Chief's office and in walkes young Louis to be counted. The Official glared at him and asked him whether he was Louis, Botha, de Wet, de la Rey Steyn on confirmation he was required to make the required oath and was then counted.

Ranger Lou Steyn was very interested in the Voortrekker history, an article written by him on the subject of the van Rensburg treks murder was published in the Star newspaper dated 18-20 September 1939 after an extensive visit down the LIMPOPO RIVER, unfortunately Steyn's findings were later proven incorrect by Dr. W. Punt the historian.

Ranger Steyn assisted the Land Surveyor Mr. le Roux during 1937 and 1938 in finding the old eastern border beacons. As reward le Roux gave Steyn a theodolite, this proudly owned piece of equipment was later used by the Ranger in the measuring and construction of the Kumana, Mazithi and the Salitje Dams as well as during the enlargement of the Leeupan.

Steyn also built many roads around his post - TSHOKWANE, a highlight was up the Nwamuriwa hill which today still is lookout often visited. While constructing this road they came across the fosilized remains of an ancient Hyeana ,which were sent to the well known Dr. Robert Broom then Curator of the Transvaal Museum who named them after Steyn.

Lou Steyn married his wife Chrissie during 1933, they had two children, the artist Louis Steyn and and the daughter Marianne, who married George Barkhuizen then from the KRUGER PARK and later Warden of the GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARK and later Director of Nature Conservation of the Orange Free State.

Ranger lou Steyn had quite an adventurous life. While training to obtain a "B" pilot license in 1937 he survived when the plane crashed, recovering in hospital for quite a while, from many breaks, bruises and cuts.

During July 1940 he was following a wounded Lioness who charged from about eight metres distance. Steyn had just enough time to fire one shot from his 9.3 mm Mauser, the Lioness landed on top of him, he stuck his right upper arm into her mouth and grabbed her tongue, fortunately his accompanying black Corporal shot and killed the animal on top of the Ranger. His wife and a Dr. Jacobs attended his wounds from which he soon recovered.

Ranger Lou Steyn applied to be appointed Warden at the retirement of James Stevenson - Hamilton. Col. J.A.B. Sandenbergh an Airforce Officer was appointed and Steyn was not satisfied, resulting in many clashes which continued untill the demise of the new Warden in 1954.

Ranger Steyn succeeded Col. Sandenbergh as from 1 February 1954, after 25 years as Ranger. He served 7 years as Warden during which he was very involved in Game counts and measuring up and construction of the Nhlanganzane, Panamana and Jones Dams.

Unfortunately Steyn became more and more aggressive during his later years, not being very popular with his equals and the scare of many newly appointed young rangers.

Warden Lou Steyn retired from the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK on 30 April 1961 settling in Pretoria untill when his time came on 7 October 1962.

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Done 144 visits to National Parks.
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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2009 6:37 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton : 1st Warden of KRUGER PARK
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