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 Post subject: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:57 pm 
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Introduction.

Col. J Stevenson-Hamilton retired in March 1946, He feared that the words “development, improvement and scientific research” might disguise the word “exploitation”.

His particular concern was that KRUGER NATIONAL PARK may be turned into “a glorified zoo and botanical garden, dotted with experimental stations of every kind, hotels and public recreation grounds which all would be the preliminaries of to the liquidation of the last vestige of wildlife”, after he had turned the little known of Sabi and Singwetsi Game Reserves into something well known internationally.

Since 1946 many changes took place in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK during the period covered in this thread.

Most of the changes would have been approved of by the man who laid the foundations of this part of Mother Nature for the generations to come.

Mistakes were made but these errors were made in good faith and were certainly not irrevocable.

Improvement and development made was aimed at the steadily growing tourist traffic, providing adequate rest camp facilities and game viewing roads; housing and recreational facilities for staff; the protection of its wild and plant life through fire-breaks, border fences, anti poaching policing and scientific research with which this huge wilderness could never be properly managed.

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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.


Last edited by gmlsmit on Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 4:58 pm 
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1946 to 1957.

Col. J Stevenson Hamilton was succeeded by Col. J Sandenbergh who was Warden of the Park until 1 February 1954. He was succeeded by Louis Botha (Lou) steyn.

At the retirement of the first Warden there were thirteen rest camps ranging from Skukuza to the most basic little camp. Less than 1600 km of gravel roads were available, 8 dams had been made and 13 boreholes had been sunk and 8 wells had been fitted with wind mills for water supply during the dry spells. The entire Park was open to tourists during the period May to October. Only the Pretoriuskop area was open throughout the year. Catering was inadequate. Despite all of this 38300 entered the Park during 1946.

An error made soon was the outlawing of the controlled burning of grass especially the tall grass along the roads in the Pretoriuskop area. When the veldt set alight naturally, there was havoc.

A very successful “water for game” fund- raising was started in 1949, the funds collected financed the drilling of 46 boreholes when the Great Letaba River stopped flowing during the severe drought in 1950.

The roads section was started in 1950; the Nahpe Road was constructed, ridding the Rangers of that burden. The Renosterkoppies Dam was built.

The visitors to the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK totalled 71200 in 1950; with overcrowding occurring during the school holidays and long week-ends.

The biological service was established in Skukuza during 1951 under Dr. T.G. Nel the biologist and research officer. Fortunately a grant of R10000 was made by the government for research in the National Parks.

The Board also provided funds for the establishment of a reference library.

The Warden and his staff retained the duties of practical wildlife management; their observations would obviously be available to the research staff for analysis, interpretation and dissemination.

The drought previously mentioned continued until end 1952, during this period most of the rivers dried up. The drought and the resultant famine and hardship of the Black population living on the borders of the Park, lead to alarmingly increased poaching.

The education and information centre was launched in July 1952, headed by Mr. R.J. Labuschagne the appointed Liaison and Educational Officer. The very popular film shows and talks were always a great success.

A commission investigating the National Parks was formed and Mr. Rocco Knobel was as a result thereof, appointed Director of National Parks on 1 April 1953. Mr. Knobel served in this position until his retirement many years later.

The reorganisation included the formation of the tourist department, looking after the ever increasing number of visitors.

The 100000 mark of visitors was exceeded in 1955, when 101058 visitors entered the Park. This was doubled in 1964. The number increased to 366381 in 1970, a third being day visitors.

The Board took over the trading in 1955, previously it was a haphazard affair run by outside concerns. This was done to ensure that the Park would retain its unique identity without interference by individuals or organizations who were primarily concerned with personal gain and profit. The profits earned from the trade could now be ploughed back into the development of the Park.

Although the number of visitors for a certain measured period increased by only 3.7%; the gross trade increased by 37% on that showed by the previous concessionaries. The wisdom of this decision of the Board can therefore never be disputed.

After a conference held in 1955 it was decided that as from 1 January 1956 the Board’s activities would be divided into the Department of Nature Conservation and a Department of Administration..

A land exchange was made during 1956 between the Department of Bantu affairs and the Park, resulting in nearly 1000 morgen of land was added to the Numbi area. The game cut off from the Park was successfully driven back into the Park.

A further exchange was made when the area between the Limpopo and the Levubu Rivers (the old Pafuri Game reserve), when the inhabitants of the area were resettled in an area of equal size, which was cut from the western boundary.

The new Skukuza restaurant with the trading premises, was built in 1954.. The Ranger at Crocodile Bridge got his new house. The new Gate entrance replacing the old Rabelais entrance was also completed.

Five houses were built in 1955 in the Skukuza staff village. More tourist accommodation, offices, a trading depot and the Skukuza garage was also completed. The Pretoriuskop swimming pool was also constructed and better water supply to Skukuza, Shingwedzi and Malelane instituted.

Military airfields were built at Skukuza and Punda Maria during 1957 while the facilities at Lower Sabie and Pretoriuskop were improved.

The periods of drought had a negative effect on the antelope species and a very positive effect on the increasing predator species. It was decided to implement predator control measures, as protection of the rarer antelope species such as Eland, Roan Sable and Tsessebe. This continued until was terminated in 1958 at the instigation of the research section.

1954 saw above average rain fall, providing Warden Lou Steyn and his staff further opportunities of improving their conservation techniques. Firebreaks were high on the priority list and 985 km of new firebreak roads were made, of them through very difficult terrain. The firebreak system has now been extended to some 3600 km dividing the Park into 400 blocks. Accidental fires can now more easily contained and a system of controlled fires of rotational burning can be carried out.

The first signs of Elephants migrating into the Park from Mozambique were observed during 1955, possibly the result of hunting in the area. An aerial census was conducted during 1959 and 986 of these animals were counted.

The wet season resulted in many malaria cases amongst the staff of KRUGER. The control of malaria was stepped up with the assistance of the Department of Public Health.

At the end of the rainy season the Levubu River reached its highest level as far as could be remembered, (the 2000 rains resulted in higher levels). Many animals particularly Warthogs and other burrowing creatures, died on the flooded plains of the Limpopo and Levubu.

The exceptional growth of vegetation caused a fire hazard during the dry season following that of the high rainfall period. A total area of 5540 square km of veldt was lost in this manner.

A firebreak road was constructed to specifically protect the Nyandu-bush from fire, in the northern part of the Park.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:00 pm 
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Water supply for Thirsty Animals.

The drilling of boreholes and the construction of dams continued. Two new concrete dams (at Ngwenya and Kloppersfontein) were completed in 1955 and four more in the Lipape area with one each at Nwatindlophu, Mahlanganzwane and Panamana during 1957. A concrete dam was built in the Shishakashangodzospruit a well as ten sunken concrete drinking troughs. The concrete dams at Iswiriri and Nwanitsana and a small stone weir below the Malongo spring were also built during 1959.

The building of weirs across the water courses started in effort the reduce soil erosion.

The dry year of 1961 saw 36 more boreholes being drilled in the crisis areas, to provide water for the thirsty animals. Concrete reservoirs and water troughs were built at the popular drinking holes; water was also carted in by water tanker from the perennial rivers to where required.

The earth dam in the Shimangawenene was built in 1963.

By 1964 the number of drinking sites in KRUGER totalled 127.

Construction of the Engelhard Dam commenced in 1968. 18 more boreholes were completed in 1970, with a further 12 in 1971 as well as two more earth dams.

A pipeline the Olifants – Stara 37 km long provided drinking water to 15 drinking sites for animals, this biggest single project by the Kruger Park Works department was funded by a special Government grant.

The drilling of boreholes was stepped up during 1972 it was planned that about 300 boreholes would be completed by the end of the project.

A further two earth dams were completed in 1972, now there were 36 of these dams in the Park with the concrete dams totalling 33.

After completion of the “Wik-en-Weeg” Dam in the Phugwane the construction unit moved to the Shingwedzi district, where three large dams were planned for the river as well as concrete dams.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:08 pm 
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1958 to 1966 Part 1.

At Skukuza a new administration block, a stores building, the mechanical workshops and increased staff accommodation was completed during 1958.

The Board decided to allocate 2.5% of the trading profits towards improving the staff recreational facilities. The Club house was in the early days used as a primary school for the staff children until a school building was put to service at the start of the third term in 1961.

It was now also realised that a formalised system of reservation of accommodation be implemented, this together with a quota system reduced the overcrowding of roads and rest camps during school holidays and long week ends.

Construction of Olifants rest camp continued in 1959, while facilities at Letaba also received the deserved attention. The quarters of the black staff at Skukuza were enlarged providing neat and comfortable accommodation.

Funding for a swimming pool at the Skukuza staff village was received from private donations, and put to good use.

A programme to eradicate exotic plant species with the aid of hormone weed killers and arboricides began in 1958; targeting Syringa, Prickly pear, Lantana, Lochnera and Wild tobacco.

The new Parks’ Engineer Mr. Kuschke took over the Department of Works and all building, mechanical, electrical, radio, roads and stores sections were now centralised under his supervision.

A research laboratory, museum and herbarium were built in 1959 for the Skukuza research centre.

At a symposium held in 1959, visited by many institutions outside the Parks, research workers were invited to participate in research projects. The response was excellent; one of the first was the development of an immobilization drug, which was near perfected by 1961 together with the capture techniques through the use of the drug.

Since then foreign students from far and wide have undertaken long and short research projects.

The first Traffic Officer was employed in1962 as Relief Ranger; George Barkhuizen later became Director of nature Conservation of the Orange Free State.

The threat of terrorist infiltration across the eastern border into the Park meant that the KRUGER RANGERS and their staff now had further duties; the guarding the country’s borders. A task which the accepted and carried out – we thank and salute you for that.

The department of Veterinary Field Services got a substantial grant from the Government after the foot and mouth disease outbreaks among the animals in the Park during 1958, in order to erect a fence along the boundaries of the Park. The fence would contain the movement of the wild animals and prevent contact between infected wild animals and susceptible domestic stock along the Park borders.

This fence also now assisted in the proper management of the Park in having the boundaries properly demarcated, preventing further encroachment into the wild areas by man.

The fencing along the Crocodile River was started and completed during 1959. The western and northern boundaries’ fencing was completed by the end of 1960. The required sections between the Crocodile and the Sabie Rivers, were completed in 1961, a total length of 720 km.

The fences were at first regularly broken by migrating animals; however they soon recognised the barrier and soon bypassed the fence.

These fences were in later years more often breached by man than the wild animals.

Large animals such as Giraffe and Elephant may still on occasion do so.

The fence has been very effective in the prevention of disease spreading into and from the Park.

The fence also had a definite curbing effect on poaching and also assisted in the better patrolling of the Park Boundaries.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:10 pm 
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1958 to 1966 Part 2.

Anthrax broke out among the animals in the northern areas during the winter of 1959. 101 carcasses were found, including 6 Roan Antelope. The poor rains during the summer of 1960 resulted in a worse outbreak of this dreaded killer. 1054 carcasses were found and burnt of these 771 were Kudu and 41 were Roan Antelope. The already poor Roan population was thus given another blow from which it has never recovered despite ongoing efforts from all.

We once found 27 Roan antelope south of the Shingwedzi River – Oct 1970 and thereafter a few small herds on occasion.

The third Warden Mr. Lou Steyn retired in April; 1961 after 32 year service. He was succeeded by Chief Biologist Mr. A.M. Brynard.

A reorganisation of functions resulted in the Research and Ranger sections being united into the Nature Conservation Section.

The wearing of a uniform now became compulsory for all Parks staff.

The Honorary Rangers system was also implemented during 1961, their function was to assist the Park authorities in tourist control and other problems.

Another dry period started in 1961 and by the end of 1962 the situation was bad. The grazing was poor, while the large herds of animals congregating around the waterholes trampled the surrounding areas to a very fine powder. Fortunately a catastrophy was prevented by the availability of borehole water and tankers carting water to where required.

History was made when White Rhinos were introduced from the Umfolozi Game Reserve on 13 October 1961, after being extinct since the late 1890s. Three Hippos were darted and drugged and then translocated to the Addo Elephant National Park in November.

By the end of 1963, a further 14 White rhino were reintroduced to the Park, as well as some Oribi and Red Duiker. The first mentioned in the Rhino enclosure and the latter at the Shaben Kop.

The first White Rhino calve birth in the Park area during the 20th century took place in 1964.

The drought was broken by the good rains of 1962-1963.

1964 was again dry and had a very cold winter, killing many fish. The Letaba was so dry that the overcrowding of Hippos in the few remaining pools necessitated the culling of the poor beasts. 104 were destroyed- the first herbivorous animals to be culled because of overpopulation. The migration patterns of Zebra and Wildebeest were also studied and 52 animals were captured and fitted with identifying collars.

The first complete aerial census of Elephant and Buffalo was done during August 1964 and 2374 elephants and 10514 Buffalo were recorded.

The July 1965 census concentrated on Zebra, Blue wildebeest, Giraffe, Hippo and Sable.

27 Elephant bulls were immobilised and marked for migratory study purposes during 1965, one was later seen 160 km further north in Zimbabwe.

A conference on the overprotection of nature was convened by the Board, was held in November 1966. A resolution was adopted to cull of those herbivores whose population levels are not adequately controlled by the natural regulating mechanisms.

Species identified were Elephants, Buffalo, Wildebeest, Zebra, Impala and Hippo. Culling results would be compared during future census operations; vegetation trends would also be measured.

100 Buffalo were culled on the Lebombo flats, near Crocodile Bridge, where large numbers of these animals occur , during the period March-August 1966.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:41 pm 
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Thanks for all this info - will finish reading it when I Have a bit more time :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:52 pm 
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This is super informative, thank you. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:04 pm 
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1967 to much later Part 1

An Elephant proof enclosure was erected in the northern district into which a breeding and study herd of 10 Roan were introduced. This was very successful as many animals born here have been released elsewhere.

Twenty young Elephant calves were captured and exported to America as it was the Board’s policy that culling be the absolute very last option. Unfortunately foot and mouth restrictions limit the exporting of wild animals from the endemic areas of KRUGER. Animals exempt from these restrictions are Zebra, Rhino, Hippo, and Elephant, no cloven hoofed animals.

The area south of the Letaba was set open to visitors all year round as from 1965.

The Cheetah population was increased during 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1972 from the then South West Africa, now Namibia, 13 captured young Elephants were given in exchange.

The 1968 census recorded 7701 Elephants, 869 Sable, 14132 Zebra and 14846 Wildebeest and in excess of 19000 Buffalo.

The Letaba attained its highest flood level during the 1968-1969 rainy season and again stopped flowing in 1970 while many dams had also dried up.

The Nature Conservation members remember 1970 as the worst in history, the Sand, the Levubu stopped flowing while the Olifants and Crocodile were reduced to trickle. The Sabie dropped to its lowest known level. Eventually only 4 known dams in the entire Park still held water.

Hundreds of Hippo died of thirst and starvation in the few remaining muddy pools during this terrible period.

The spring rains of 1971 brought much relief and were soon followed by heavy downpours, the Great Letaba River (the river of sand) started flowing and the waters spilled over the wall of the newly completed Engelhard Dam on 9th January 1971, putting an end to the worst drought in history.

Another Anthrax epidemic struck the northern areas and killed off 850 animals, 252 Kudu carcasses were found, unfortunately the small Roan population was again severely affected – 36 of these rare animals died.

A cheap disposable dart was developed by the Board’s Instrument Maker Mr. G.L. van Rooyen and animals could now be successfully immunised; using this dart propelled from a gas powered rifle.

Again foot and mouth disease took its toll in the southern part of the Park up to the Timbavati area.

Authorities were now loath to accept culled meat from KRUGER; the solution was to supply it in the cooked form.

Nineteen Sable were captured using net enclosures and released in the Park.

Further history was made when two Black rhinos were donated by the Natal Parks Board; and released on 17 May 1971, the first in KRUGER since 1936. 12 More of this species were later donated by the then Rhodesian Department of National Parks.

In 1971 the Government made a grant of R500000 to the Board for establishing and ensuring suitable and sufficient water supplies in the KRUGER and other NATIONAL PARKS during the next five years and for other urgent conservation projects.

Another 200 White rhino were translocated to the southern part of the Park during 1972. An enclosure was erected near Pretoriuskop for rare species; breeding herds of Eland and Tsessebe were established in the camp. Later Oribi from outside the Park were released in the camp. More Red duiker were captured at Mariepskop and released in the suitable habitat at Shaben Kop.

The aerial census recorded 19785 Buffalo and 7916 Elephants, indicating that the control measures indeed had the desired effect. The number of Wildebeest showed a decline and control measures for this species immediately ceased.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:05 pm 
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1967 to much later Part 2

By 1972 the tourist roads measured in excess of 2000 km. The dusty dry conditions were increased by the dust clouds caused by passing motor vehicles, causing a menace to animals and vehicles alike. The decision was made to cover of the main roads with a tarmac surface.

An experimental 2.8 km between Skukuza and the Sabie River causeway was constructed. With the aid of the National Road Transport Commission funding was provided for a road building programme lasting three years. More would be added annually. The road between Tshokwane and Satara was completed in 1972.

The high level bridges across the Letaba and Levubu were scheduled for 1972 and 1973, respectively. The main roads were planned to all have been tarred by the end of 1980.

The winter of 1972 had ample grazing but severe cold damaged trees and shrubs. The thunderstorms of September caused many veldt fires throughout the Park. More than one third of the protected area was burnt out by January 1973 after the rains again failed. The well prepared firebreak roads prevented the whole of the Park being ravaged by fire.

Much development had taken place and by 1973 the number of available accommodation units for visitors were: Malelane – 35 units Crocodile Bridge – 20 units. Lower Sabie - 102 units, Skukuza – 200 units, Pretoriuskop – 148 units, Nwanedzi – 1 unit, Satara – 110 units, Orpen – 12 Units, Balule – 4 units, Olifants Camp – 103 units, Letaba – 93, Shingwedzi – 95, and Punda Maria – 26 units.

The National Parks Board commemorated the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the Sabi Game Reserve on the 26th March 1973.

Mr. A.M. Brynard was promoted to Deputy Director of the Board during 1970 and was succeeded by Dr. U de V Pienaar as Nature Conservator. The title was changed to Park Warden in December 1978.

Dr. Rocco Knobel the first Chief Director of National Parks retired at the end of September 1979 after 26 years of service, Mr. Brynard then filled his position.

Much reorganization took place in an effort for improved and stricter control…

Heads of Departments were given greater responsibility in the execution of their function. The Purvis Commission tabled in 1970 found that the deficiencies in the administration were mainly ascribed to the rapid development of the organisation and that it was clear that the control systems of the Board, especially in terms of accounting and financial aspects, did not keep pace with the rapid growth of the National Parks.

During 1974 three major Departments were created; Nature Conservation, Tourism and Technical Services and Finance and Administration.

The heads of the three Departments be raised to that of Director.

The heads of specialised services such as Research, Tourism, Finance, administration and data Processing would be raised to that of Assistant Director.

In September 1978 a further reorganisation took place with another in 1979, resulting in Park Warden reporting directly to the Deputy Chief Director, while the heads of Wildlife Management, Tourism, and Technical Services would report to the Park Warden. The Heads of Kruger Park Administration, and Research and Information would primarily be responsible to their Departmental Heads and secondary to the Park Warden.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:07 pm 
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1967 to much later Part 3

Many graduate and post graduate scientific studies were carried out by local and overseas scientists e.g. on Zebra, Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Roan antelope, Kudu, Giraffe, Buffalo, Steenbok, Impala, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Black and White Rhinoceros, Leopard, Brown Hyaena, Spotted Hyaena and Wild Dog to mention a few. Other fields included Fish, Crustaceans, Spiders, Birds and many others all in very many diverse fields.

Certain guiding principles were set regarding the balance between Conservation and Tourism Dr. Knobel stated during 1975: the responsible authority has two main functions.

The authority is to limit the number of visitors to the National Park, the interference caused to nature by a tourist camp or any large gathering of people for whatever purpose must be kept to the minimum. Visitor’s accommodation areas must be so sited as to cause the least interference with wildlife or do least damage to the natural beauty of the area.

He also had strong views for control by the authority over conservation and tourism: “this will avoid the erection of buildings that are too large but allow the greater profits as a result of lower unit costs on overheads. Such structures, however; destroy the atmosphere in a Park”.

The authority had full control over the road network in the National Park, he believed that: “the guiding principle must be the conservation of nature and not the principles generally governing the construction of roads, such as cost, safety, etc. He was particularly concerned that roads would upset the movement of animals and cause disturbance around drinking sites. It is not possible to plan roads in such a way that they do not interfere with game movement at all. Therefore interference should be limited; and routes encircling an area especially favoured by game, should be avoided. It is essential to have areas where wildlife can exist completely undisturbed. Any Park or Reserve should have wilderness areas where no visitors are allowed.

The provision of accommodation: visitor accommodation should in no way detract from nature, and certainly should not try to compete with nature as a draw card for any National Park or Reserve. Visitor accommodation should be simple and not luxurious. Any form of accommodation also should conform to the highest standard of hygiene.

Knobel also was adamant that it was a superficial view to assume that visitors to a National Park were only interested in game viewing, scenic beauty, aesthetic values and relaxation. National parks not only provided recreational facilities but offered the deeper experience of spiritual, intellectual and physical renewal.

High priority was placed on interpretive services. Sensitivity towards conservation issues could be instilled in visitors.

Camps or visitor’s areas afford excellent opportunity for showing visitors the beauty of indigenous trees and shrubs, specimens should therefore be marked for easy identification.

National Parks are created to preserve outstanding scenic displays for the enjoyment of this and future generations.

He also stated that when visitors start demanding entertainment in visitors’ accommodation areas, it is a sure sign that the concentration is too large and that city-like conditions have been created. Such conditions call for entertainment to allow an escape from reality.

He concluded that “one thing we must never try and do is to combine National Parks and Nature reserves with pleasure resorts. Both will be the loser”.

Conservationists must tackle their assignment with all means and knowledge at their disposal, as the destruction of any species of animal, tree, shrub or any natural beauty or phenomenon is final and irreparable. If we are to err in the use of our Parks, let us err on the Conservation side; man cannot create, man cannot even recreate that which he has destroyed in nature; man can only conserve and this is the task of the Conservationist and of every single Employee in, and Visitor to, our Parks.

Later Berg en Dal and Mopani Rest Camps were developed as medium sized camps. With Boulders and Roodewal and Jock of the Bushveld as exclusive private camps. The smaller Bushveld Camps being Shireni, Bateleur, Shimuwini, Talamati, Jakkalsbessie, Biyamithi.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:04 am 
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gmlsmit wrote:
1967 to much later Part 3

He concluded that “one thing we must never try and do is to combine National Parks and Nature reserves with pleasure resorts. Both will be the loser”.



The decision makers have subsequently lost the ability to realise the meaning of this wisdom .

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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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:55 am 
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1967 to much later Part 4

In the mid seventies it was realised that visitors would be appreciative of a more close to nature, wildlife experience, visitors could not feel or smell or hear nature from their vehicles.

Due to the success of Otter trail in the Tsitsikama, the Klipspringer at Aughrabies and the Fanie Both along the Mpumalanga escarpment, many ideas were put forward and discussed. Many pros and cons were evaluated about visitors walking around in the bush, eventually the idea of visitors being taken out on guided walks took shape and the development of the Wilderness Trails took shape.

It was decided that that the Wilderness Trails would be incorporated into the Division of Wildlife Management and the Rangers would launch the operation. The reasons being, that tourists felt safer with Rangers. Rangers were knowledgeable about the Park and its operation. Rangers had the authority to enforce rules, regulations and protocols.

Rangers were also used to providing logistics in remote areas; therefore they would be most suitable in running these envisaged remote base camps.

The planned trails and section Rangers would be of equal level and therefore would also be interchangeable as the situation arose.

The areas of these wilderness trails were carefully planned and the appointed Trails Rangers were then tasked to manage the erection of the trails camp and then thereafter the operation of the Camp as well as the actual Trail.

Each Wilderness Trail was planned for a specific nature experience. The first trail was the Wolhuter and then soon followed by the Olifants, Nyalaland and the Bushman’s.

The Wolhuter in the rugged mountainous south area was the roaming area of the White Rhino. The Bushman’s in the far south would cover the living area of the iron ages and many sites with rock art, dating many centuries ago are visited and admired, giving visitors exposure to those who did not exploit, who lived off the land, who never wasted, who did not know “greed” - the little people The Olifants gives the experience of riverine forests, of rocks – of AFRICA. The Nyalaland in the far north offers trees, birds and mammals not often found in the south. The Metsi-Metsi followed soon offering a Lebombo Plains experience with many predators and during the drier seasons, large herds of congregating animals raising dusty trails which can be viewed from kilometres distant, also true AFRICA. The Nape offers granite koppies from where the distant Mbiyamiti and Napi Rivers can be seen and many animals can be viewed on their way to quench their thirst. The Sweni offers many predators who accompany the herds also congregating here during certain times of the year; star gazing here in the dark AFRICAN nights is exceptional while maybe listening to the distant roar of the King.

Many a tale is told to eager ears, by trailists about their experiences of their wonderful experience out in the bush where they could, hear, feel and smell and also taste Mother Nature.

The Wilderness Trails indeed are one of the great successes of the SANPARKS.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:33 pm 
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1967 to much later Part 5.


Below are some statistics published on undertaken game censuses undertaken

Impala
1968 132500
1970 161950
1975 153000
1980 91884
1985 135708

Waterbuck
1968 3155
1970 3307
1975 3307
1980 2725
1985 5042

Zebra
1968 16995
1970 20227
1975 15700
1980 21454
1985 29713
Wildebeest
1968 15300
1970 13950
1975 9360
1980 8568
1985 12227

Kudu
1968 5090
1970 6520
1975 8700
1980 8493
1985 10432

Giraffe
1968 2765
1970 3870
1975 4185
1980 4122
1985 5318

Sable Antelope
1968 950
1970 1033
1975 1105
1980 1630
1985 2240

Warthog
1968 4030
1970 2917
1975 3750
1980 3311
1985 3820

Roan Antelope
1968 263
1970 266
1975 295
1980 315
1985 328

Tsessebe
1968 608
1970 633
1975 640
1980 828
1985 1163

Eland
1968 406
1970 349
1975 425
1980 490
1985 865

White Rhino
1968
1970
1975
1980 598
1985 919

Elephant
1968 Not available
1971 7916
1975 7408
1980 8354
1985 6887
Buffalo
1968 Not available
1971 19785
1975 23705
1980 28040
1985 26096

Hippopotamus
Crocodile River
1968 Not available
1971 229
1975 345
1980 Not available
1985 310

Sabie River
1968 Not available
1971 372
1975 469
1980 Not available
1985 499

Olifants River
1968 Not available
1971 578
1975 777
1980 854
1985 575

Letaba River
1968 Not available
1971 555
1975 472
1980 685
1985 601

Luvuvhu River
1968 Not available
1971 98
1975 146
1980 Not available
1985 44

Black Rhino
1971
Total reintroduced 20
Census Not available

1975
Total reintroduced 30
Census Not available

1980
Total reintroduced 40
Census 31

1985
Total reintroduced 66
Census 46


The census operation is pre-planned by dividing the park into areas and plotted onto maps. Fixed winged aircraft and helicopters are used, with normally six counters in the fixed winged aircraft, three counting on either side. The air borne personnel would do their counts, often also assisted by photographs. The aircraft would fly in long parallel strips 800 meters apart at an altitude of 65 m above ground level, while the helicopter would fly along the drainage lines.


Some Culling Statistics:

The figures quoted are in the sequence Quota/Culled/Sold/Total.

ELEPHANT
1970
QUOTA 2093
Culled 1846
Sales Nil
Total 1846

1975 QUOTA 601
Culled 567
Sales Nil
Total 567

1980
QUOTA 395
Culled 356
Sales 55
Total 411

1985
QUOTA 369
Culled 268
Sales 101
Total 369

15 Year Total l
QUOTA 13086
Culled 10264
Sales 465
Total 10729

BUFFALO
1970
QUOTA 2712
Culled 2502
Sales
Total 2502

1975
QUOTA 2228
Culled 1439
Sales
Total 1439

1980
QUOTA 2306
Culled 2286
Sales
Total 2286

1985
QUOTA 2256
Culled 2383
Sales
Total 2383

15 Years Total
QUOTA 41899
Culled 31374
Sales
Total 31374

HIPPOPOTAMUS
1970
QUOTA
Culled Nil
Sales
Total Nil

1975
Culled 72
Sales
Total 72

1980
QUOTA
Culled 77
Sales
Total 77

1985 QUOTA
Culled 0
Sales
Total 0

15 Years TotalTotal 1105


From The Kruger National Park a History Volume II by Dr. Salomon Joubert.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:18 pm 
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Surveys were done in the periods indicated and the findings are listed.

Much is made of the good old days, here below are some statistics and remarks made.

Du Toit and van Aswegen survey 1991.

Questionnaires were given to the visitors and the following findings were announced figures quoted are the percentage responses being as :



Entrance fees : satisfactory 47 expensive 53

Accommodation/camping : reasonable 53 expensive 40

Restaurant/cafeteria : reasonable 65 expensive 30

Quality of food in Restaurant/cafeteria : good 45 very good 33

Service in restaurant/cafeteria : good 47 very good 32

Price of foodstuffs in shops : reasonable 71 high 25

Service in shops : good 49 very good 33

Shop hours : satisfied 64very satisfied 18

Neatness of accommodation : very good 73

Rest camps with bedding/linen : very good 70

Swimming Pools : very good 90

Quality of roads : good53 very good 35

Road signs : satisfied 53 very satisfied 41

Picnic spots : good 40 very good 56

Service at entrance gates : good 40 very good 47

Service at reception : good 43 very good 49

Quality of information service : good 48 very good 42

Rest camp gate hours : satisfied 64 highly satisfied 22

Puth and Willemse surveys 1992 and 1993.
In a survey by the above mentioned, the staff who came into contact with the public at the entrance gates, rest camp receptions, shops, restaurants and cafeterias and filling stations received very positive assessments and it was concluded that “in summary it may be stated that the service staff of the KNP are generally experienced as friendly, helpful, effective, brisk, knowledgeable and patient”.

Favourable assessments from “agree and entirely agree” were given for:

There is a satisfactory response to enquiries.

Chalets are always neat and clean.

Utensils in chalets are adequate.

Help could be found if required.

The staff are always neat.

The staff are never too busy to be of assistance.

The staff are always courteous.

The staff are knowledgeable to answer question from the public.

Rest camps are tranquil enough at night for visitors to listen to the night sounds.

Nature conservation films should be shown at night.

The tranquillity of rest camps meets the expectations.

There should be separate as well as a communal braai area.

Recreational en entertainment facilities do not belong in the Park.

The Park complies with Nature Conservation expectations, and is fully supported in this by the respondents.

The Park should first and foremost be a National park with Nature Conservation objectives.

Negative responses were:

There should be communal braai areas instead of private/separate ones.

Air conditioners are artificial and should be removed.

The Kruger National Park should, in the first place, be a place with entertainment and recreational facilities and the roads should all be tarred.

Positive responses were :
Physical service components variety and quality in Shops and Restaurants were rated “Good to Excellent”.

General standard value for money, variety, presentation and price of the food in the restaurants and cafeterias were rated “Good”.

Competitiveness and prices of products in shops were rated “Average”’

Service attributes rated from most to least satisfactory:
The appearance of the KRUGER PARK’s staff, facilities and equipment.

The PARK’s ability to deliver promised services reliably and effectively.

The PARK’s willingness to assist visitors and render good service.

Knowledge and courtesy of staff and their ability to foster confidence and reassurance.

The care and individual attention rendered to visitors by the staff.

Of the above are extracts from "the KRUGER National Park a History" Volume ii by Dr. Salomon Joubert.

_________________
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: The Next Fifty Years
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:33 am 
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Brief South African History.

The placing of this in this thread important and the reason for this will become clear in posts to follow.

Jan van Riebeeck landed at Cape of Good Hope 1652, and was first Dutch Governor.

The French Huguenots, a group of French Protestants arrived in the Cape of Good Hope in 1688 and 1689 by 1692, 201 Huguenots had settled in the Franschoek area.

The Cape of Good Hope was under Dutch rule until 1795. Many Settlers of Dutch, German and French and other European and Scandinavian countries’ origin started losing their ties with Europe and formed the Afrikaner Nation during the latter half of the 18th Century.

The British took over until 1802 when rule was handed back to the Dutch and then after a short skirmish back to the British in 1806.

British Settlers arrived in 1820, settling mainly in the Eastern Cape.

Many British military posts were based in the Eastern Cape during the war with the inhabitant Xhosas.

Dissent with British rule led to the Great Trek to the interior of the southern part of Africa starting in 1834, which led to the formation of the Republiek van die Oranje Vijstaat and the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek.

The Cape Colony was granted Representative Legislation in 1852 and self Government in 1872.

Diamonds were discovered in Kimberley and the Cape Government decided to incorporate the Griqualand area into the Cape, Nikolas Waterboer the Griqua Leader was defeated and the Cape Colony extended its boundaries. This was now an ideal opportunity for Cecil John Rhodes to prove his worth. In theory the franchise of the diamond diggings would be non racial but the practise excluded the vast majority of black and coloured people.

In the meantime the Natal Colony had its own problems.

The area had good potential for sugar cane cultivation and many labourers were imported from India.

The resident Zulus were not satisfied with the late 19th century Colonial expansion whose goal it was to incorporate Zululand into the Natal Colony; this led to the humiliation of the British Forces during the battle of Ishwandlana by King Cetshwayo in 1879. Eventually Zululand was incorporated into the Natal Colony in 1897.

The British annexed the Transvaal in 1877; this led to a rebellion where they were defeated by the Boer Forces at Amajuba in 1881 – the 1st Anglo Boer War, leading to qualified independence and full independence in 1884.

Gold was discovered in die Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek in 1886 and there was a financial turnabout from absolute poverty to much better conditions.

In the mean time Cecil John Rhodes became Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. He planned the failed Jameson raid in 1895 under the leadership of Leander Starr Jameson, leading to absolute polarization between the between the Afrikaners of the Boer Republics and the British ruled Cape Colony. This lead to Rhodes being forced into resigning as Prime Minister of the Cape Colony. Rhodes died in Muizenberg in 1902 – at the age of 51 years.

The two Boer Republics now formed a military alliance.

Greed for the gold fields and power led to the 2nd Anglo Boer War starting in October 1899, what was expected to be a short Military Exercise by just occupying the capitals Bloemfontein and Pretoria extended until May 1902 when 500 000 members of the British Forces and 65 000 members of the Republican Forces were involved in a deadly guerrilla war.

Maj. Genl. Kitchener and Field Marshal Roberts applied the scorched earth policy and herded the women and children into concentration camps in appalling conditions.

During 1907, Lord Selborne invited Genl. Louis Botha to head a Government, the offer was accepted and Botha became the Prime Minister of the Transvaal..

The Union of South Africa with Botha as Prime Minister was formed in 1910 with an estimated population of 6000000. The only non racial province was the Cape, with the vote for non whites restricted to men only.

Genl. Botha and Genl. Smuts formed the South African Party.

Botha and Smuts were in favour of reconciliation with Britain and became unpopular as the scorched earth policy and the concentration camps were neither forgotten nor forgiven and led to Afrikaner polarization.

When the Union Government entered the 1st World War the polarization worsened and led to the 1914 Rebellion, which was suppressed quite heavy handedly.

Genl. Louis Botha died in 1919 and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Genl. Smuts.

The miners strike for better wages was brutally taken care of by the Union Government, Smuts lost support and his party lost the 1924 elections to the Nationalist party led by Genl. Hertzog, the new government worked for independence from British control and greater job security for whites.

The vote was extended to white men and women.

The depression starting in 1930 resulted in a coalition between Hertzog and Smuts with the South African and the Nationalist Parties giving birth to the United Party in 1933.

The Union of South Africa gained independence from Britain in 1933. Britain would now be represented by a Governor General.

Dissent with the coalition saw the formation of the Nationalist Party, in 1934 led by Dr. Malan; as a home for the more extreme right Afrikaners who feared a move to the left.

The Black voters of the Cape were removed from the voters roll in 1936.

Dissent with the Smuts alliance with Britain led to the Nationalist party unexpectedly winning the 1948 elections.

A referendum for becoming a Republic within the British Empire was held in 1960 and the Union of South Africa became a Republic on 31 May 1961, the first President being C.R. Swart with Dr. Verwoerd as Prime Minister.

The Prime Ministers during the Nationalist Party reign between 1948 and 1994 were: Dr. D F Malan, JGN Strijdom, HF Verwoerd, JB Vorster and PW Botha.

The State Presidents during the Nationalist Party reign were : CR Swart, TE Donges, J Fouche, N Diederichs, BJ Vorster, M Viljoen - these were ceremonial Presidents, the executive Presidents were PW Botha C Heunis and FW de Klerk.

_________________
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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