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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:21 am 
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James Stevenson Hamilton did not marry until well into his sixties. He did not believe that this untamed bush was suitable for married life. He later married an artist, and I hope, a soul mate. Sadly, their first child died at a very young age.

I cannot remember which ranger it was, I will find his name and more detail sometime. There was one particular ranger with a very direct hatered of women and love for dogs. He was a useless administrator and never kept notes. He would not clean house and lived pretty much on whiskey or rum. I think that he was left in charge of Kruger for a while during a period of James's absence.

He was known as a hard worker, dedicated, but no love for rules. He would cover himself with his dogs as blankets. There were many such eccentric folk. Stevenson Hamilton managed them all. Perhaps, being an army officer, he was capable of dealing with the mental, physical and emotional wounds of men at war.

This man is my hero.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:38 am 
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@MM. I think it was Major AA Fraser. When he was appointed as a ranger he brought with him 25 dogs. He despised all sorts of officialdom and never replied to a letter. When officials visited him to check out his bookkeeping, they had to clean out all the cobwebs first. Whilst he was stationed at Shingwedzi, he collected fines and penalties for more than a year without any receipts or documents. He then went to the Magistrate in Pietersburg and dumped the coins on a table. The Magistrate told Fraser that he could not accept the money without recepits or other documents, but Fraser shouted "Receipts, documents? If my word is not good enough, then you must tell me!!

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:36 pm 
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Harry Wolhuter once decided to visit Fraser at his post at the Sabie bridge. He had to sleep over, so Fraser offered him a room with a bed, two blankets and a pillow. The night was very cold, so Wolhuter went to Fraser to ask for more blankets. It was quite dark but Wolhuter could see a heap in the corner of the room from which a lot of snoring emanated from. As he approached the heap, it fell apart and there he saw Fraser, fully clothed, laying on the bare floor, with 25 dogs surrounding him. Fraser commented that he gave his only bedding to Wolhuter, but in any case the dogs kept him warmer than the blankets.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:16 am 
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Rooies, thanks for that information. I am laughing :lol: :lol: :lol: Sounds like my kind of a guy. :wink:

Just a bit of information on the small creek Shifomhisi, 11,5 km from Phalaborwa.

This is from "A dictionary of Kruger National Park Place Names", by J.J. Kloppers and Hans Bornman.

"The name of a famous poacher in the 1940's.
He made his residence next to the banks of the Olifants river and for about five years, during the war, roamed around what was then a very remote part of the country. He never washed or cut his hair. He went around quite naked and had a few lairs secreted in the bush. He made particular use of ant-bear holes, which he enlarged and improved into reasonably snug retreats. He originaly lived in Acornhoek. Some domestic upheaval had deranged him. He lived reasonably well on roots and venison.

The Park tolerated him, if only because he seemed harmless, happy and with a depleated staff in the war years, he was very difficult to catch. He was an expert at concealment. If detected, he bolted with the speed of Tsessebe... He seemed impervious to thorns and fatigue. Unfortunately he started raiding rangers picket posts.. "

He was eventually caught and ended his days in a lunatic asylum.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 4:05 pm 
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Rooies wrote:
@MM. I think it was Major AA Fraser.


Quite correct .
These & other stories from Stevenson Hamiltons book "African Eden" .

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:29 am 
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I think some knowledge regarding the historical Kruger is helpful for visitors in today’s environment as it is clear that Kruger did not just happened and many colorful characters and even the dogs played some part in it and I do not think all of the visitors know this :D Thanks for sharing very interesting information thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:18 am 
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The Namaqua National Park is famous for the flowers in spring and it is also the home of the world’s smallest tortoise called the Namaqua Speckled Padloper :D . Probably due to the low rain fall - and therefore wide open blue skies - it is sometimes referred to as 100% big sky country. The people of Namaqualand, some who most probably work in the Park, like to dance the “Riel”. During this dance routine they often say “jy moet die stof voor jou inloop” – the dust must go before you :thumbs_up: . (I got this interesting information regarding the Namaqua National Park from newspaper bits.)

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:42 am 
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Did you know that the Portuguese seafarers called the the Lowveld area terra dos fumos or land of smoke, because of all the fires that was started by the hunters, farmers and tribal people during winter. It is notable how few trees there were in the Pretoriuskop area about 110 years ago, compared to now. The veld was set alight on a regular basis to stimulate growth of new grass.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:34 am 
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On the cover page of the fascinating reprint of the 1890 African Colonial Cookery Book called “Where the Lion Roars” written by Mrs A.R Barnes the cottages at the Karoo National Park are featured. Apart from the recipes contained in the book it also features handy household hints like how to make a traditional African polished cow dung floor. “Where tents, kitchens and other rooms have earthen floors, they are greatly improved and hardened, if after being damped and swept, they are now and again washed or smeared with cow dung. It has to be immersed, well softened and mixed into a thin wash with water. An old bucket or tin answers the purpose well to hold it, and an old American broom will without soiling the hands do it quickly and well.” The photograph of the cottages at the Karoo National Park was taken by Gemma Longman in 2006 :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:44 am 
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Please, lets keep this thread going. I am finding it fascinating.

I am so sorry to be leaving for work :(

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:09 am 
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Hi MM :D it is nice to learn something new about the national parks I think as they have something to offer for everyone. I also think there is always something that a person does not know. Something that would be interesting is the names of all the big tuskers in Kruger since they were identified and their names recorded and which one of them are the most magnificent to date (they all are I suppose, but one might be the most outstanding of them all). I have not yet seen all their names in chronological order yet.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:54 am 
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One source that I have read mention Mandleve as the most magnificent tusker in Kruger of all times.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:20 am 
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There are many big boys around in Kruger (just check out Aat's website), but the original Magnificent Seven were Joao, Ndlulamithi, Kambaku, Mafunyane, Dzombo, Shawu and Singwedzi. Shawu had the longest tusks ever recorded. The left tusk was 3.17m long and the right one 3,06m. Kambaku probably had the heaviest tusks with 64kg and 73,6 respectively. Sadly, he was wounded in the knee by a farmer outside Kruger and had to be destroyed. Several bullets were found in him, even from a .22 rifle which is only good for hunting small buck.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:47 pm 
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Stevenson-Hamilton battled to get funds to build roads, so he made a plan to raise money. He and his team built a reasonable road between Croc bridge and Lower Sabie on which tourists could travel. But there was nowhere for the visitors to stay. Kruger did not have money to buy tents but had plenty of thorn trees and bushes. The visitors where required to bring their own tents and the reserve staff would then construct a thorn kraal for them which offered some protection against the animals.

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 Post subject: Re: Did you know?
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2012 1:16 pm 
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Rooies wrote:
and the reserve staff would then construct a thorn kraal for them which offered some protection against the animals


Kruger must have been a very different experience for a tourist in those times as it sounds very rustic and basic - very close to nature. I think some might have had a bit of a restless and jittery night though :D.

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