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Grantmissy
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:12 am

MM your post is so very interesting. It really sounds like those times were tough. It is understandable that the people living in Kruger during that period could not afford to be sentimental. It is sometimes difficult to imagine how they survived as I guess access to fresh water and fruit and vegetables were non existent unless there was a fountain nearby and they perhaps had a fruit and vegetable garden and some livestock. Thank you for sharing :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Mar 19, 2012 7:59 am

Grantmissy, I think for many, Guinea fowl was the vegtable.

The loneliness could be a challenge. Whiskey and rum were never in short supply. In actual fact, our famous Duke waterhole is named after a ranger with a particular love for the "spirit" of the bush. James Stevenson Hamilton was deeply fond of Duke, but also worried about the level of his drinking.

Many of the early rangers were from Steineker's strange brigade. He was a diminutive German officer who fought for the British in the boer war. Harry Wolhuter was also a member of this group. When I have the time I will write from Harry Wolhuter's memoirs of his experience of Steineker.

I think that by the time the boer war was over, the Sabie area was very game depleted and the soldiers had saddle bags for livers. :hmz:
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:12 am

:lol::lol: MM. I think a mistake that a person makes when trying to "imagine" those days is that our mindset is overshowed by what we know and have today. In those days they were perhaps not overly concerned and whisky and rum and what the veld provided were sufficient and considered healthy enough :D :thumbs_up:
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Mon Mar 19, 2012 8:23 am

Grantmissy, Kruger was certainly not developed by a group of saints :lol: :lol: :lol: this was not a monastry of Benadictine monks intent on a mission.

It was built on the most harem skarum bunch imaginable. Many had been great at the art of poaching, many never knew what a sober moment meant. Many died of Yellow fever or Malaria. It just reminds me of what a miracle this was.

Conservation was such a foreign and sissy concept. For a long while the understanding was that this area would be set aside so that game could be rehabilitated for future hunting. In the early days, predators were killed indiscriminately.

Stevenson Hamilton was a shrew diplomat and reader of people. He managed to introduce conservation ideas slowly and to the right people. Not even he had a clear idea. What shaped him in many ways was his deep and growing love of the bush and the growing passion to save it for the future.

I try to visit his memorial regularly. You can almost feel him standing beside you, gazing over the vast plains.
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:36 am

What you say is very important MM as I think a person should not only think about that bygone area as “good for future nature conservation, pioneering, bravery and adventurous” but as you say it was also a very rough and tough time in the history of Kruger and the Kruger as we know it today developed gradually through a lot of vision and foresight and many different people had to play a part and many people after them is still playing a part today. Very interesting thanks :thumbs_up:
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:21 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Rooies » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:38 am

@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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Rooies » Tue Mar 20, 2012 2:36 pm

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:16 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:18 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Rooies » Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:42 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:34 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:09 am

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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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Grantmissy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:54 am

One source that I have read mention Mandleve as the most magnificent tusker in Kruger of all times.
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Re: Did you know?

Unread postby Rooies » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:20 am

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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