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Some Interesting Facts from the Good Old Days

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Guinea Pig
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What is different?

Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed May 04, 2005 1:16 pm

Something I've thought about a lot but never got round to asking. I'm a "new" visitor to KNP so I know it as it is now, nothing's changed since I started going there.

Some of you I remember from various threads have been going like forever. Let's hear from you what has changed throughout the years - positive :D and negative :( - as we've never discussed this under its own thread.

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Wild@Heart
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Unread postby Wild@Heart » Wed May 04, 2005 1:48 pm

The tree in Skukuza has grown a lot ... There were plenty more Sable back then ... :cry:

I remember one of our Rugby tours to Skukuza, we stayed in sort of a dormitory ... I can't remember exactly where it is...

@ Danie, is it still there?
NO TO HOTEL DEVELOPMENT IN KRUGER

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Unread postby wildtuinman » Wed May 04, 2005 1:49 pm

Way back then, culling of predators were one of Kruger's policies.

Wonder what reaction they received from people like us back then?

Also School kids attended school in the recreation centre, if I am not mistaken. The primary school in Skukuza was only build later on.
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what has changed

Unread postby fevertree » Wed May 04, 2005 1:54 pm

I agree that the Park is a LOT busier than it used to be. Used to be great driving on a road and not seeing another car for sometimes an hour or two on some roads.
Secondly, while the camps still look relatively the same ( except the shops and restaurants), I feel the atmosphere in the camps is different, maybe because they are also busier. I notice also that people tend to rush around a lot more than they used to - both on the road, and in the camps.
I like the old restaurants, cafeterias and shops - less commercialised than they are now - more rustic and Kruger Parky, if you know what i mean.
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Unread postby Tieger » Wed May 04, 2005 5:53 pm

All of the roads were gravel in the old days and a lot of people got stuck in the rainy season and all the bridges was under water as well, but this causes for a lot of fun.
Camps like Olifants; Mopanie and Berg-en-Dal are all later additions.
The road to the north was closed at the Letaba bridge in summer as the northren part of the park was closed for tourists in summer.
The huts were n lot smaller and some of the older huts can still be seen in some of the Camps.
Punda still got the oder huts but with out the bathrooms then. None of the camps had fridges. There were no electricty and in the evenings every body came together at communal braai in the middle of the Camp witch leads to great stories.

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Unread postby Guinea Pig » Wed May 04, 2005 7:34 pm

:lol: We discussed the lost traditions like waving, yes, but not the Park itself. How did that change over the years? We always get round to it in bits and pieces, not in detail.

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Unread postby Freda » Wed May 04, 2005 7:41 pm

Welcome Tieger :)
Did you visit in the days when the staff woke you up with coffee and rusks?

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Unread postby saraf » Wed May 04, 2005 10:07 pm

When I was checking in for our first trip in 2003 the gate had no maps. The family in front kindly let me have a look at theirs - dated 1963. It got me from Paul Kruger gate to Satara so I guess not much has changed in the way of new/closed roads!

And it was a very well used map!

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Unread postby Tabs » Wed May 04, 2005 10:43 pm

Wild@Heart wrote:Being very young then ... Can anyone tell me how many overseas visitors we had back in the day?

I have a feeling that it has increased a lot since then ... (which is ALWAYS a good thing ... except if you are a hunter).


I suspect that there were not too many overseas visitors as long-haul air fares were unaffordable by most ordinary folk - whereas now we can get some great deals thanks to deregulation (in the UK at least) and competition among the airlines.
It is actually cheaper now for me to visit SA for 2 weeks (especially if those 2 weeks were spent in Kruger) than to have 2 weeks in a UK resort or to go to the Med, for example.

I cannot comment on what has changed as I have only been a visitor to Kruger since 2000 but some of the posts on this subject make me wish that I could have afforded it long ago - especially when it was only dirt roads and had less traffic. Thanks (sic) to those who have posted their reminiscences - you have made me very jealous!

While I agree W@H, on the hunters thing - hunting is not my 'bag' - it is hard to dismiss the fact that it is an important aspect of the SA wildlife industry - one that brings in millions of dollars and contributes in a much bigger way than eco-tourism (I think that the financial ratio is approximately 9:1 in favour of hunting) to the SA economy.
There are far more people employed in the hunting industry than in the eco-tourism one if you consider not only the employees needed for the hunt and hospitality, but also those involved in the proccessing and sale of the meat, the marketing of the skins, the taxidermists and those who arrange the hunting trips. I am sure there are others gainfully employed in the industry who I have forgotten about and not mentioned!

Like it or hate it - and I hate it - if it were not for hunting there would actually be fewer wildlife areas available for the animals because arable and livestock farming is, generally, more profitable and less hassle than eco-tourism.

Many farms now employ both means of income but keep the hunting lodges and areas well away from the eco-tourists in order not to offend their sensitivities.

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Unread postby bert » Wed May 04, 2005 10:59 pm

I have witnessed the development of photography in Kruger
and it has added to the enjoyment and popularity of this
great place on our planet. I think photography has done a
lot for Kruger. Put it on the map of the world.

In 1967 i was the proud owner of a box camera (Kodak)
My dad had one with a fixed 50mm lens
And a 8 mm filmcamera :!:
I still own the films 8)

Then in the 80ties and 90ties tourists were walking
around with the 200 mm zoom. Animals were starting to get
in our reach.

Then we started with the bigger guns and dont forget the
Videocamera :!:
And now everybody is going digital and computerwise.

Summery
I started with a few black and whites of people possing in front of cars and huts and now I am able to film every movement of beast and man and make portraits of beautiful animals.

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Unread postby Tabs » Wed May 04, 2005 11:09 pm

I agree with that Bert - the advances in photography and cinematography have been instrumental in making wildlife areas across the world more attractive to tourists; there is nothing more satisfying than being able to 'shoot' an animal with a lens and to be able to proudly show off your photographic 'trophies' to your friends, whom I have found are far more interested in seeing wildlife pics than those of more traditional holidays, especially if I can tell them something interesting about the animals.

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Unread postby Meg » Thu May 05, 2005 7:36 am

That's cool Bert! Suddenly, with only 2 weeks left in my twenties I feel like a young whippersnapper! :lol:

My first "proper" camera for wildlife I got in 1986 when I was 11. A fully manual Ricoh SLR with a 50mm, 80-200mm zoom and a x2 converter. I remember the pride I felt walking around camps in Kruger, the Kalahari & the Pilansberg with that around my neck :lol: and my dad needing a lot of persuading when I said I wanted to start shooting more expensive slide film :lol: .

As you say, I reckon photography advances do entice more people to become tourists in places further from their homes.
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Unread postby Johann » Thu May 05, 2005 12:05 pm

francoisd wrote:The days when picnic spots such as Tshokwane did not have skottelbraais. One huge wood fire and the attendants bringing one or two spade full of coals for you to braai your breakfast on. No problem in finding a spot to prepare that breakfast as the place where not as overrun as now. And the huge elephant bull at Tshokwane that came to visit! Also the huge kettles with boiling water to prepare coffee with in all the day visitors’ areas.

Coke was still sold in those small galss bottles. No screw caps on other cooldrink bottles, there was a bottle opener fixed to the counter and as small kid you wanted to open everyone's bottle.


Will have to second all of the above. Making breakfast using woodfire, beats the gas smell anytime.
Having ice-cold rooi or groen koeldrank (red or green cooldrink), Sparletta Rasberry or CremeSoda in the glass bottle. Or even Fanta Naartjie, used to struggle to find them this side of the Park's borders.

Do they still do the movies in the camps at night? Use to be big rush finishing the braai so we would be in time for the movies. Enjoyed them thoroughly.
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Unread postby francoisd » Thu May 05, 2005 2:44 pm

You cannot buy canned elephant meatballs at the shop in Skukuza today. 20 years ago you could :shock:
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Unread postby wildtuinman » Fri May 06, 2005 9:56 am

Back then the golf course was only open to staff members. Now anyone can play!!! :D
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