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Old Kruger park Stories

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SilverSpur
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Old Kruger park Stories

Unread postby SilverSpur » Sun Apr 20, 2008 8:52 am

Hi All,

I was wondering if there are members out there with some interesting stories or experiences to tell about the Kruger.

I thought i would share this with you.

When I was younger, I would guess around 6 or 7 we were camping in Skukuza with my folks. Now just to make it more clear, this was in the early 70's.

At that time the Skukuza entrance gate was not where it is now but where the big old clock is next to the road on the way to the shop.

To the right hand side where the gardens are now, that used to be camping area. Anyway there is a huge old tree and my dad used to park the caravan under this tree at most visits.

There were always fires going in the evening and in those days the park supplied a lot of the wood that was used for braais. They used half drums and made huge fires in them where tourists could braai.

I think the caravan my dad had was called a Corry John or something like that.

Anyway to make the story short we were kids and with our fatty hands after a great meal touched all over the ropes which held the tent together.

At that time there was no electric fences and there were water drains and pipes through which the hyenas came into camp. During the night some them started licking and biting the ropes of the tent.

Eventualy the rope was bitten through and we had a partial tent collapse. Obviously this scared us kids a bit.

My folks thought it quite funny though. We even watched them through the caravan windows walking around the camp.

Sometimes they would turn over the dustbins to look for some leftovers form the braais.

I doubt this is still happening.

Regards to all.

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Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:16 am

Hi Silver Spur,

Lovely to hear about a 'good while back' in KNP :D

As far as hyena probably not overturning bins in camps anymore - year before last we saw a hyena in Lower Sabie camping area and could hear him over turn each and every bin in the camp. In the morning we noticed that even the bins in the parking lot had been overturned and the whole area a real mess! So - they're still doing it :D

Anyone else with Old Kruger Park stories?
Sawubona
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gerharddb
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Unread postby gerharddb » Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:17 pm

DB I was there last year and saw the hyena in camp! we were sitting there just after we finished our meal. It was late because we were on the Sunset drive and when we came back we had a braai. Shortly after we heard a bid fall somewhere but didnt think it would be a hyena! the next moment the animal was standing not more than 2 meters away from us!!

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Unread postby Pjw » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:08 am

One of my favourite things about"Old Kruger". was the time spent in the communal abblutions in the evenings. Now don't get me wrong I love having my own shower in the chalets, but in the old days while you were in the queue for the showers the camaradie was great. Everyone compared stories of the days sightings and chatted away happily. I've noticed that this is dissapearing even when camping as there are now enough ablution blocks in the camp sites that one rarely has to queue. I know its not great to wait around for that shower, but the chatting was great
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SilverSpur
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Camp Communicastions

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:30 am

Morning all,

I really miss the time when the camp communications was via SSB HF radio.

I always loved when booking in, and hearing the camp reception talking to each other with HF radio's. It really created an atmosphere of being in the wild. I vividly remember the guys calling:- "Skukuza Skukuza for Olifants"

Today the system is via telephone and the old radios are no longer used. It is as if a piece of Kruger is gone.

I do however see at some camps the old poles are still there where the HF dipoles used to hang. Maybe this assisted me in becoming a radio ham.....are there any other hams around....ZS6STC calling CQ....

I understand that VHF is still used for other comms in the park.

Maybe with ESKOM's loadshedding we might see a return to HF radio with batteries and solar...............

Regards to all.

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SilverSpur
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Old Lower Sabie Tsokwane Gravel Road

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:03 am

I wonder who can remember the old gravel road from Lower Sabie Camp to Tsokwane. It would run through what is now the safari tented section in LS. There was a low water bridge and then you went up the hill. This was a long time ago.

If I remember correctly it the joined the Skukuza/Tsokwane tar road close to Leeu Pan.

I remember the morning and evening chatting between visitors. It was a friendly lot of people. Slightly different today.

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SilverSpur
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1976 All Black Rygby Team Visit to Kruger

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:00 pm

I remember my dad telling us that when the All Blacks visited the park during the 1976 tour of South Africa they stayed in Skukuza.

Aparantly the lions caught an impala between the huts they were staying in.

Is there anybody that remember this or could tell us more about it.

Regards to all.

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Unread postby BunnyHugger » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:03 pm

Not quite Old Kruger, but in '95 we had some baboon hitch hikers jump onto our car and "hitch a ride" on the H12. (The bridge crosses the Sabie river, just below the confluence of the Sabie and Sand rivers between Skuks and LS).

The passenger was not the problem as the windows were closed. Confusing the car with ablution facilites, on the other hand. :redface: :oops: :naughty:

About five years later, we were stopped under a tree close to the prospectors graves on the S30 just around the corner.

A monkey we called scarface (had a very distinct scar on his left cheek) climbed up onto my wing mirror and took an active interest in what we were doing and especially eating in the car. His face said "can I have a sip of that Breezer" or "your packet of chips."

He sat there for ages and only got off when we started to drive off and left him empty handed.

At the time we found this amusing.

One of the things I do miss though, was people stopping to tell you where they have just seen .... (whatever it is that was noteworthy). People getting out of their cars at picnic spots and telling you there was a zebra kill at the S90 300m from the H1-4. These are probably the things I miss most.
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It's imperative.

Leave KNP alone. Go build a hotel someplace else. Reserves are for the preservation of wildlife.

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SilverSpur
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All Blacks & More

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:11 pm

Jeez,

I was at that game, although only in primary school. We sat on the opposite side of the current grand stand. Those days it was all grass.

They still played Transvaal and the All Blacks lost 12/10.

The days of Gerrie Germishuys and Gerald Bosch. Great Stuff.

There used to be an old board on the tar road between Skukuza and Lower Sabie saying "PASOP vir die Olifante". I wonder what happened to it?

It was a time which is almost forgotten except for the memories of those that were there.

When we were kids we used to sleep over in front of the gate at Numbi. At that time there were many people doing as it was still safe. People making fires and merrily chatting away at the upcoming visits next to the road..

There used to be a gentelman working at the Kruger Gate by the name of Jan Viljoen. He was always telling about how the "OLIFANTE" destroyed his garden which he worked hard on to keep in good nick.

I think he retired in the early 80's or so. Wonder if someone remembers him.

Regards to all.

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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:51 pm

OK you got me going. It is worth repeating. When we camped at Skuk in the early 80s a worker was designated to make a humongous fire, and he had a wheel barrow. When it was your turn, you filled it up with coals and wheeled it to your braai site - instant braai. Then they got wise and sold iron wood, at a good price per piece.
I remember in the 50s there were no tar roads and the 'north' probably north of Satara - confirm anyone - was barricaded off in the summer.
In the 50s, when you saw a car approaching, both drivers would do a stop hand signal and exchange news of sightings.
Elephant sightings were rare then, and rhinos not seen.
Whatever (according to BB): "You are correct but I don't want to admit it".

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Memories are made of this.........

Unread postby SilverSpur » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:10 pm

Yes yes, I remember the wheel barrow thing. I once burnt a whole through my slipper with a hot cole when my dad was braaing. My foot was sore for days.

I miss the good old biltong in the plastic bags with the green writing on. They sometimes had elephant and sometimes buffalo. Probarbly depending on what needed to be culled at the time.

At one time you could even buy cans with buffalo meat. The ones without TB though.

I really wish my kids could have seen the park those times. They have gone wildlife crazy the last couple of years.

We sometimes watch my dads old 8mm films. He was driving a car called a "ZODIAC" then with the "Corry John" Caravan.

I am very glad to see I am not all alone with these memories of yesteryear........

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Unread postby Bennievis » Mon Apr 21, 2008 7:20 pm

We used to travel in dad's Zephyr Zodiac (early 60's) ususally from Phalaborwa gate. The roads were not tarred but was regulary scraped. We once passed a grader and us kids discussed what would happen should a lion jump into the cabin with the driver. :roll:
Rhino's were reintroduced to the park (southern area) also around that era, if i am not mistaken.

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Unread postby Pjw » Mon Apr 21, 2008 8:42 pm

Yes BB even in the 60's you could not cross the Sabie river in summer due to the malaria threat. The roads were still all dirt roads in the south till the late 60's if not early 70's. And people were a lot more helpful with sightings then as well
"In the end we conserve only that which we love, we love only that which we understand, we understand only that which we are taught"
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Unread postby Shidzidzii » Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:52 am

In the 1970's the elephant biltong was R5 for 500 g and completely dry (no dead weight) packed in the sealed plastic bag with the green printing . No inflation for a very long time .

Ice cold beers were all 25c a tin including Amstel and ice 5c a bag .

The tinned buffalo meat was the best quality of any meat ever tinned (Botswana bully beef comes second) and I bought huge amounts at R3 a tin to take home . I always carried a few tins in the car when travelling for emergency rations on the move .

The frozen meat in the shops was export quality so beter than back home .

And the petrol was cheaper than home because it came direct from Lourenco Marques .

All in all it was cheaper and beter going to the "game reserve " than to stay at home for a long weekend .

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Unread postby ndloti » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:05 am

I remember being at Lower Sabie as a 4 or 5 year old in early 60's . There was still a communal braai area serving some of the accomodation units , which were semi detached , about 4 or 5 rooms all together as one unit .
I clearly remember my father paying the gentleman till operator in the shop R1,01 cents for probably 15 or more grocery items . One night lions roared continuously for a few hours around the camp , I think there is so much noise in the camps these days that one does not hear nearly as much animal activity at night .
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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