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 Post subject: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 3:14 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Hi All

I was reading a book this weekend, "Kruger, Portrait of a National Park". (publication i think was early 80's).

They mentioned the camp Balule, as well as a proposed camp by the name of Ngotsamond (check spelling) about 1 or 2 km's away from Balule. This was supposed to be a caravan/camping only camp, and when complete, the camp of Balule was to be done away with.

Does anyone remember this, have the factual history about this, the Parks reasoning behind and the subsequent change of mind.

It would be an interesting read seeing Balule still stands today.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2009 11:52 pm 
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I have tried to find this in the 3 volume 'The Kruger National Park - a history'. This is a fascinating 'book' but actually rather hard to get around!

So far no reference to Ngotsamond but I will keep looking.

However, Balule was the original Olifants camp - and was replaced with what we now call Olifants in 1960. This was in the era when tourism started to be taken seriously. No suggestion that Balule would be closed - again I will keep looking!

Richard


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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 7:09 am 
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My dad said that Balule used to be the 'non white' camp and whilst other camps had non white huts, one for men and one for women, at balule, you were allowed to book your own hut. He said that it didn't have much of a fence, probably 1,5m at the most and a guard with a rifel and a handbook on how to use the rifle.

On the communal 'non white' huts, my dad's favourite story was how one night, he realised he hadn't taken an ashtray and whilst enjoying a ciggie in bed, he was 'forced' to use the shoe of the oke in the next bed :twisted: Needless to say, my uncle was not very pleased the next morning. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:28 am 
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I also heard that Balule was a "non white" camp. There was also an area set aside in Skukuza for "non whites".

I am so enjoying these history threads. I wish that there could be a dedicated space to all things related to history, or that there could be "sticky status" confered on them.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:40 am 
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I could be mistaken, but the Skukuza 'non white' area was to the right of where the filling station is, if you drive into the filling station immediately upon entering camp, if that makes any sense.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 10:12 am 
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Ooeee! I love the history of places!! :dance: Seeing that i do not have any info on kruger's history, please try post some info on Balule's past :pray: It will be a wonderful story to tell around the campfire....in a few weeks..... :D

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:03 am 
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I read recently on this forum (pls dont ask me where i saw it because i cant find it now :huh: ), that the proposed Ngotsamond caravan camp was halted because of archealogical findings in the proposed area. Following that, it was decided to build the cavaran section onto Balule.

Is someone able to verify that (or at least find the missing link)? :hmz:


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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 1:09 pm 
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Yeah, I also recall Balule being the so called 'non white' camp. In those days there were only a few camps. Pkop, Skukuza, Letaba, Satara and Punda were the others.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:16 pm 
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What I find truly remarkable about KNP and Balule is that the camp was built to lower sepcifications because it was originally a "non whites camp" and has now become a very popular camp becuase of this.

(Example of lower spec, the bungalows / rondalvels have no windows. No electricity)

I love the rustic atmosphere of the camp. It's one of those "as close to nature as possible" experiences. It is one of the real gems on the jewelry box of KNP. :dance:

Oh damn, I've just let the cat out of the bag, again. Now it's going to be more difficut to get booking there for my next trip. :slap: :naughty: :sniper:

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:30 pm 
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Ngotso,meaning small calabash. This is the stream that joins the Olifants(balule) river 50m from the low level bridge very close to Balule camp.
There has been a camp at Ngotso mouth for many years and can be seen from the tourist road in dryer conditions,but it is of limits for the public and is used for research.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:00 pm 
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Hi

Last year I came across 2 maps of my folks from 1964/1962 respectively. They both show Balule, but don't say anything regarding its "white" vs "non-white" status.....whereas Nkhulu is very clearly marked as "non-white". This said, I def remember that the camp was for "non-whites". I have only stayed there once and really enjoyed the rustic atmosphere, the parafine lamps.....

Image

Image

Can't see anything about the other camp, Ngotsamond.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:29 am 
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Jo, that map is a treasure. Hold onto it.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 7:29 am 
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Yes... Caught my mom throwing out maps from when my dad and grandad went to the park, many, many, many, many moons ago... Lucky i stopped her.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 12:08 am 
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Glen79 wrote:
Does anyone remember this, have the factual history about this, the Parks reasoning behind and the subsequent change of mind.


Hi Glen

I have some information, which I cannot find at the present moment. Anyhow as far as I can recall this was the scenario:

1n 1985 Kruger was supposed to get a 'facelift'. The Park's board had planned and even started work on this 'facelift'. It was quite a radical plan and had already begun to be implemented. ±14 new camps were to be built or were already being built. A couple of years earlier Gus Mills did a calculation that based on the existing road network + 50m on either side the road network only covered <1% of the park, therefore the road network could handle the traffic. From the north to the south these camps would have been:

    Lanner Gorge
    medium camp situated on the southern bank of the Luvuvhu River at Lanner Gorge. Abandoned altogether.
    Mountainview
    Small camp situated on the hill just north of Babalala (later replaced with Sirheni Bushveld Camp but not in the same spot)
    Silver Fish
    Small camp later replaced with Bateleur Bushveld Camp
    Pioneer
    Medium camp later replaced by Mopani in 1992 (Boulders, not planned as of this time)
    Lonely Bull
    Medium camp on the banks of the Letaba River east of the present day H14. Later replaced by Shimuwini Bushveld Camp.
    Outspan
    On the northern bank of the Oliphants River more or less in line with the site marked Ga Bogareng [As to what this is I do not know]. Later abandoned altogether.
    Ngotsamond
    Presumably at the mouth of the Ngotso River where it enters the Oliphants River. North or south bank not specified. Later abandoned altogether for a revamped Balule.
    Roodewal
    On the north bank of the Timbavati River. Later becomes a Private Camp on the southern bank.
    Nwanetsi
    Still on the cards at this point in time. Later to become a Private camp and now part of a luxury concession.
    Doornplaat
    Not sure whether this was intended to be medium or small but it would have been ± in the region of the present day Imbali Safari Lodge. Replaced by Talamati Bushveld Camp which was placed further to the north-west.
    Narina
    Not sure if this was built. Intended to be a super-luxury camp. Very close to Skukuza.
    Jock of the Bushveld
    This small camp was build. Not sure as to when. Now a Private Lodge.
    Riverside or Afsaal
    Downgraded and/or abandoned altogether. Now Afsaal is only a picnic site. Biyamiti Bushveld Camp was not planned as of yet.
    Berg-en-Dal
    Opened in 1984 as the first of these new camps.

These camps were replaced by the bushveld camps, which have accommodation only. I think this indicated a major strategic shift in thinking from the list of camps above, some which could not exist as stand-alone camps without the "restaurant and shop" facilities.

Some of this is taken from a map and its accompanying article in The Motorist from an article called "Facelift For The Kruger National Park" Second Quarter, 1985, p.4-8.

Unfortunately I have not been able to find the accompanying article but it deals mostly with Berg-en-Dal and only mentions the others.

MV

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 Post subject: Re: History of Balule
Unread postPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:20 am 
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Thanks for that info Mountainview. :thumbs_up:

I remember when we went on our first Kruger trip after moving away from CT. It was 1989 and we chose Berg n Dal out of curiosity to see what the "new look" Kruger camps were like.

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