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What's it like to live in Kruger?

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Imberbe
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by Imberbe » Sat Jan 07, 2012 12:37 am

:clap: Kayth :clap:

Having just a little bit more insight than the average in the back room workings of SANParks and some other lodge type establishments, I want to confirm what has been said.

There is an enormous difference between working and having a vacation in a place!

The ecotourism industry is one of the hardest industries to make a living in over the long term.

Lets always treat the personnel with the necessary respect and understanding.

Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

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wacktazz
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by wacktazz » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:50 pm

Yes indeed, theuns, we had a few good times.
There are quite a few non tourist places in the park, which is obviously for the benefit of staff only. The great thing about using these, is that you are guaranteed to hear nothing but the bush when you use them, because normally they are hidden away somewhere. One such place was doispan. It used to be a house with 2 rooms, kitchen and bathroom. Before you could use it, you should first pump water, via the old lister. For those that do not know what a lister is: its a small pump driven by diesel. To get it started, you have to swing the handle, which you also have to grab off the pump as it starts. Which means you have to be awake and sharp.
There is no fence, although there is a small picket fence on the one side of the braai. A cement dam and crip completes the picture a few metres away from the stoep.
In skukuza, there is another place, situated on the sabie. And then a place here and there. I havent stayed at many places, but the ones that i have, was some of the best in the park. We were surrounded by lion and elle on different occasions at the one, buffalo at the other and watched by leopard at same place. At another where we just drove to, we saw 11 or 12 rhino together. (A forumite and his brother joined us.)
But even my house in skukuza is special. Saw a porcupine again there the other night when i visited my family. And elle a few metres from the fence
It's nice to be a person. You must just be a nice person!
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ndloti
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by ndloti » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:09 am

Image

A typical Kruger Lister diesel motor and pump .
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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Grantmissy
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by Grantmissy » Tue Nov 12, 2013 8:17 am

[
wacktazz wrote:Before you could use it, you should first pump water, via the old lister. For those that do not know what a lister is: its a small pump driven by diesel. To get it started, you have to swing the handle, which you also have to grab off the pump as it starts. Which means you have to be awake and sharp.
There is no fence, although there is a small picket fence on the one side of the braai. A cement dam and crip completes the picture a few metres away from the stoep.


:) Sounds peaceful and tranquil. I guess the Kruger experience is quite different for guests who visit Kruger from time to time as it is for people living in Kruger. A great priviledge I think. Some great stories here :thumbs_up:
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”

wacktazz
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by wacktazz » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:29 pm

wow. I haven't been on here for a while. Guess I'm back...
It's nice to be a person. You must just be a nice person!
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by MATTHYS » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:38 pm

:D :D Welcome back, Wacktazz :D
aquila non capit muscas

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by Hippotragus » Mon Sep 14, 2015 8:39 pm

Welcome back Wacktazz! What have you been up to? Looking forward to more of your tales.
Malelane 12th October 2016
Skukuza 16th October 2016
Lower Sabie 17th October 2016
Skukuza 2nd-5th March 2017
Satara 5th-8th March 2017
Tamboti 8th-11th March 2017

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by carolynn » Tue Sep 15, 2015 6:33 am

Oh my word Wacktazz, I have often wondered what happened to you - used to so enjoy your Kruger tales. Are you back in Kruger now, I think Nhuhle (spelling?) would surely benefit from your help!
Live each day as if it's your last... and one day you'll be right!

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by wacktazz » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:02 am

Hi Carolynn and others. Unfortunately I'm not back in the park, but in Nelspruit. U saw a week or so ago that the three picnic sites is up for grabs. Maybe we can get someone with deep pockets to tender and use my skills lol. I haven't been inside the park for about a year now and haven't been to Nkhuhlu or Tshwokane for about two although I saw some of my old staff at the gholf club. Yup I miss those days where I get paid to talk to tourists daily. I started a cleaning business about a year back and also do some consulting for a lodge and a small restaurant so not really out of the game I suppose. And yes. Busy with my long anticipated book of course. Even if it doesn't get published, I'll probably just make it available online one day. I worked out I should earn at least R3.25 per month for the rest if my life if I get it right lol
It's nice to be a person. You must just be a nice person!
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salamanda
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by salamanda » Tue Sep 15, 2015 4:06 pm

Wacktazz! Great to see you back. I used to love your posts, I think your skills are sadly needed at the picnic sites, so holding thumbs! Good luck with the book too, I'm sure you will have a large readership amongst the Kruger mites . . . .

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by wacktazz » Tue Sep 15, 2015 5:16 pm

A quick intro into the book... Hope you like it.
How I ended up in the Kruger Park was almost by accident. I grew up in Bloemfontein, a mostly Afrikaans city. I traveled some of the country at that stage, including Cape Town, George, Port Elizabeth, Durban and so forth. But never on the other side of Johannesburg simply because I thought South Africa ended more or less where Witbank (now Emalahleni) ends. During 2001 I worked at a family steak house with hundreds of branches all over the country. At that stage I was based at the East Rand Mall in Boksburg and I got a phone call from a manager at the OR Thambo outlet, asking me if I would be interested in a position at their branch. (In those days cell phone reception was still determined by the weather I suppose and the thickness of the wall you are trying to speak through. It wasn’t uncommon to have regular break-ups in reception and you had to repeat yourself a few times if one of the two of you was in a bad reception area.) As my luck would have it, I had a proper induction in this. Simply because at the two most important parts, being where and when, of the other persons sentence to me enquiring whether I would be interested in a job, the reception broke up twice - for exactly one and a halve seconds- enough to make sure that I had no idea what was lying in-store for me. At least I heard that I had to see him the next morning for a quick chat.
So off I went to the Airport outlet to see Mr Mcdonald . I met him and he was speaking so fast I was ten sentences behind no matter what I said or heard. He continued drawing a map which included a bakery, deli and restaurant. While trying to listen to him, my eyes wandered around and started looking for this so called bakery and that he was talking about. The next minute two cups of coffee arrived and he told me, without explaining anything else, that I have until he is finished with his coffee to decide whether I am going to Skukuza the next morning- while he gave me a 13 second breakdown of what the job entails. And I still could not find neither the deli nor the bakey. Naturally I said yes to the position and then simply asked him where this Skukuza place was- was it more towards Randburg or more towards Alberton side. He simply told me it’s on the other side of Nelspruit. If you thought that helped me, I asked him where Nelspruit was, to which he replied: “just before The Kruger National Park.” Great. I just accepted a job offer in some redicilous place called Skukuza, which is on the other side of some place called Nelspruit and which must be close to a plaace called The Kruger National Park. Awesome. I was also told very politely that I am not allowed to take my motorcycle there as I will not be allowed to drive it. I mean come on- was this so called Skukuza a concentration camp or what?
In those years you could not rely on your smart phone to Google places and if you had a travellers map, it always helps that you know where to search for a specific place more or less. So I tried to do it the old fashioned way- phone a friend. Unfortunately none of my friends heard of this Skukuza place, never mind The Kruger National Park. In fact this Free State boy phoned a few friends and some even told me this new home of mine is overseas-Yeah- I was going overseas!!
It's nice to be a person. You must just be a nice person!
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Bushbuddies
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by Bushbuddies » Tue Sep 15, 2015 7:55 pm

Hi wacktazz! I don't think we've met... So I'll be one of your new forum friends! :D Your buff pies have been mentioned in so many posts I've read over the years - it is an honor to finally meet the man behind the great buff pie! Great start to your book! Keep it going - it might just become a big hit!
:dance: First South to North KNP trip booked! :dance:
10-11 June 2017 - Lower Sabie
12-14 June 2017 - Talamati
15-17 June 2017 - Olifants
18-20 June 2017 - Mopani
21-22 June 2017 - Punda Maria
22-23 June 2017 - Pafuri Border Camp

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by meercatmaz » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:12 am

Hi wacktazz...we've all got our reasons of how we ended up in Kruger but yours must be one of the funniest :lol:
I've never had a buff pie but by all reports I'm missing out on a treat

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salamanda
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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by salamanda » Wed Sep 16, 2015 10:18 am

:lol: Wacktazz. That is pretty funny! But you're not seriously going to leave us hanging there are you? :shock: We all need to actually get into Kruger with you and see what your first impressions were . . . . :whistle:

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Re: What's it like to live in Kruger?

Unread post by wacktazz » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:18 pm

salamanda wrote::lol: Wacktazz. That is pretty funny! But you're not seriously going to leave us hanging there are you? :shock: We all need to actually get into Kruger with you and see what your first impressions were . . . . :whistle:


Some background: Me and my colleague, Ryan worked and lived together and we were both newbies on this game reserve thing and we knew nothing about nothing from Skukuza:
We worked for days on end without really seeing or doing anything else. We used to have weekly management meetings where we would get our roster for the new week only to find that Jose gave you off the previous day or so. So we worked for about six weeks without being off. Ryan and I decided after about two weeks that we were going home early one night to explore the area. Baring in mind that we knew where we were working, where we were staying and where the local bank was. Nothing else. So made big plans that night and put on our best night club clothes and put on the best deodorant we could find in the shop. So now being dressed for a night out, we had to phone a friend to explain where the night club was. Bare in mind that both me and Ryan were both young and we were born to be in a pub or night club. And we both came from Johannesburg at that stage, which has no shortage of watering holes. So I called Oom Frik and asked about the nightlife he was talking about earlier. As it happens we were standing in the parking area and asked for directions.
Me: “Oom Frik where is the night club that you talked about?”
Oom Frik: “ What nightclub?”
Me: “Remember you said Skukuza has got an awesome nightlife?”
Oom Frik: “ Oh yes.. Are you standing outside in the parking area?”
Me: “Yes”
Oom Frik: “ Look up. What do you see and hear?
Me: “I see stars and the moon and some animal sounds in the distance”
Oom Frik: “ That’s awesome. That’s Skukuzas' nightlife”
I am not sure who was more disappointed between myself and Ryan about the fact that we did not see that one coming. So we did what a South African does best. We improvised. We understood that there was a caravan area close-by so we thought it must have at least a pub or bar close-by. We started walking towards the area which said “caravans” in the hope of meeting up with fellow South Africans. We stumbled across the Selati restaurant by accident, which would become my project in a few months to come.

Working in a remote nature reserve means that you instantly get a degree in hospitality, veterinary services, wildlife services, science and astronomy. The simple reason is that you will always encounter a tourist who asks you random questions about the surroundings. It doesn’t matter what role you fulfill in the reserve, you will always be seen as a person who knows what’s going on. Reminding you that the closest I came to wild animals was the zoo and National Geographic on TV, tells you a lot of the fun that I had with tourists. I think in those first few months I learned more from tourists than they from me. One of the questions that pops up regularly is where the lions are and the other is “what kind of tree is that? Now I heard of a few trees in my life before and for me a tree had only two functions: wood or shade. So naturally when I had no idea what kind of tree it was, I would make a joke of it and reply that it’s a shade tree and change the subject quickly.
To the other question I just replied to all that they were seen just outside the Skukuza gate the previous day. And this was day in and day out. I am almost positive that I would have been chased out of the park if a ranger heard about my views on the wild.
I must also throw in that it took me about a month to figure out that a rooibok and Impala is the same thing. I remember standing at the deck of the restaurant once with said creatures grazing ever so happily. Two Afrikaans families were having lunch and the one guy kept referring to the “rooibokke” and the other one talking about Impalas. Naturally I was a bit confused as I only saw one specie. So without asking questions I made up my mind that the one must be male and the other female because I mean, where do they see the second group of antelope?
It's nice to be a person. You must just be a nice person!
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