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Memorable staff members

Discuss the interaction between humans and nature
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Memorable staff members

Unread post by TreeQueen » Wed Dec 07, 2011 1:25 pm

In the past 20 odd years my family and I have met and made acquaintances with various staff members and what great people they were. Who can remember certain staff members?

I remember a really cool guy by the name of 'Ziggy'. He worked at the Orpen camp and I still remember he took us on a night drive and he knew there were a pride of lions in a certain area so he took us there. He also drove the vehicle onto a dry riverbed to see them.

I also remember Daniel, he worked for so many years until his retirement at the Timbavati picnic spot. He had become so close to the bushbuck that frequented the picnic spot, think the one bushbuck was called Bambi.

We were staying at Maroela and we became friends with a black lady who worked there by the name of Lydia. Her son was extremely ill and we rushed him from the caravan spot to the nearest hospital outside the Park. A good few years later we met Lydia at our Orpen chalet and we all sat around and spoke :D

My folks say that there's a black gentleman who works at the Satara filling station who has been there for donkeys years, anyone know of him?

These are the people I will never forget!
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Oryx » Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:52 pm

TreeQueen, the name of the man who has worked at Satara filling station for many years is Calvin Nkuna. I think he has been there for about 35 years.

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Toddy » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:52 pm

Titus at Balule is definitely my favourite, but that's also because it's my favourite camp to stay at.

Only 4 more weeks till SA & KNP holiday time.

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by RosemaryH » Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:17 am

Someone who I will always remember is Gideon Nkuna who managed Sirheni.
Met him in '98. What an amazing person.
Took the time to chat to all the guests in the camp.
We booked at Sirheni the following year and when we arrived at our chalet, a card welcoming us back to Sirheni and a small bunch of flowers from Gideon & staff had been placed in the chalet!!!
Gideon left Kruger a few years after that :cry: but kept contact with us by sending a postcard once in a while. Sadly, after trying to phone him about a month ago I learned that he has passed away!
A true gentleman who will always be remembered.

Toddy, I agree with you on Titus, he has been at Balule for 17years and in Kruger for 21years.
Had a chat to him on the phone last month.
He too is amazing - was very excited to tell me that he had been to Satara the day before and had seen the big 5 on his way back to Balule :D
For someone that has been in the park for such a long time to still be excited by seeing the Big 5 is truly something special.

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by TheunsH » Sat Dec 10, 2011 4:58 am

The late Dr Young brings back great memories.
He was a veterinarian surgeon based in Skukuza.
He had a pet cheetah called Taga or Targa (can't remember the name) and we once accompanied him, with the cheetah sitting in the front passenger seat of his Land Rover, when he took his cheetah to hunt an impala...the cheetah wasn't successful, but what a memorable trip! :thumbs_up:

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Pamwe Chete » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:50 am

As far as I am concerned most of the people that work in Kruger are special, but there are two that stand out for me:
1) Raymond from Berg en Dal (head guide) - One of the most knowledgeable bush people I know, and also has the uncanny ability to keep your attention for hours.
Most memorable experience was when I had family out from Ireland and Raymond took us on a night drive.
It was still when the King of B&D was around and we had a two meter encounter when he decided to start roaring.
Needless to say the family was "quite uncomfortable" after the roaring.
2) Michael Paxon (ex guide from Mopani, now in Addo) - Also like Raymond a very knowledgeable bush person.
Most memorable experience was walking with Mike and Hennie (just the 3 of us) and seeing a white rhino from probably about 30 meters.
It makes you understand how small you are in the greater scheme of things.
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Bush Baptist » Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:49 pm

Who remembers the legendary Eric from Nkuhlu.

He would chase the vervets away with his catty, and explain to them in "Shangaan" that they were not welcome. I saw him there for years and even took him some sea water on a few occasions. Don't know what he did with it!

Sadly the story is that he was bitten by a snake and never recovered enough to return to work.
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by arks » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:32 am

I agree that Michael (whose surname is Paxton :wink: ) is a marvelous guide, but (unless he's relocated recently?) he's at Mountain Zebra, not Addo — and an occasional contributor to these forums.
I had a fascinating night drive at MZNP with Michael in September, which included a superb sighting of a rhino cow with a calf :dance: , plus lots of smaller things.
Michael's enthusiasm and knowledge for all aspects of his environment were as much a highlight of the drive as the rhinos.
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by TreeQueen » Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:53 pm

More memorable people in Kruger:

Vanessa Strydom - Manager: Conservation Interpretation and Training from SANParks Conservation Services

She took us for our Honorary Ranger Kruger Orientation Course and she was lovely. A tough cookie who knows her bushveld stuff!
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Joao » Sat Dec 17, 2011 4:46 pm

For me it must be Daniel Maluleke from the Nyalaland Trail.

He is very knowledgeable and very entertaining.

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Grantmissy » Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:41 am

In 1990’s there was a very friendly oom (gentleman) working at the Phalaborwa entrance gate. I think he is retired now. Also the manageress of the Skukuza nursery :thumbs_up:. I also remember Gideon Nkuna from Sirheni in the 1990’s.
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by squirrel_asc » Wed Oct 30, 2013 9:02 am

For me, the most memorable person that I've met in the park, by far, is Frank Mabaso from Pafuri picnic site. His incredible knowledge of the bird life in the Pafuri area makes any conversation with him interesting. :)
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Thunderbird7 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:17 pm

Slight thread creep but: Cedric at Mapungubwe. Very knowledgeable and a great dry sense of humour. Particularly the bits about the carved egg holder and the women throwing themselves off the cliff if they wouldn't marry the man they were presented with. My wife's eyes were like soup plates ;)

His rifle was so polished from carrying, it had nearly worn through the barrel. :)

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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Albert » Thu Nov 14, 2013 10:08 am

In more recent years: Gordon Ramsden (Lower Sabie, then B & D and then Satara). A true KNP stalwart.
Obviously Titus at Balule. Always willing to go the extra mile. The last time we camped there we ended up (last spot) with a broken, badly holed braai. Titus managed to "construct" a functional one from bits and pieces he had lying around, delivered it by wheelbarrow!

I remember, many, many years ago (late 60s/early 70s) there were two guys at Shingwedzi called Elias and Fish. Every time we as a family stayed there they would "adopt" us and look after us for the entire time we were there. I remember one trip we made to Pafuri (from Shingwedzi!) shortly after some heavy rains; we slid and slithered on the Nyala drive, got bogged down in thick helped out by a ranger and his Landrover....big adventure! When we arrived back at Shing the VW Kombi we were driving was still covered in mud; after a cup of tea my dad went out with his camera to get a picture of the dirty car (it was spectacularly muddy), and there was Elias and Fish giving the shining, freshly washed Kombi a final rub-down....
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Re: Memorable staff members

Unread post by Bundi » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:03 am

My favourite people in the park are Tinyiko and Victor from Orpen Restcamp. Both are very helpful and friendly gentlemen and will always make you feel at home and check in to see how you are doing. I don't think I have ever seen Victor without a smile and he always makes time to talk to the children too.

The nice thing about this is that their attitudes are rubbing off onto the other staff members too, which is exactly why Orpen is such a special place. You almost get the feeling that the camp is privatised and belongs to them.

On a different note unfortunately nowadays there are some forgettable people in the park too. I can mention a few of them here but will restrain myself from doing so.

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