Old Kruger park Stories

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moobox
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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread post by moobox »

I havent read through the whole thread here but I remember when I was a pup and my old man drove a little Mini Minor.
And he had a wooden bench and he'd get us all up at like I dont know what hour but it was in Springs and still dark when we got to KNP gates so go figure.
Anyway, he'd pile us all in the car.
And my sister would sleep on the back seat of the Mini and I'd sleep on the bench squeezed between the front and back seats.
Child abuse I reckon but we loved it.
And my Mom would make boiled eggs and little cocktail sausages.
And we'd eat this on the way.
And zoo biscuits. Plenty of them.
So many that the inside of your moth got raw from sucking and licking that marzipan off them.
And then we'd actually wait at the gates for opening time.

Anyway, when we got to go in there was always a prize for the first oke who spots this or that animal or bird or whatever.
And the person who spotted the most got the title game spotter number 1.
Really nuts and childish but heck, we enjoyed it and these memories are so vivid whereas a lot of others have faded.
I don't know why.
And when we go to KNP nowadays, even if it's just me and my wife, I force this little game on her.
And she complains a bit but joins in OK after a while.

In the camps I remember swept sand around the bungalows.
And when you wanted to cook meat or something on the fire, then some oke would bring you a shovelful of coals and toss it down where you can cook.

Now one time the old man reckoned it was time for him and his son to bond a bit so he brought along a two man tent.
An orange one and I still have it and I cabinned with my son in the thing when he was pretty small.
He's mid twenties now.
Just in the backyard here and my staffie chewed up the tent posts because we let her sleep in there with us. But anyway, that night that the old man and me got to bonding was pretty interesting.
Because I had these little brown leather sandals.
Like the old granny sandals we all used to wear.
And in the morning there was one of them lying outside the tent chewed into like a little ball of leather and rubber.
And the other one was gone.
And the game ranger reckoned it was a hyena so we only did the one night of bonding because my mom said the old man could go and do some bonding out there by himself but her kids could bond with him back home.

I went on a few school trips as well but didn't really enjoy them.
I remember the movies out in the open and the dormitories and things.
Not bad but not the ideal way to go for me.

Cheers - Ed
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Stampajane
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Re: Your Earliest Memories of Kruger

Unread post by Stampajane »

I remember as a little girl in the mid sixties, playing on a concrete structure that had a iron pole jutting out of it in Skukuza overlooking the river. We played imaginary games there for what seemed like hours.

I also remember all the kids playing cricket on a big open patch near the entrance to Satara camp when a couple of lions strolled through the gates. Us kids all rushed to have a look, our mothers all yelled for us to come back and the guards hurried to shoosh them out and close the gates. Pandemonium reigned for a short while!
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Re: The sad demise of the communal braai

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The communal braai was the place where the experiences were shared/boasted about. It was also a place where the less skilled braaiers could learn from the skilled and soon become experts.


Hundreds of tons of suitable firewood was collected in the veld and transported to the picnic spots, rest camps and staff accommodation/facilities.

For several years concern was expressed regarding the ecological impact of removing the large amounts of firewood required for maintaining fires in rest camps and picnic sites. Supplies of suitable firewood in the proximity of rest camps became depleted and and consequently the cost of collecting firewood escalated. In 1988 the Cadac company approached the Park and offered to provide a variety of gas braais to the Nkuhlu picnic spot on an experimental basis. This offer was accepted

After a trial run proved successful gas braais were provided at the Tshokwane picnic spot.

The wood fires used for cooking in the staff compounds were successfully replaced with gas stoves.

However gas was more expensive than wood, the problem was solved when ESKOM power was supplied to to rest camps in 1993. Electric stoves were installed in all staff accommodation units/facilities by 1994.

At a meeting held June 1990 the KNP Management Committe decided that in order to assist rural communities in Mozambique certain commodities e.g. Msimbiti poles (used as building material) and firewood would be obtained in exchange for food and other essentials.

Msimbiti poles were also sourced from the Venda communities.
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What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Grantmissy »

Imagine it is 1956 today and you have just entered the Numbi Gate for a three week visit in the Kruger. How do you think the three weeks will be compared to a visit today in 2014? Let me try to imagine how Kruger was in 1956:

No cell phone, IPad, notebook chargers and adapters to pack as these were non- existent in 1956. As there were no Facebook or Twitter in Kruger I would have bought writing paper, envelopes and stamps at the reception shop in Pretoriuskop to mail letters to family back home to let them know that we have arrived safely. Remember it is 1956.

In Pretoriuskop we would have probably had lunch under the trees. I guess the lunch would have been sandwiches, boerewors and hard boiled eggs and strong black coffee brought from home. No juicy flame grilled hamburgers with a crushed black pepper sauce at the Wimpy .

At Skukuza we will probably have to fill up the big old Plymouth with Pegasus petrol from a hand pump. No environmental friendly petrol at an electrified petrol station and no Prado’s, Jeeps and Landrover’s with internet access, Facebook and Youtube available inside the air conditioned vehicle.

In Satara we will treat ourselves and order lunch from the Satara Restaurant under the large verandah covered with the red roof and enjoy the lunch from the set menu at 5 Pennies per meal - Elephant meat stew, rice, gravy and two cooked vegetables and red jelly served with slightly burned custard and condensed milk tea. No Mugg and Bean food, Latte’s or Debonairs pizza in an air conditioned environment.

How do you think the three weeks will be compared to a visit today? And what would you have packed in the place of the cell phones and laptops that we pack today? And would you have survived three weeks without Googling even once in the Kruger?
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Hugh
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Hugh »

I was in Kruger in about that time and we stayed at Malelane ( school trip) so it was beeeeg tents . food was served under a huge tarpaulin. Shop hours were only about a hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon and they sold mixed pickles condensed milk Sardines marie biscuits and that's about all oh and few souvenirs . No electricity and just the paraffin lamps ..... and it was lovely ...I would love it to be that way again.Oh and I would love to be that age again too !!!!!
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Carol g »

GM that would be sheer bliss, remember the radios the camps had at reception, the only means the had to communicate with other camps

I would go to Olifants and have supper in the restaurant, white tablecloths and silver cutlery, waiters that served you and looked after your every need, maybe the restaurant wasn't yet but I'm dreaming of those days long long ago
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Elsa »

A similar sort of topic Old School vs "New"
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Rooies »

Old school for sure. No tarred roads, communal fire at the restaurant in the evenings, the big pots with genuine leadwood fires at the picnic sites, no bloomin TV, radio, cell phone or other electronic gadgets. It were the days when the entire neighborhood gathered around you and assist to pitch your tents. It were the days when people had respect for each other and adhered to the rules.

Food consisted mainly of dried fruit, biltong, tinned food and rusks. And of course home made cookies. Fresh meat lasted the first few days. Water was kept cool by pouring it into a canvas bag that was attached to the side mirror.

How did we survive that? Well, our over 50's are still around aren't we? Some of the roads were closed during summer months and the entire region above Olifants were closed then. Some of my older maps does not even feature the northern area.

I am fortunate enough to be invited to visit Ingwelala Private Reserve, which borders Kruger, twice a year. There one gets the feeling of how it was during the 1950's. There is no electricity at the bungalows, so no noisy hair driers, radios or TV, and if you are attached to a heart-lung machine, sorry, you will die in the bush. There is also no fencing around your bungalow and one gets regular visits from hyenas who will try and steal your meat from the braai. A while ago we had to assist a couple who could not get into their bungalow. Lions caught an Impala right in front of their door :shock:

This is how I prefer my Kruger. Primitive and wild.
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Lepardfan »

For me it would just be heaven similar to now, when visiting Kruger, but just better... :whistle:

If that makes any sense. :mrgreen:
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Grantmissy
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Grantmissy »

The trunks or boots of the cars in 1956 must have been roomy to pack all the camping gear, bedding and food for a family who did not stay in the Kruger huts. In 2014 camping gear is designed to travel light and with maximum comfort and convenience in mind. Perhaps there was no space in the trunk for mattresses and sheets and blankets were used on a ground cover for sleeping arrangements. It was likely then that the entire family went uh ..uh …uh..uh next morning when they had to get up from their ground level bed. If it was possible to time travel back to 1956 some of us 2014 Kruger visitors might struggle with the logistics of a 1956 Kruger holiday :) .

But I think it was also a time of great adventure.

Rooies wrote:Lions caught an Impala right in front of their door
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”
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Grantmissy
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Grantmissy »

But 1956 it could have been a challenge :|

Rooies wrote:if you are attached to a heart-lung machine, sorry, you will die in the bush.
“Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, it's the only time we've got.”
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Stampajane
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Stampajane »

If it was 1956, I would still be a twinkle in my father's eye.
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Grantmissy
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Grantmissy »

:lol: Stampie.

I have some of the notebooks of my family from the 1950’s onwards written about, amongst others, their Kruger holidays. The pages have turned yellow by now. There is a lunch idea for enjoying “when in the outdoors” written in Afrikaans and translated it could be something like this:

“Take a pan and fry slices of corned beef in Holsum until brown. Add a tin of beans in tomato sauce to the fat in the pan and serve the hot beans on the fried slices of corned beef. Any left over meat or vegetables from a tin that is fried in this way are also nice.”

For the 2014 health conscious Kruger visitors the idea of eating 1956 fried slices of corned beef in fat for lunch might sound risky to the health. It is like giving a packet of gummi bears to a person on the Banting diet where sugar is a banned substance.
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Stampajane
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Stampajane »

GM, in the years before we had a family, my husband and I toured all over South Africa on our motorbike. Camping equipment was obviously kept to a minimum and one of our standard easy meals was a tin of corned beef and a tin of baked beans cooked up together.

Thanks for bringing back that memory for me. My mother has always kept a journal of holidays and would probably have old notebooks stored away somewhere. Maybe someday I will have a search for them.
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Re: What if it is 1956 today and you are in Kruger …

Unread post by Herman »

I was born in 1956, but my first visit was not long afterwards in 1964, so I can tell you what it was like. The first animal we saw was a kudu, somewhere between Numbi and Pretoriuskop. We booked in and took a short drive on the Faai loop, returned to camp just to find all our stuff stacked outside our bungalow in a drizzle that started just as we left on our drive - all wet by then. It included our bedding, as it wasn't provided by the park-just iron beds and mattresses inside the bungalow! It turned out the camp staff had double booked - they thought we had to be out on the day we arrived and duly chucked our stuff out when the other people arrived shortly after us ! Remember that's long before email and internet, so I guess bookings had to be sent by slow (only) mail from head office to the park, or even phoned or radioed through - lots of opportunities for human error ! We got sorted out, but the four of us were put up in a seven bed bungalow - it felt like sleeping in a ball room!
I can remember my first encounter with long life milk on that trip - the strange taste it gave to our coffee means that to this day we still refer to long life milk as ""game reserve milk""
I bought a flick knife with a Kruger Park logo for 25cents in the shop and tried to peel an orange with it, just to slip and cut deep into my thumb- the scar is still visible today- 50 years later !!
Our car broke down half way between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza - we waited for ages before the next car arrived - rich Joburg people in a Mercedes Benz - they took us to Skukuza, while my dad stayed behind in the car. We were worried sick about him- what if he got eaten by a lion ? On the way to Skukuza we saw a steenbok and we had to identify it - the stupid Joburgers didn't know what it was.
The AA man from Skukuza rescued our car and my dad, fixed it and we returned to Pkop late that afternoon , never to venture that far into the unknown again during that holiday !
We heard lions roar very close to camp one night , but never saw one, neither did we see any elephants - we did however see a pack of wild dogs without realising how fortunate we were. We also came across a freshly killed warthog carcass in the road with no predator in sight. My dad even got out and inspected it before we drove on. On our return a while later it was gone- I guess the leopard was watching from a few yards ( before metric) away !!?
We did however see one of the big five - six rhinos in the boma where they were kept in the inner circle just south of the camp for a few months after arriving from Natal Parks. Those were the first rhinos back in the Kruger since they were hunted to extinction many years before !
I can also remember the kerosene lanterns, the communal leadwood fireplace and the communal ablution blocks with the smell of Dettol and shiny brass taps and window handles.
The hippo pools on the river road towards Skukuza, where the Shangaan attendant picked me up and put me on his shoulders so that I could see over the reeds - I remember seeing the hippos, but I was more concerned about sitting on the tall man's shoulders so high above my comfort zone!
I can recall a lot more about that first visit ( my first ever holiday apart from visits to family) , but not never again in so much detail about any of my 100+ subsequent visits to the most wonderful place on earth!!
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