Place names in Kruger - origin and meaning

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Origin of Camp Names

Unread post by Guinea Pig »

I was reading what Danie wrote about Lake Panic and started thinking. I know what Skukuza means and I've read the explanation for Punda Maria. What about the other camps like Satara, gates eg Phabeni, hides etc.
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Unread post by wendyp »

When farms were surveyed in this part of the world, the Indian surveyor wrote down satra, '17' in Hindi, in his note book.
So, that's where the name Satara comes from. Found this info on aardvark.
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Unread post by Wild@Heart »

Taken from

History of Orpen

One of the urgent needs of the infant Kruger National Park was the provision of water to the growing number of game. The park represented a cause that was close to many people’s hearts. JH Orpen, a surveyor and member of the National Parks Board helped sponsor boreholes for the park. His wife Eileen bought up seven farms immediately to the west of Rabelais gate during the 1930s and 1940s and donated them to the Park, thereby extending the total area by almost 24 500 hectares.

When the entrance to the Park was moved 10km (6 miles) to the west of Rabelais in 1954, and a new rest camp was established beside the gate, it was named in honour of the Orpen family.

Berg-en-Dal Camp, which was opened in 1984, means 'mountain and dale' and is aptly named for its superb location.

Crocodile Bridge Camp:

During the eighteenth century, European explorers were lured inland by legends of the fabulous gold riches of Monomotapa. They came into conflict with the local inhabitants, whose traditional way of life was threatened by these unknown visitors from across the sea.

Francois de Cuiper of the Dutch East India Company led the first expedition to the area from the Cape in 1725. His party was attacked by local inhabitants in the Gomondwane bush (just north of Crocodile Bridge), and forced to retreat to Delagoa Bay.

When the Sabie Reserve (a forerunner of the Kruger National Park) was proclaimed in the late 19th century, Crocodile Bridge was one of the first four ranger posts. The bridge across the Crocodile River, visible from the rest camp, once formed part of the Selati railway line that wound its way through the Park to Skukuza. Construction of the bridge started in 1894 and was completed just before the end of the 19th century. The bridge continues despite being damaged in severe floods during February 2000.

Letaba Rest Camp:

In prehistoric times, parts of the present-day Kruger National Park were inhabited by successive groups of people. One such example is that of picturesque Masorini Hill which is 39km (24 miles) from Letaba. Human habitation at Masorini has been traced back several centuries to the late Stone Age, while more recently it has been home to the BaPhalaborwa tribespeople who inhabited it in the early 19th century.

They were cattle and crop farmers, as well as ironsmiths of note, who made a living by manufacturing iron artifacts and trading with Arab merchants on the east coast. Archaeological excavations have revealed hut floors, packed stone walls and terraces, grinding stones, pot shards, glass beads, ash and even food remains.

Most impressive, however, are the iron-melting furnaces, smithies and worked artifacts. The village offers an example of a specialized economyand well-developed technology that existed well before the arrival of the white man in South Africa. The origin of a typical Portuguese cross, carved into an old leadwood tree along the S95 road just north of Letaba, remains shrouded in mystery. It may have been carved by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinandes das Neves, during his expedition to the Soutpansberg in 1860-61.

Pretoriuskop Camp:

Between 1836 and 1860, groups of Voortrekkers investigated various possible routes through the Lowveld to the Portuguese harbours in Mozambique in an effort to establish trade. The Voortrekkers were a group of Dutch-speaking colonists that left the Cape Colony during the 1830s in pursuit of their vision of political autonomy in the interior, far from British influence and administration. Pretoriuskop Camp lies near one of these trade routes, and takes its name from the nearby hill where Pretorius is buried.

The Portuguese pioneer, João Albasini was the first European trader and elephant hunter to settle in the Lowveld. Between 1845 and 1860, he established various trading posts along the routes between the harbours in Mozambique and the inland mines and centers of the ivory trade. It was Albasini that buried Willem Pretorius at the base of Pretoriuskop. The ruins of his homestead north of the rest camp have been partly rebuilt. Visitors may leave their vehicles and view the exhibit of old photographs and artifacts documenting daily life of the day.

The most famous character from the days of the transport rider, Jock of the Bushveld, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross, was immortalized in a book by his owner, Sir Percy FitzPatrick, who wrote about his exploits with Jock while working as a transport rider in the Lowveld in the late nineteenth century. Jock's birthplace where he was born in 1885 is marked along the Voortrekker Road, which runs south east of Pretoriuskop. Pretoriuskop Camp features prominently in the history of tourism in the Kruger Park as well, since it was the first rest camp to be opened to visitors.

The Wolhuter hut at Pretoriuskop Camp dates from 1930 and is one of the few original huts built in the Park to provide tourist acommodation. Though no longer in use, it is being meticulously restored to its original form.

Shingwedzi Camp:

Shingwedzi Camp is associated first and foremost with Elephant, the world's largest land mammal. Breeding herds of 50 to 60 animals are common in this region. During the 1970s and 1980s some of the Kruger National Park's biggest tuskers roamed the region. They were named the Magnificent Seven, and one, Shingwedzi who died near the rest camp in 1981, carried tusks which weighed in at 47 and 58 Kg respectively. His tusks as well as those of his fellow giants can be viewed at Letaba Rest Camp.

It still remains uncertain from whence the name Shingwedzi is derived, but it is believed that the early Tsonga named the rivers of this area after prominent local people. Shingwedzi is said to be a combination of Shing-xa-goli, the name of a prominent person and 'njwetse', which describes the sound of iron being rubbed together.
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Unread post by Meg »

Tshokwane was a tusker (no longer around) who lived in the area around the tea room I believe.

As for what was said above about Jock of the Bushveld, and completely off topic - does anyone know where we could get a couple of the old '80's movie? While home in December we asked in CNA and every video shop in Nelspruit, but none of them could help us :( .
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Unread post by Guinea Pig »

Hi Meg!
I got a copy for my kids at "Leisure Books". You need to be a member to order by post, but they have a huge shop in Cape Town where you buy off the shelf.
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Unread post by wildtuinman »

I think the elephant was named after the already named Tshokwane picnic spot.
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Unread post by Hassim »

According to "The Prime Origins Guide to Exploring Kruger", Tshokwane was the name of a local Shangaan chief who died in the early 1900's.

It also says that Phabeni was a Swazi chief, and is also the name of a stream close to the gate.
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place names

Unread post by fevertree »

Watch out for a new publication due soon - A Dictionary of Place Names in the Kruger National Park.
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Unread post by sillysally »

According to "A Dictionary of Kruger Park Place Names", Babalala is an historical name of a Tsonga person who lived here in earlier times, and not due to a bad night with a bottle.
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The meaning of some of camp names

Unread post by Foxy »

From the mountains

At the mlala palm

Relections of moonlight

Punda Milia
Striped donkey



The camp gets its name from the African nickname for the Park's first warden - Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton and means "he who has turned everything upside down"
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Place names in Kruger - origin and meaning

Unread post by DuQues »

Lifted from another topic, I think it deserves it's own.

Frederik wrote:(...) I realize that just about everybody knows that Skukuza is a corruption of "sikhukhuza", the Zulu for "he who sweeps clean", referring to Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton, first warden of Kruger. But did you know that "N’wanetsi" comes from the Tsonga "n’wetsi-n’wetsi" which means to "glimmer or shine", so N'wanetsi is “the spruit with the shiny, glimmering water”.

Who knows more explanations and/or meanings of names in Kruger?
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Re: Place names in kruger - Explanations and meanings

Unread post by DinkyBird »

Buy the book "A Dictionary of Kruger National Park Place Names" by JJ Kloppers and Hans Bornman ISBN 0-9584782-1-X :D

An extract from the above book:

AFSAAL - Picnic spot and borehole, situated 21km noth of Malelane, next to the tarred road between Skukuza and Malelane, on the banks of the Mrthowa Creek.

Afsaal is an Afrikaans word for
'a place next to the road where one breaks a journey to have a rest'. Named by Dr U de V Pienaar when the road was built in 1985.
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Unread post by luislang »

This is very interseting. SO & I were just chatting about the names the other day & saying that we should find out more about the word meanings when we're there next month. We were for example talking about "Manzimhlope" - In Xhosa Manzi (Amanzi) means water & hlope means white. So it could mean "Whitewater", but not being in a Xhosa region we were wondering if it has that meaning. Will have find out.
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Unread post by dianne »

I've recently posted a page on the website on the meanings of place names in the Kgalagadi under "every name tells a story". Think it would be a good idea to add such a page for Kruger?
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Unread post by Vonnie »

bert wrote:Babalala was allready discussed on a previous topic

Comes from the first Voortrekkers being in the vicinity and having had to much mampoer the night before.

Could also mean sleeping man. Baba = man, lala = sleeping
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