How did your love for Kruger start?

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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by oddesy »

What a great topic, i have really enjoyed reading everyones kruger starter experiences! :thumbs_up:
Welcome to the forums Drake! :clap: from your first post i can see that you will fit right in :thumbs_up:

For me im one of those lucky people to have been born to a bush crazy mom :) and i think her first visit was when she was just over a year old or so round about 1966-67. And with her whole family being in love with kruger when she met my dad he was converted, i was born and a few months later in july i had my first trip :dance: my brother followed and he is now also hooked. Without a doubt some of my best childhood memories are ones from shingwedzi, running around in the sand and chasing the squirrels :redface: there are also thsoe memories of sightings imprinted in your brain. I remember that when the dining room table started to become full it signalled that our annual kruger trip was not far away :dance:

The experience does change you, my brother is now studying nature conservation and im doing a bachelor of science in zoology,environmental science and parasitology. Once you are hooked the feelings never change!
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Bushbaby30 »

I didn't have a choice: I was there before I was born (twice) and my first real visit was at three months old when I screamed incessantly inside the hut. Take me outside and I was fine! In the end my mom and I slept in the staff village. It was a grass allergy, but luckily I discovered an antidote.
Coming and going to the Kruger dominated my childhood and I was even flower girl there!
I suppose I was just born a bushbaby!!!
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Scorpion »

I was introduced to Kruger by my SO about 9years ago and fell in love with the 'wild-side of life'. :) I don't know if my parents even knew about Sanparks - and my Mom is most definately not a 'bush-person' :lol:

We now life 9mins drive from Kruger and we visit at least once a week, my whole family including my kids love our regular visits to Kruger and wants to be involved with wildlife when they grow up. :thumbs_up:
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by michel367 »

My love started a long long time ago.
During the 1970's we use to live in South Africa and we went on a holiday to a place called Kruger Park.
I was about 7 years of age and then the journey took about 2 days.
Never will I forget nor have I ever forgotten the smell of Kruger upon entering the gate.
End 70's my parents decide to remigrate and it took me 27 years to decide to go back to the place where I saw my first wild animals. The spark was rekindled to an undying flame and eversinds I come back every year to take a wiff of that place I now call home.
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Scipio »

Simple, Kruger has been part of my life forever. 8) Also Kalahari Gemsbok Park(Now KTP) Addo etc. But Kruger is just special. :thumbs_up:
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by klotzof »

1975 I was 9 and I went with my parents. Had been 2x before but I was to young to remember. My mom loved the park and she would always say we have to stay out till the gate closed . We managed to see lions late one afternoon and to this day I am aways the last one in camp. We stayed at Satara and Skukuza on that trip. One afternoon we were at Nkaya pan when a game ranger happenned to recognise my father , he had been a patient of my dad's, he asked to follow him and promptly produced 3 cheetah. It was amazing . Later on in that trip he took us to the animal holding pens in Skukuza where he let me pat a kudu and a Cheetah cub by the name of Taga who they were trying to return to the wild. They subsequently made a TV programme about him.

I have been hooked ever since and try and return as often as possible. Thankfully my wife and kids love it to.
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Rob C »

I've been going to Kruger ever since I was a could say even when I was in my mom's you could say it's always been in my blood! :)
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by barcelona »

My love started at a very early age, but had nothing to do with visiting the park, except in the vivid imagination of a 7 year old. Being Canadian, it seemed a far off and unreachable dream at that age, staring at it from the pages of my brand new National Geographic kids magazine. I remember staring up at my dad and telling him I would go there one day, but I was afraid. He asked me what I was afraid of, and I answered "when I go there, I will never return home again. I will miss you all." I guess, even at that tender age, I was pretty sure it would claim my soul. And on my first visit in 2008, finally reaching that seemingly unobtainable goal, it did just that. I cried the day I had to leave, and for months afterward tried any way I could to find a way to work in the park, thus never having to leave it again....
It pointed me towards the path I am on now. It nurtured my love for animals, and I became a Veterinary Technologist. It is, in some ways, part of who I am.
I now have a 7 month old daughter, and dream that she too fall in love. She will have a chance to visit the park at an earlier age than I did, and, if she wants, to return again and again.
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Morkel777 »

It's simple. we visited Kruger annually (sometimes even twice a year) since I can remember. With my parents both being teachers at the time, we had every school holiday to do something together - and with expensive overseas holidays out of the question on a double pedagogic salary base - Kruger was just the thing.

Me and my sis would buy those books where you tick off the sightings for points and we would hold a contest every year! But it always ended up being my mother's sharp eyes which saw the good stuff first :clap: :dance:

I have now stepped it up a bit - and I make sure I visit at least 2-3 times a year.
Planning the next trip already...
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by goafrica »

:clap: :clap: :clap: These stories are wonderful, and however long or short a time people have been visiting they all have one thing in common........its love at first sight!!

My sons University in UK had an arrangement ( Tenteleni) for students to spend summer vac teach in in a school anywhere in SA. His happened to be near Kruger. I can still hear the excitement in his voice when he called to tell us about his weekend trip to Kruger and that he wanted us to visit. We had no money, but what the he**. I scoured around for cheap flights.............and a few weeks later we were on our way.

The long drive from Joburg was so exciting, and we stayed outside the Park the first night. Already we were amazed by the birds! I had imagined we would take days to even see wrong were we, and at the sight of our first *** I cried...........still do! The rest is history.............whatever the sacrifices we come back every year! We dont need new clothes, dinners out, our home has got a bit shabby, and many things we go without to come back to Kruger. The only thing I wouldnt sell to make the trip is the dog ( well............come to think of it........anyone out there need a spaniel???)

One thing we dont go without tho, our South African red wine............. :D :D
Just a whole year to wait till August 2011! I cant bear it.
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Sundowner »

I was very fortunate to have been born and raised on the Kruger's doorstep, in the small beautiful town of Phalaborwa. I finished school there and since I was at the age where you can actually remember, we were in the Kruger almost every week.

Sometimes my late old man would impulsively pack the binoculars and camera with a couple of drinks and biltong, tell me to jump in and drive through the Phalaborwa gate, even just for an afternoon visit to the Sable dam close by or the Masorini picnic site if we didn't have enough time to go through to Letaba for the day.

We often visited Letaba as it was close by and I loved the view from the restaurant over the river. We would have a Buffalo pie and Cream Soda and then would drive back again. Visiting the camps, I always remembered seeing lots of happy people that made the trips just that more special as well.

My old man was a great bird lover and my mom (still in Phalaborwa) loved the togetherness of the family when in the Kruger. This was truely a happy time for all in our family.
Unfortunately I now stay in Pretoria, but each time I get to visit my mother in Phalaborwa, you would surely be seeing me in the Kruger for at least a weekend as well! After all, the Kruger will remain in my blood for many years to come...
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Siobain »

I was 6 years old when my parents first took me to Kruger, being the youngest of 5 siblings in my Dad's big black Valiant, with a little bobbing head lion on the dash, Eish! :doh:

We stayed at Pretoriuskop and Lower Sabie. I can still remember the awesome sightings we had of lions at a giraffe kill, my first LIT close to the 'Jock' memorial, as the general public were able to drive that road at the time, also the one and only time I ever saw a brown Hyena in Kruger, the elephant bull we named "Roger the dodger" who had a large hole through his left ear, on cue he would wait for cars outside Lower Sabie gate, and have a game with everyone mock charging and blocking the road on a regular basis, ensuring some arrived late at camp.

Needless to say, I have loved and returned to Kruger on a regular basis since that time, many moons ago, and of course, will continue to do so as long as I possibly can.
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Guzz »

I grew up in Newcastle, about a 5 hour drive from the park. My folks took us there every 2 years, mostly in the June holiday, from being a toddler to my early high school days. We always spent most of the trip in Skukuza, but one year, (I think I was about 8 or 9) we ventured up to Letaba and Shingwedzi. This also happened to be the first time we saw Lions, and a Leopard. :dance:

One year in particular I was up all night, with excitement, before we left on our Kruger holiday. It was a freezing night! When 3 o'clock came my dad's alrm clock went off, we were up in a flash, through the bath, kettle on, flasks filled and "padkos ready. My dad came walking into the kitchen with drooping shoulders and told us to look outside. :big_eyes: During the night it started snowing! :big_eyes: About 5 inches of snow fell during the night and we later heard that most roads around Newcastle had been closed. Although there was excitement about seeing snow in Newcastle for the first time, it was hugely disappointing to have lost out. Luckily however, the next morning we set off to Kruger. :dance:

I remember particularly the wildlife movies that they showed at Skukuza at night. Dragging a blanket with us after supper to see the lion and elephant documentaries. :popcorn: Remember, this was before the days of M-Net and DSTV where we see National Geographic movies daily!

My mother's aunt worked in the switchboard in Skukuza at one stage and I remember her showing us how the phone calls came in and how she would switch the cables to transfer the calls. Amazing how times have changed.....
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by TheunsH »

My love and addiction for Kruger started many years ago. My late father was a State veterinary surgeon and the KNP was one of his areas. We stayed in Pietersburg and my twin brother and I accompanied him to Kruger during numerous school holidays. We mostly stayed in Skukuza camp and that is why Skukuza has a VERY special place in my heart….it brings back many memories of good times and great trips with my father. :thumbs_up:

During working hours, while my father was doing his work, my brother and I used to run wild in Skukuza camp and we knew the museum like the palm of our hands due to approximately 6 visits a day!! We went on drives with my father after he had finished his work each day. We have also stayed in the personnel town a few times.

During those years I have met amazing people at Skukuza, for instance the late Dr Young who was also a vet. He had a tame cheetah and if I can remember correctly the cheetah’s name was Targa or Taga? On one occasion my brother and I accompanied him and his cheetah in his Landy for the cheetah to do a bit of hunting. We had some very strange stares from other visitors with the cheetah sitting upright on the passenger seat!! :shock:

In those days night drives were non-existent and we were fortunate as well to do a few night drives. Later on, when we were a bit older, we were fortunate to tag along on 2 occasions during elephant culling operations where we flew in the Park’s helicopter during the recce process and after that joining the ground team for the actual cull. We have also visited the abattoir at Skukuza while it was still operational.

Thinking back one thought keeps on coming back….”Those were the days my friend!”

Kruger is still great today and we are regular visitors…Last year we had 4 visits to Kruger and this year 1 already!! :thumbs_up:
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Re: How did your love for Kruger start?

Unread post by Bundu_SA_Guy »

My Late uncle introduced our family to the Kruger in the late 50's early 60's, the only problem we had was that accommodation for Indians was limited to a few rondawels in specific camps thus they were almost always fully booked. Whenever my uncle managed to get bookings he would book every available rondawel and offer it to the family, which meant that most of the times when we went to Kruger we went in a large group, but had to stay at different camps.We used to go at least once a year to Kruger, besides the trip we did to the Kruger when I was a baby, I can remember every other trip and in which camps we stayed and some of our highlights.

After I got married my SO was not keen on visiting Kruger so that put an end to my Kruger visits, however in 2002 my SO and I and our 2 kids (both were under 5) did a trip to "Eastern Transvaal" and we spent one night in Kruger and that's when my family got bitten by the Kruger Bug, thereafter we have been visiting Kruger sometimes up to 3 trips a year.

Next Kruger trip - 05/04/2010 - 07/04/2010 - Satara (My favourite camp)
07/04/2010 - 10/04/2010 - Skukuza
Stress levels are rising ... need a Kruger fix