How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

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Re: I miss the African Drums at dusk!

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I remember during the late 80s/early 90s the drums used to be played around 5 or 6 o' clock in Satara. That was definitely a great childhood experience for me that I will always remember. Haven't heard any drums in recent years.
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How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by micmic »

I suppose there must be a few people here who first visited Kruger 50 years ago, and I'm curious about how it was back then. I have read a few descriptions from people who first went there in the 70s, but my understanding is that a lot of things changed during the 60s and tourism became much more massive since then. I wonder how much different it was before 1965 ?

Incidentally, I just ordered a movie that was shot in Kruger in the 50s and I can't wait for it to arrive so that I can have a glimpse at the park back then.
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Elsa »

Hi Micmic,

Altho This Topic doesn't go back as far as your query there are some interesting threads and info in there.
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Bush Baptist »

1956-8

No tar roads.
North closed in summer because of malaria.
Much less traffic.
EVERY oncoming car stopped and we swapped sighting info.
Ele sightings were quite rare
Never saw cheetah, leopard, wild dogs or rhinos.
Army tents for accom.
Far less rest camps.
My mother releasing excess body liquid at the side of th road without us noticing the watching lions.......
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Rooies »

My first trip was during 1966. When you entered Kruger, you were automatically considered to be a member of the big Kruger family. Everybody greeted each other as if they haven't seen each other for ages. I can clearly remember that whenever we arrived at a campsite, all of the other campers jumped up to help us setting up our camp. The people would bring us something to drink and even invited us over for a braai.

Then there was the communal fires. It was announced when the coals would be ready and almost everybody took a picnic basket to the big braai, made with real leadwood. After the braai we all departed as big friends.
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micmic
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by micmic »

Thanks all! Interesting topics, Elsa. So my understanding of the 50s - early 60s is that there were much fewer tourists, a much greater sense of camaraderie, but also fewer "impressive" animals (elephants, cheetahs, wild dogs, rhinos, leopards) ?

Grantmissy, the movie is Nor The Moon By Night. According to the reviewers, it must have captured pretty extensively the image of the park back then.
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Bush Baptist »

Rooies wrote:Then there was the communal fires. It was announced when the coals would be ready and almost everybody took a picnic basket to the big braai, made with real leadwood. After the braai we all departed as big friends.


In the early 80s they used to make a big bonfire nightly at Skuk camping area and there was a spade and wheelbarrow. When it was your turn, you had instant coals for the braai.

But I am sure that somebody discovered the commercial advantages of selling fire wood instead!
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by ndloti »

Old photos of Kruger thread :

viewtopic.php?f=67&t=46122&hilit=Old+photos
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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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by blommietjie »

Wow, what a topic. My first visit to the park was in 1960 at the age of ten. Still remember the big fires, army tents and yes, the longdrop toilets, later in the 60 the huts with the beds all placed next to the wall around the steel table and chairs in the middle of the floor around a pole right in the middle, what i believe was holding up the roof. No electric lights, only paraffin lamps. And a toilet-jug (ewer) and a stel dish for washing... Then there was a big black pot with a tap on oneside with fire underneath it and always full of boiling water were one could have fill up your small cettle for washing, coffee and cooking. That was the good old days of camping in real bush.
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by p@m »

Have actually seen that movie -- many moons ago :lol:

Dressing neatly for dinner in the formal dining room at camps & having dinner "announced" by beating the drums & gongs.

No tar at all, so driving back to Skuks, into the sunset & trying to peer through the dust created by huge herds of impala.

Low level bridges & "drifts" across the rivers.
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

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The real Hugh went to KNP for the first time in 1947.. now he has a few tales to tell :D I went for the first time in about 1955 with the school and it was army tents. and dust roads etc etc
at one time only Pretoriuskop was open in Summer ... can anyone remember that ?
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Grantmissy »

blommietjie wrote:No electric lights, only paraffin lamps. And a toilet-jug (ewer) and a stel dish for washing... Then there was a big black pot with a tap on oneside with fire underneath it and always full of boiling water were one could have fill up your small cettle for washing, coffee and cooking.


It sound like a lot of cleaning and maintenance of facilities were required. I wonder what the check-in, check-out times were in those days :D :thumbs_up:?
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by Meandering Mouse »

I went on a school tour to Kruger in about 1965. It was rather under-whelming. The lions would not oblige and all we seemed to see was lots of impies. We stayed in Pretorius Kop and spent a lot of time looking for someone's lost school shoes.

I also remember pea shooters, tired and irate teachers and a boy with horrible gastro.

I do remember with a certain fondness, the Stevenson Hamilton memorial. A ranger gave us a talk that kept me spell bound. After that I wanted to be a ranger.

then, I was told the earth shattering news :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

girls were not allowed to be rangers :wall: :wall: :wall:

I couldn't even find one to marry me :whistle:

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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

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jeffgordon wrote:I am afraid you are going to be a little disappointed when you see the film, MicMic.

The majority of the filming appears to have been done in Kenya with, I suspect, only a few close-up animal shots taken in the Park. I may just be misidentifying things, but the landscape in the film doesn't match anywhere I have seen in Kruger. At first I thought perhaps it was the hilly region around Berg en Dal, but it soon became clear that there were geological landmarks that are definitely not in Kruger.

The closing credits confirms that filming was done in Kenya but also mentions the Union of South Africa, and thanks is given to the governors of the Kruger National Park.

The film is actually available to view for free on a site called Blinkbox. If you have uncapped broadband, you may want to check it out and see if I am wrong about the locations. It's a passable film by the way, but toe-curlingly politically incorrect!


Well, it's a bit disappointing indeed, but I collect a lot of films shot in African National Parks anyway. There are so many shot in Kenya and Tanzania and very few in other safari countries.


Political incorrectness was the norm back then! And conservation was uknown, too, in most movies. I've watched many old safari movies and I still cringe at how the animals were being shot or harassed - and that was passing as "bravery"!
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Re: How was Kruger in the 50s-60s ?

Unread post by micmic »

How far back in time do you think we should go in order to find a greater variety and greater number of animals in Kruger than what there is today ?
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