Historic Houses/Cottages/Rondawels of the Kruger

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WA Campbell hut museum in Skukuza

Unread post by DinkyBird »

It is hut number S1 and is the oldest in Skukuza camp. It has been restored to its original state and serves as a museum.

W.A. Campbell was one of the first members of the Parks Board and he donated this hut in 1929. One can view original artefacts of that time in the hut.

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Unread post by DinkyBird »

Next to the WA Campbell hut museum is an original red Pegasus petrol pump. Also next to the museum is the smallest hut in Kruger. It was used as a broom closet.

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Unread post by Jakkalsbessie »

Don't know how many of you are interested in KNP history but found this nice piece on the Campbell Hut in the KPT:

Campbell Hut... Earliest Accommodation in the Park

The first motorist entered the Kruger National Park in 1927. Visitors paid £1 entrance fee and that year the Park realised a full £3. There were no huts, only a thorn bush enclosure, built by the ranger, where visitors could camp.

In 1927, WAC Campbell, a founder member of the National Parks Board, donated £150 for the construction of a show hut, which has been preserved and can still be viewed in Skukuza today.

Campbell was from Mount Edgecomb in Natal and an earlier owner of the farm Mala Mala, bordering the Park. The hut was built according to a design proposed by Paul Selby, an American building engineer, who had also served on the Parks Board.

According to the museum information, his design entailed the use of a semicircular mould into which scrap metal and cables were placed vertically. The ends protruding at the top were gathered to form the nock of the conical roof that was supported by a single pole.

Concrete was then poured into the mould. The huts had concrete floors and were all thatched. Dr U de V Pienaar noted in his "Neem uit die Verlede" that the hut had a ventilation opening between the wall and roof and there were no windows. The door featured a single hole through which people could scan the area for any unwanted visitors before venturing outside.

At the time there were no fences around the camps. However, visitors complained about the dark interior, mosquitoes entering through the open area and people peeping inside through the door opening. In 1931, builders added windows to all the huts. The original beds, still seen today, were built by the staff in 1930, as there were no funds to buy furniture.

The beds were strung with wildebeest riempies. Sabi Bridge, as Skukuza was earlier known, was established as a rest camp in 1929 and known as "The Reserve". By December 1929, there were two six-metre and ten four-metre Campbell huts, but no facilities and the camp was still unfenced.

The name changed to Skukuza, meaning "he who sweeps clean" after the first warden of Kruger, James Stevenson-Hamilton in 1932. During this time the camp was developed to cater for a growing number of visitors.

Huts, bathrooms, a shop and dining hall were all added, as well as petrol pumps and a breakdown service. In 1935 the available accommodation in Skukuza could house 250 people in the huts and 600 people in tents.
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Unread post by Loams »

The petrol pump is still right next to the hut. Pretty impressive history in Kruger itself. I always try to go past the historical sites when I am there.
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Historical Pafuri

Unread post by Annaluisa »

Greetings

As a child I had the privilege of spending many a holiday at Pafuri, at the home of a family friend who was involved with the KNP but - if I remember correctly - was also employed by the mine labour organisation, Wenela. Their house was on top of a hill, with a wraparound verandah. Does anyone on the Forum know whether this house is still standing, and if so, whether it is accessible from any of the roads around Pafuri?
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Unread post by wildtuinman »

Sounds like the TEBA house and yes it is still standing.
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Historical Pafuri

Unread post by Annaluisa »

Many thanks for your response, and my apologies for only replying now, but I was unable to access the site the day before we left on holiday. In fact we did visit the 'TEBA' house, which is where our friends used to live - not only does it look almost exactly the same, but we found out that you can hire it, so we plan to do just that sometime in the future.

Thanks again.
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Unread post by Peter Betts »

Wasnt that the Mockrofts house ...they lived there for decades and had a couple of rare Sunis running around there garden...when I was a kid. Now its famous for Racquet Tailed Roller sightings
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Historical Pafuri

Unread post by Annaluisa »

My apologies, I missed your reply. The people who lived in the house for many years were the Mockfords. I don't remember the sunis, but they did have a couple of otters who lived there. It was a magical place and I was amazed to see how little it had changed.
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Unread post by Tumble Weed »

I was forunate to spend a lot of time there as my parents managed the place for around five years. Went back last October and it's still the same :wink: although the tar road has spoilt the feeling of isolation a bit. The road is fairly busy now with all the vehicles going into Mozambique and you get cars coming through fairly late at night :?
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Re: WA Campbell hut museum in Skukuza

Unread post by Grantmissy »

I have visited this museum hut again last July. I think some of us 2010’s people might have struggled a bit with the amenities of the 1930’s :) . Those beds with just the wildebeest riempies as base looks a bit uncomfortable unless a person brought two mattresses from home, also chamber pots as there is no plumbing inside the hut that I have seen :doh: . Not sure how an adult person could have bathed in that tiny bath tub :hmz: – maybe the person just stood in the tub and another person threw a bucket of water over him/her like a shower :| . This little museum hut is well worth a visit even if it is just to make a person appreciate a shower after the visit with a choice of hot or cold water or in-between :P and a sparkling white wc from which clean water appear just by pressing a lever :P .
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Historic Houses/Cottages/Rondawels of the Kruger

Unread post by Grantmissy »

According to Sanparks the historic TEBA facilities and the old SAPS House at Punda Maria are being renovated. I was not aware that there is an old SAPS House at Punda Maria. I assume when renovated, those heritage Sanparks facilities will be made available to Kruger visitors to book like any other Kruger accommodation through the normal Sanparks reservation system. It will be an enriched experience for Kruger visitors to be able to stay in those heritage/historical houses/cottages. Has anyone stayed in the Old SAPS Punda Maria House before?
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Re: Historic Houses/Cottages/Rondawels of the Kruger

Unread post by Grantmissy »

I can't find any historical information on the old SAPS house but in the book Neem uit die Verlede it is written that in 1935 new huts in the Knapp style were built in Skukuza, Crocodile Bridge and Letaba. These huts were square with corrugated iron roofs and the walls were built from hollow cement blocks. Apparently these huts were exceptionally ugly and were not popular at all :)
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Re: Historic Houses/Cottages/Rondawels of the Kruger

Unread post by Imberbe »

I have been to the old police house two years ago when it still was in ruins. I believe it has been restored. It would have been a major project as it was not in a good condition. The plan is to make it available as guest accommodation.

It is just outside of the fence of the camp. It is visible from the road before entering the camp itself.

I believe it will be a great place to stay.
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Re: Historic Houses/Cottages/Rondawels of the Kruger

Unread post by Grantmissy »

Thank you Imberbe :thumbs_up: . This old house, once restored, could be popular with visitors to Punda Maria Camp.
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