Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Be certain to have with you:
* Valid passport
* Valid visa - if required
* One other picture identification (e.g. driver's licence)
* Photocopy of passport page to carry in wallet
* Air tickets
* Expense money
* Comprehensive Travel Insurance Policy
Dressing for Safaris
On safari, most people wear shorts and a T-shirt during the day and put on long sleeved shirts and long pants in the evening for warmth as well as protection from mosquitoes. Should you be particularly sensitive to the sun a loose cotton shirt is essential during the day. Khaki, brown, olive and beige colours are best for and safaris and game walks.
White is not a suitable colour for these activities, as it increases your visibility to wildlife you want to get a closer look at and it will get dirty very quickly. Fleece or sweater and a windbreaker for game drives, because it is highly possible that you may go out on a hot day, but be faced with a chill evening on your return. Remember that layering your clothing will keep you warmer than relying on one thick item.
Clothing to Pack for Safaris:
* 2 pairs khaki cotton pants
* 2 pairs khaki shorts
* 2 long sleeved shirts/ blouses (for sun protection as well as warmth)
* 1 light sweater or sweatshirt
* 1 lightweight, waterproof windbreaker
* Swimming costume
* Sturdy walking or hiking boots
* 3-5 short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts
* 5 changes underwear and socks
* Hat with a brim (baseball caps might cover your nose but not your ears and neck)
* Gloves (if you really feel the cold)
* Down vest or jacket (if you really feel the cold)
* A sarong or kikoi type garment
Most lodges and safari camps offer laundry as part of their service. Hotels all offer laundry, at additional cost.
* Toilet kit including shampoo and soap
* Insect repellent
* Good quality sunglasses plus protective case
* Hand wipes or 'Baby wipes'
* Stuff-sacks or plastic packets; to compartmentalise items within your travel bag
* Repair kit: needle and thread, nylon cord, rip-stop tape
* Camera, film or memory card
* Spare batteries. Film and batteries can generally be obtained at lodges, but at a price of course, so please be sure to have sufficient supplies for your needs
* Paperback reading, writing material (keep weight at a minimum)
* Sunscreen or block
* Moisturizer, lip balm
* Personal first-aid kit (headache pills, antihistamine cream etc)
* Large towel and washcloth (thin, quick-drying) - if required for camping/overland safari
If you take prescription medication, be sure to bring a sufficient supply with you. If you are on a lengthy holiday, we suggest that you carry a copy of your prescription with you.
Luggage for a Mobile Safari:
For Safari travel, the best type of luggage to bring is a soft bag, or backpack with an internal frame. As packing space in Safari vehicles is limited, only one bag is allowed, but you should also have a daypack for all of your personal items/camera/binoculars. Hard suitcases are usually scuffed or damaged in transit and are inappropriate for a game safari.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
while Mark our senior guide was working on the male lion.
Road: 1.3kms from
Word got out about the happenings on the road and during the course of the afternoon, the Lion was monitored closely. Feedback from other guides on the sighting saw the two male Lions join up again and move off into the bush at approximately 5pm.
Glad to help you Kitty Cat
Senior Guide Nhongo Safaris
The Development of Tourism
At the time of their proclamation, both the Sabie and Shingwedzi reserves were very poorly developed.
Only in 1916 with the appointment of the Game Reserves Commission under chairmanship of JF Ludorf, the possibility of tourism was raised for the first time in the official report of 1918. This commission, which also placed significant emphasis on the possible merging of the two reserves and to proclaim it as a national park, made it clear that the primary objective of the two reserves was the conservation of nature. The development of tourism facilities could also be considered as it would not necessarily be in conflict with the primary objective. As motivation for this point of view, emphasis was placed on the educational and research opportunities that the reserves offered, and in this respect especially the opportunity that the general public would be offered to see nature in its pristine state.
The First Tourists
Initially, nothing came of these recommendations, and it was only in 1923, when the South African Railways (SAR) implemented a tour to the Lowveld and bordering
Stevenson-Hamilton’s pleas resulted in the excursion were scheduled so that the trains would travel from Komatipoort to
At the time of the proclamation of the
The lack of accommodation facilities in the park created a significant problem. Early in 1927, the South African Railways (SAR) approached the board with the request to erect quarters and to rent it to them (SAR). Nothing came of this scheme, and in the same year, the board, through the mediation of Stevenson-Hamilton, reached agreement with the SAR to work on a joint strategy for the development of the tourism industry. The board accordingly agreed to the building of roads, rest huts and other facilities, provision of guides and protection services and to refrain from promoting independent traffic. The SAR, in exchange, undertook to provide all transport, by rail and road and to launch advertising campaigns, catering services and to pay the board a percentage of the income received.
To initiate this scheme, four two-track roads were initially provided; from Crocodile Bridge to Lower Sabie (built by CR de la Porte), from Acornhoek to the Mocambique border (via Satara), from Gravelote to Makubas Kraal (near Letaba) (latter two were built by TEBA) and White River to Pretoriuskop.
In August 1927 the board decided to open the Pretoriuskop area for tourists. This concession would however require that prospective tourists first needed to acquire a permit (which could be obtained from the secretary of the board in Pretoria, the warden at Skukuza or the game ranger at Pretoriuskop stationed at Mtimba or from White River) and tourists needed to return on the same day as no overnight facilities were provided and that only revolvers would be carried for personal protection.
The arrangement to acquire permits was confusing for many visitors and they often passed Mtimba (Post of Ranger Wolhuter) without reporting. In 1929 the Board appointed A Moodie as agent at Moodies Kloof to issue permits until 1931, when a full-time gate official, Captain M Rowland-Jones, could be appointed at Numbi Gate.
By the end of 1927 various additional proposals were considered or made by the Board in order to increase tourism traffic. The Board rejected a proposal from the SAR to build a hotel at
The First Tourist Facilities
It was only in 1928 that the provision of amenities for tourists commenced with sincerity. The first three so-called “rest huts” were built at Satara, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza (then still known as Reserve or
Construction on the rest camp at Olifants Poort already commenced in 1929. The activities were continued in all sincerity in 1930 and besides the two additional rondavels in Skukuza, four were erected at Pretoriuskop (where there were already four), fifteen at Satara, twelve at Letaba, six at Balule, one at Olifants Poort and four at Malelane. At Lower Sabie a five-bedroom guesthouse of wood and steel, which previously served as the ranger Tom Duke’s quarters, was restored and made available to tourists.
All the rondavels that were built during that time were according to the so-called “Selby” construction style (which can currently still be seen in Balule camp). Paul Selby was an American mine engineer who also served on the Board. He designed a hut with a gap between the wall and the roof and also a small hole in the top half of the original stable door. The hole in the door was meant to serve as a peephole to see if there were any dangerous animals between the huts before alighting from their rondavels – at that time the rest camps were of course not fenced. These Selby huts rapidly enticed criticism as they were too cold in winter, too dark as a result of lack of windows and also because people could peep in through the holes in the door. They also provided easy access to mosquitoes! From 1931, all new rondavels were provided with windows.
In the early thirties great progress was made with provision of additional tourist amenities. The old guest house at
In 1931 use was also made of tents for the first time. These tents, each with four beds, were initially commissioned at Skukuza and subsequently at Satara.
Besides the rest camps already mentioned, six other rest camps were established during this period. In 1931, construction was commenced at the Rabelais Gate. In 1932 the first huts in the new rest camp at Punda Maria were built. They were of the traditional wattle and daub type as cement could not be afforded at that stage. A small rest camp was also built at Malopene in 1932.
A small temporary rest camp comprising tents was erected in 1933 next to the
The roof and external wall structure of these huts as well as others built subsequently, are still in use today.
In 1932 the first ablution block – a unit with four bath and four shower cubicles – was built in Skukuza. During the same year the rest camps were fenced for the first time.
There was experimentation with a new hut design in 1935. At Skukuza,
The last two rest camps that were opened to tourists before 1946, were
In many ways the development of the tourism business in the
The Boards close link with the Transport Services in establishing the tourism industry has already been reflected. In 1930 the Board undertook to build a rest camp for the SAR in the vicinity of Skukuza, once its own building program had been completed. As a result of the hectic building program, the Board could not meet this commitment and in 1931 the undertaking was withdrawn.
Notwithstanding that hot water is taken fore granted in all public facilities in rest camps today, it was certainly not the case in the early years. Only after the completion of the road between Punda Maria and Letaba, a request was tabled to the Board that ablutions in both camps needed to provide hot water. The road between the rest camps was not only very long but also dusty. (This road for most of the distance ran over dusty black peat soil and could not be graveled during construction). The then chairperson of the Board, Senator Jack Brebner, was not all pleased with the proposal and turned it down on grounds that it was just an unnecessary luxury. The discussion was continued and in 1933 it was granted with some resentment on condition that tourists would pay one shilling (10c) per bath.
1898 - Sabie Established
President Paul Kruger proclaimed the “Gouvernement Wildtuin on 26 March 1898. Its boundaries stretched from the Crocodile River in the south to the
1899 - Boer War
During the Anglo Boer War, the proclamation of the Sabie Game Reserve was nullified. This was reinstated in 1902.
1902 - Stevenson-Hamilton
Maj James Stevenson-
1903 - Shingwedzi Game Reserve
An area between the Letaba and
1903 - Wolhuter
Previously a member of Steinaeckers’ Horse Regiment, Harry Wolhuter was appointed as the first game ranger in the fledgling park. That November he experienced a life changing incident when a lion attacked him and he managed to kill the lion with his sheath knife.
1912 - First Borehole
The first borehole was sunk at Skukuza.
Part of the old Selati railway line and bridge over the
1913 - Telephone Communication
A telephone line was established between Skukuza and Komatipoort, this was considered a huge step forward.
1914 – More Land
The area between the Olifants and Letaba rivers was added to the Shingwedzi Game Reserve.
Shingwedzi and Sabie Game Reserves were consolidated under Stevenson-Hamilton.
1918 - First Tourists
First tourists allowed access to the reserve despite reservations on the part of the governing Board.
1923 - Railroad
South African Railways ran “round-in-nine” rail trip of the Lowveld, along the Selati railway line. Tourists spent the night on the train at
1924 - Grazing Rights Terminated
Until 1924 farmers still had grazing rights, and to ensure good grazing for the winter, farmers burned the veld every year.
The Parliament of the Union of South Africa passed a National Parks Act, and renamed the Reserve, the
1927 - Tourism Begins To Grow
The Pretoriuskop section opened to tourists – entry fee One Pound. The route was from
1928-9 - The Firsts Huts Built
First huts for tourists were built at Satara, Skukuza and Pretoriuskop.
1930 - Visitors
900 cars entered the Park during the year.
1931 - Concrete Dam
The first concrete dam was built at Ntomeni Spruit.
1931 - Tents
Tents introduced into Skukuza and Satara.
1931 - Furniture
Purchase of furniture for huts approved.
1932 - Ablutions
A unit with four bath and four shower cubicles was built in Skukuza.
1933 - Baths
First baths installed at Punda Maria and Letaba. Charge one shilling per cold water bath.
1933 - Boreholes
The first boreholes to provide water for game were sunk.
1938 - Hot Water
Hot water facilities were installed and camps were fenced off for the first time.
1935-46 - Eileen Orpen Legacy
Mrs Eileen Orpen bought and donated to the Park, a series of farms totalling 24 528ha. A memorial plaque in her honour was erected south of Tshokwane in 1944.
1943 - Veld Burning
Lt Col Stevenson-Hamilton reported bush encroachment by tall unpalatable grasses.
1946 - Stevenson-Hamilton Retires
After 44 years service, Lt Col Stevenson-Hamilton leaves the Park.
1947 - Predator Culling
Culling of predators as a strategy to “bring up” the herbivore herds was stopped and left to the discretion of the warden
1950 - Researching The Park
The research unit was established in the
1951 - Electricity
Electric lighting installed. Huts received wash-basins with hot and cold water.
1950s - Veld Burning
Burning of the veld was re-implemented to establish more suitable conditions for grazers.
1954 - Fire Experiments
A series of veld-burning experiments was instituted in the four major vegetation types. This experiment continues to this day which makes it one of the longest fire experiments in the world.
1958 - Koedoe Tells The Story
The National Parks Board launched its scientific journal, Koedoe, where research conducted in or important to national parks was published.
1960s - Mosquito Gauze
Mosquito gauze was installed in huts throughout the Park during the 1960s.
1960 - White Rhinos Return
The first white rhino reintroduced to Kruger from
1961 - Foot-And-Mouth
A fence was erected on the Park’s western and southern borders to prevent animals leaving and so spreading foot-and-mouth disease amongst cattle.
1960s - Liquor
Liquor became available to tourists at restaurants and shops during the 1960s.
1967 - Counting The Elephants
This first complete elephant survey was done and 6,600 elephant were counted. This was a very rapid increase considering only 10 elephants were seen in 1905. In order to limit excessively negative impacts on the environment, an annual culling program was initiated.
1969 - Relocation
The Makuleke community in the Pafuri area were the last people to be relocated out of the park.
1970s - Engelhard Dam Constructed
The Engelhard Dam, funded by the well-known industrialist Charles Engelhard, was constructed.
1970-80 - Water
This era was characterised by a big “water for game” drive that led to the construction of many artificial waterholes.
1976 - Eastern Boundary Fence Built
The eastern boundary of the Kruger NP with
1977 - Cyclone Emily
The northern areas of the Park were struck by a cyclone.
1978 – Counting Animals From Aircraft
The annual aerial survey for large mammal was started using a fixed-wing aircraft. This long-term monitoring program has given insights in the responses of the large mammal populations to rainfall cycles.
1980s - Bateleur Camp Created
This camp was built in the late 1980s.
1980s - New Ideals
SANParks began moving away from discriminatory legislation.
1984 – Cyclones Cause Damage
Cyclones Demoina and Imboa struck the Park and rivers flood.
1984 - Berg-En-Dal Established
Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp was opened in 1984. Meaning “mountain and dale”, the camp was a departure from established styles.
1987 – Rivers Researched
The Kruger Rivers Research Program was launched in a response to the deterioration of the perennial rivers flowing through the park. This program played a big role in establishing adaptive management principles in the Park and shaping the new National Water Act that was promulgated in 1998.
1988 - Piet Grobler Dam Built
The largest concrete dam in the Park was built and named after Minister Piet Grobler in recognition of his work towards the proclamation of the
1989 - Cites Banned Ivory Trading
A CITES ban was placed on the international trade in ivory due to the poaching threat on elephant populations in Africa.
1990 – Thulamela Discovered
The Thulamela ruins were discovered by chance by ranger Flip Nel during an aerial game census.
1992 - Worst Drought Recorded
The Kruger NP experienced the most severe drought yet recorded and a number of herbivore populations showed severe reductions due to lack of grazing.
1992 – Thulamela Dug Up
The excavations at Thulamela began.
1992 - Mopani Camp Established
Mopani Rest Camp is one of the newest of all the rest camps. It opened in 1992.
1993 - Western Boundary Brought Down
The historic dismantling of the western boundary fence linking the private reserves of the Sabi Sand and Timbavati with the Park commenced.
1994 - Elephant Cull Stopped
SANParks placed a moratorium on elephant culling.
1997 - Elephant Hall Created
A museum dedicated to elephant and funded by the Gold Fields Foundation was opened at Letaba.
1998 - First Black Director Appointed
The first black director of the KNP was appointed in 1998, Madoda David Mabunda. Dr Mabunda is now the SANParks Chief Executive.
The northern Pafuri area of 24 000ha was returned to the Makuleke people, who elected to use the land as a concessionary conservation area.
2000 - Huge Floods Happened
Severe flooding occurred in the Kruger NP in February with much damage caused to infrastructure.
2001 - Fire Tragedy Hits Pretoriuskop
Large areas of the park were burned due to the high grass biomass resulting from the high rainfall in 2000 fueling fires. On 4 September a great tragedy was experienced when 4 rangers and 20 grass cutters died when a runaway fire engulfed their camp.
2002 - Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Treaty Signed
The treaty is signed by Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe which ratifies the creation of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, which will become the greatest conservation area in Africa extending over some 35 000 square kilometres.
2002 - Private Concessions Established
Jock of the Bushveld Camp, the first private concession in the Kruger, opens. Six other concessions follow.
2003 - Scientific Experience Published
The first scientific book about research in the Kruger NP, called “The Kruger Experience – ecology and management of savanna heterogeneity” was published.
2003 – First Million Reached
For the first time, the KNP received more than one million guests in a 12 month period. Visitor statistics broke through the magical
2004 - Junior Scientists Programme Initiated
Junior scientist program was implemented in Kruger with funding from the AW Mellon Foundation in the
2006 - Management Plan Written
For the first time, the views and ideas from outside stakeholders are incorporated into an all encompassing management plan as per the new Protected Areas Act.
2006 - Giriyondo Opened
The presidents of