Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kruger Park Safari with Alefiyah Tinwala and Leena Chainani from the 18 - 19 April 2011

We picked up Alefiyah Tinwala and Leena Chainani from the Oracle offices in Johannesburg and started our trip towards Nelspruit. After a brief stop over on route we continued our journey, arriving in Nelspruit at around 12h30. After a brief stop over to change into our open safari vehicle, we made our way via “White River” and then onto the Kruger National Parks “Numbi Gate”.

After arriving at the gate, guests were checked through and after a briefing, we decided to start our game drive straight away as the guests were only with us for a short safari of one night, so we needed to find as much as possible in the shortest space of time.

We made our way onto the “Napi Road”, and was not long before coming across our first elephant. While on the drive, guests got to see elephant, rhino, impala, waterbuck, zebra and wildebeest. The afternoon drive proved to be quite slow in the numbers of animals seen as we got to camp at 17h45, just in time to check inn and get ready for dinner in the camp restaurant. We decided to enjoy dinner at 19h00. After a good dinner, it was off to bed in order to get some well deserved rest, before the early start the following morning.

We left camp at 06h00 and made our way onto one of the dirt roads close to the camp on route to “Pretoriuskop Kopie”, and as we came around the corner we found three lions walking in the road. After watching them for a while, they moved off into the bush and disappeared from view. We went around the area looking for them, but were unsuccessful in finding them again. We made our way in the direction of Skukuza, finding more elephants, rhino and after enjoying breakfast we came across a large herd of buffalo. Large numbers of birds were enjoyed as well.

We left the Kruger National Park at 11h15 on route for Nelspruit, and after changing our vehicle, we made our way back to Johannesburg, arriving Back at Oracle Head Office at 16h30.

All in all the girls had a good time, and saw a large number of animals in a short space of time. Guests have expressed a will to want to return to the Kruger National Park for a longer safari next time.

Open Safari Vehicles used while on safari in the Kruger National Park

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kruger National Park Safari with Brooke and Jerrod from the 7th - 10th April 2011

We picked up Brooke and Jerrod from the Metcourt Laurel hotel near the airport and started our journey north east to the city of Nelspruit, after a short stop on route, we arrived midday and after changing from our closed vehicle to our open safari vehicle that would be used for the safari, it was off on the last part of the journey before arriving at the Kruger National Park.

We arrived at the Kruger National Park at approximately 13h00, and after check inn procedures we made our way to the camp of Pretoriuskop. After checking in to the accommodation, a break was enjoyed by all and chance was given to have some lunch before leaving on the first game drive.

We left the camp just after 15h30 once the safari briefing had been done and made our way down the “Napi Road” in the direction of Transport dam where the “Battle In Kruger” was filmed. While on route we received a radio message that lions had been spotted down on the “Watergat Road”, so we decided to make our way in that direction. On route down the “Napi Road”, we came across our first sightings of elephant and rhino, and then it was on to the lions. We found them just 300 meters down the road lying in some long grass, and with it being the time of the year when the grass is still long, it was a very difficult sighting. We stayed at the sighting for almost one hour, but the lions were not interested in lifting there heads and looking around for anybody. After looking at the time, I decided to make a move back in the direction of the camp, as we still had a long way to go to get back before the gate closing time of 18h00.

After leaving the lion sighting quite dejected as I could see them, but the guests could not, we began making our way back in the direction of the camp. As we turned back onto the tar road, we received another call on the radio about a leopard that was lying close to the road on a termite mound, so we made our way in that direction, determined to find one of the cat species before the end of the day that the guests could get some photos off. After a tense 10 minutes, we got to the sighting and were able to get good visuals and photos of this wonderful cat as he lay on the termite mound totally at ease with us being there. We stayed with this sighting and with only half an hour to go before gate closing times, we decided to take our leave and get back to the camp.

After a good dinner in the restaurant, it was off to bed for a good nights rest, before getting up early in the morning to leave on the next game drive.

Next morning it was up early and after enjoying tea and coffee, we left camp looking forward to a good days game viewing. We traveled down “Napi Road”, this morning seemed a bit quite but as we came around the corner a “Klipspringer Kopies”, we saw a leopard walking in the long grass. We followed the leopard until we lost it near the kopies in the long grass. The rest of the day was spent driving around looking for the lions that were proving to be very illusive. We managed to get good photos of kudu, elephant, rhino, impala, zebra, wildebeest and bushbuck. It was then back to the camp in order to have a good dinner and get some welcome rest.

The next morning, it was up early and after again enjoying tea and coffee, we were back on the road to find those lions. While driving down the “Napi Road” about 3km’s from the boulders junction, I caught a glimpse of something standing on the rock, and after applying some heavy brake, we found our big male lion standing on the top of the rock. This was most welcome sight as it gave the guests good photo opportunities, but also completed there BIG 5 sightings. More animals were got throughout the day. We made our way back to camp in the late afternoon, as the guests would have to eat early due to them going out on there night safari.

The following morning, we got up early and left the camp to go down to one of the water holes to look for more lions, but the dam was quite, but as we left the area of the dame, I got a call of a cheetah that had been spotted close by, we made our way in the direction, and were very lucky to see it walking in the long grass. After a while it went a lay down, we waited in the area for another hour, hoping it would stand up and come towards the road, but alas no luck. We decided to make our way back to camp in order to enjoy breakfast as the time was going and we needed to leave the park and make our way to Nelspruit to change our vehicle before continuing back to Johannesburg. The trip back was very quite, as guests enjoyed a bit of a sleep before having to climb onto the Delta Airlines flight back to the United States.

Feedback from the guests was that they had a wonderful time, really enjoyed themselves and have got some wonderful photos and video clips of there safari.

Some Photos taken By Brooke while on safari to the Kruger National Park 7 - 10 April 2011

Below are some photos taken by Brooke of "Brooke Photography" during there safari to the Kruger National Park.

Some photos of Lions taken while on safari with Leslie Young and the crew in the Kruger National Park

Below are some lion photos taken while on safari with Leslie, David, Ann, Kristin, Maggie and Lakota to the Kruger National Park from the 2nd - 4th March 2011


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Development of the Kruger National Park Through Eleven Decades of It's Life

We thought you would be interested in the time line of development through eleven decades of the Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park has a long history, and after being proclaimed in 1898, and known through out the world as the oldest national park in the world and also being at the for front of technology and new techniques to the preservation of our wildlife resources, it is good to see how the park has been developers over the years.

We hope you will enjoy this as it gives a pretty good insight into how and when things were developed and how the national park today is considered to be one of the most developed National Parks in the world.

1836 – Great Trek

Louis Trichardt was the first white Voortrekker to trek through the present-day Kruger Park to Delagoa Bay (Maputo) in Mozambique. Most of his party succumbed to malaria on this journey.

First Decade 1898 – 1907

1898 – Sabie Established

President Paul Kruger proclaimed the “Government Wildtuin on 26 March 1898. Its boundaries stretched from the Crocodile River in the south to the Sabie River in the north and from the Nsikazi River in the west to the Mozambican border in the east.

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

Major James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed as Game Warden of the Sabie Game Reserve in July 1902 and, after a four-month period where he used a cottage at Crocodile Bridge, he moved his headquarters to the old blockhouse at Sabie Bridge in November of that year. He was 35 years old when he was appointed.

1903 – Shingwedzi Game Reserve

An area between the Letaba and Limpopo rivers was proclaimed a game reserve. This area was called the Shingwedzi Game Reserve.

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.

Second Decade 1908 – 1917

1912 – First Borehole

The first borehole was sunk at Skukuza.

1912 – Sabie River Bridge

Part of the old Selati railway line and bridge over the Sabie River, can still be seen at Skukuza.

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.

1916 – Transvaal Game Reserve

Shingwedzi and Sabie Game Reserves were consolidated under Stevenson-Hamilton.

Third Decade 1918 – 1927

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 Selati Bridge.

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.

1926 – Kruger National Park Named

The Parliament of the Union of South Africa passed a National Parks Act, and renamed the Reserve, the Kruger National Park on 31 May 1926.

1927 – Tourism Begins To Grow

The Pretoriuskop section opened to tourists – entry fee One Pound. The route was from White River, via Mtimba to Pretoriuskop and back, on the same route, on the same day. Only three cars entered the Park.

Fourth Decade 1928 – 1937

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.

1936 – Skukuza

Sabie Bridge camp was renamed Skukuza.

Fifth Decade 1938 – 1947

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 ilomete 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

Sixth Decade 1948 – 1957

1950 – Researching The Park

The research unit was established in the Kruger Park. Dr T. G. Nel was the first scientist appointed followed by M. van der Schijf. Since then the science-management partnership has been very effective in ensuring the regular updating of park policies.

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.

Seventh Decade 1958 – 1967

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 Natal. In total 330 were introduced over a 12 year period. Their numbers have grown to about 7,000 in 2007 which is the largest white rhino population in the world.

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.\

Eighth Decade 1968 – 1977

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 categorized 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 Mozambique was fenced and the park became a virtual “island” which necessitated certain management interventions to compensate for the restrictions posed by the fence.

1977 – Cyclone Emily

The northern areas of the Park were struck by a cyclone.

Ninth Decade 1978 – 1987

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.

Tenth Decade 1988 – 1997

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 Kruger National Park.

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.

Eleventh Decade 1998 – 2007

1998 – First Black Director Appointed

The first black director of the KNP was appointed in 1998, David Mabunda. Dr Mabunda is now the SANParks Chief Executive.

1998 – Makuleke Rewarded Land Claim

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 Kilometers.

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 mark on 8 March 2003. Since that time, the park regularly gets more than one million per year, with the current statistic standing at 1,3-million.

2004 – Junior Scientists Programme Initiated

Junior scientist program was implemented in Kruger with funding from the AW Mellon Foundation in the US. This program aims to help young black scientists achieve their Masters & Doctorate degrees.

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 Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe officiated at the opening of the Giriyondo Tourist Access Facility. This facility opens the border between the Kruger and Limpopo national parks in South Africa and Mozambique respectively as a major initiative of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

So as you can see, it has taken eleven decades to develop the Kruger National Park to what it is today, a truly great place to visit, and a must see and experience for the International visitor to South Africa.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Some photos taken while on safari in the Kruger National Park

Below are some photos that have been taken by previous guests, rangers of Nhongo Safaris in the Kruger National Park during some of our safaris.


These photos are intended to show you what can just be seen while on safari in the Kruger National Park. Not only the animals that live in the park, but also the diverse landscape of the park, as well as wonderful sunsets.

We hope you will enjoy looking at these photos, and would sometime in the future like to visit the world's oldest national park.