Trees at Rest Camps and at Picnic-Sites in Kruger. Part 2: Sausage Trees at Balule Rest Camp

Sausage Tree
Worsboom
Kigelia africana

Balule Rest Camp

Balule Rest Camp

Balule is situated on the southern banks of the Olifants River, 6 kms downstream, south of Olifants Rest Camp. The six huts which were built before 1930 are still in use today. There is also the added pleasure of a small adjacent camping area.

The old world huts of Balule still stand in the companionable circle of the 1930’s. In the center are large sausage trees, filling the space with cool green shade during the summer months. Sturdy benches placed under the trees offer the perfect spot to while away long lazy afternoons.

Sausage trees are actually found in most of the rest camps in Kruger Park – in fact at Letaba Rest Camp there is a sign warning people to “beware of falling sausages”.

Sausage Tree in the Veld

Sausage Tree in the Veld

Sausage trees are easily identified by very large fruits that hang like enormous sausages, and that remain hanging on the trees for most of the year. Then between July and October the trees bare enormously large beautiful dark red flowers.

In the 1930’s there were four pontoons in the Kruger Park which facilitated north /south traffic. There were no bridges; all the major rivers were crossed using pontoons. Two crossed the Crocodile River – one at Malalane and the other at Crocodile Bridge. There was also a pontoon for crossing the Sabie River at Skukuza.

Sausage Tree Fruit

Sausage Tree Fruit

The remaining pontoon crossed the Olifants River at Balule.

Col. Reitz visited Kruger to select the spot where the pontoon should cross the Olifants at Balule. Another member of National Parks Board Mr. Paul Selby who was a mining engineer, built the pontoon, which was in use from 1929 to 1937. There is a plaque commemorating the event in the camping area at Balule.

Baboons, monkeys, porcupines, and bush pigs eat the ripe fruit from the sausage tree once the fruit drops. Elephants and kudu sometimes browse the leaves.

Sausage Tree Flower

Sausage Tree Flower

The beautiful red large cup like flowers are eaten by kudu, nyala and impala when they fall to the ground. Monkeys, baboons, sunbirds and insects love the nectar.

In Mozambique Kigelia is the traditional name for the tree, and Africana means from Africa.

From the pen of Marissa Greeff in her book A Site-by Site Guide to Trees in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK. We sell this book for R260.00 excluding postage.

The Sausage Tree is available for sale at the Kruger Indigenous Tree Nursery near Skukuza.

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Trees at Rest Camps and at Picnic-Sites in Kruger. Part 1: Tamboti Trees at Afsaal

Tamboti
Tambotie
Spirostachys africana

 

Afsaal Picnic Spot in Kruger

Afsaal Picnic Spot in Kruger

Due to the seemingly never- ending stream of visitors, Afsaal has assumed the nature of the trading post that the shop’s name and architecture suggests. The only ones who seem unperturbed and undisturbed by all the bustle and noise, are the scops owls and the tamboti trees.

African Scops Owl

African Scops Owl

The first thing most visitors do when they spot a scops owl in a tamboti tree is to take a photograph.

Percy Fitzpatrick immortalised the Afsaal locality in his book Jock of the Bushveld as a busy trading post and business center.

Afsaal is situated in a dense stand of tambotis. All the young trees with straight upright, bare trunks in Afsaal are tambotis.

Beautiful Tamboti Specimin

Beautiful Tamboti Specimin

Near the entrance to the shop on the right on your way in, is a clump of medium-sized tambotis.

Tamboti cannot be used as firewood as even the smoke is poisonous.

Tambotis normally have a few leaves that turn reddish pink in summer and remain on the tree until winter.

Seeds of the Tamboti Tree

Seeds of the Tamboti Tree

However francolins, doves and crested guinea-fowl eat fallen seeds. Giraffe and impala browse on the  leaves of trees and kudu, nyala, and vervet monkeys pick up the fallen leaves. The tree is the favorite food of the black rhino.

Seeds can be infested with caterpillars of the knob-thorn moth, which make the seeds jump when they flex inside.

Jock

Jock

They are popularly known as “jumping beans”.

There is only one kind of Spirostachys and it is indigenous to Africa. Tamboti is the popular name derived from Isizulu, umThombothi.

Tamboti Tree in Flower

Tamboti Tree in Flower

Spirostachys is Greek and refers to the spiral arrangement of the flowers. Africana, of course means from Africa.

 Gleaned from the pen of Marissa Greeff in her book
A Site-by-Site Guide to Trees in the KRUGER NATIONAL PARK.
We
sell this book for R260.00 excluding postage.

The Tamboti Tree is available for sale at the Kruger Indigenous Tree Nursery near Skukuza.

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Military Helicopter for Anti-Poaching Unit In Kruger National Park

SANParks has taken possession of a military helicopter that will be added to its current anti-poaching fleet.

Gazelle Helicopters

Gazelle Helicopters

The Gazelle was donated by the Ichikowitz Family Foundation in association with Paramount, an African aerospace and defence group.

The Gazelle will be based in Phalaborwa and will be used over the northern Kruger National Park, Paramount said in a statement today, which added that the aircraft was displayed at the Letaba Shooting Range during an event attended by the Rangers Corp leadership led by Officer Commanding, Major General (ret) Johan Jooste and his colleagues. The Gazelle has been configured by Paramount’s Advanced Technology Division and will increase areas that can be traversed, while providing additional aerial support.

More Gazelle Helicopter

More Gazelle Helicopter

Paramount said the Gazelle will bring the advantages of a light attack helicopter to the aid of SANParks Anti-Poaching operations the minute it takes to the air. It has a maximum airspeed of 310km/h, a range of 670km and service ceiling of 5 000 metres.

“We are grateful to have patriotic partners like the Ichikowitz Family Foundation, who have unselfishly been behind SANParks, supporting us with resources regardless of cost,” said David Mabunda, SANParks CEO. “The Ichikowitz Family Foundation understands our needs”.

Seeker 400 Unmanned Plane by Denel

Seeker 400 Unmanned Plane by Denel

The Gazelle and Seeker plane are just part of their greater involvement, which has included provision of fuel, pilots, specialised training and operational capacity.”

“During war time, the strategic advantage always belongs to the force that has superior airpower.  Essentially, although this is a unique ‘warzone’, the Gazelle will strengthen SANParks’ existing forces and bring this element to the Kruger National Park,” said Ivor Ichikowitz, Chairman of the Ichikowitz Family Foundation.

End of Poacher's Safehaven

End of Poacher’s Safehaven

“A critical part of this helicopter’s capabilities is its speed and the fact that the Gazelle has a night vision capable cockpit – part of our contribution is to the training of the pilots to be able to fly at night thereby fundamentally taking the war directly to the poachers.

The donation is part of an on-going capacity-building partnership announced almost a year ago.

Gen Johan Jooste

Gen Johan Jooste

The foundation has previously donated a Seeker MKII Surveillance aeroplane, and support crew to Kruger which has been operating in the Kruger National Park since December last year.

Ivor Ichikowitz

Ivor Ichikowitz

Ichikowitz said his Foundation will make other contributions to the fight against poaching including further training of rangers and, next year, the rolling out of a canine programme together with Paramount and SANParks to provide tracker dogs.

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A Short Biography of Bill Sanderson, an Anglo-Boer War Victim of Circumstance

Bill Sanderson

Bill Sanderson

SANDERSON William (Bill) migrated to South Africa from Edinburgh with his brothers Tom and Bob, initially joining the rush when gold was discovered at Lydenburg. They later settled down to farming on a property at ‘Peebles’, situated at the foot of Legogote 10kms North-East of the town of White River .

An excellent hunter and a skilled rifleman, Bill Sanderson was described as an eccentric Scottish pioneer of the Transvaal Lowveld. He divided his time between working his farm and hunting in what is today the Kruger National Park. Percy Fitzpatrick used to spend time with Sanderson out in the bush where he learned the finer arts of hunting from Sanderson while his rig was out spanned at Sanderson’s farm. A cairn depicting the original Jock Trek Route still stands in the garden of the old Sanderson homestead.

The three brothers and their Boer neighbours enjoyed a friendly relationship and they were also burghers of the South African Republic and thus liable for service with the local commando in times of strife. It appears that Tom may have died before 1899.

Bill Sanderson and his Son

Bill Sanderson and his Son

Game and other skins were tanned near Logie’s Kop, where a certain Logie had a lodge. Logie, who farmed at the foot on the south-western side of Legogote, erected a lodge and made cattle enclosures of stone, where transport riders used to stop over. It eventually became known as Logies Lodge and the western, and the smaller ridge of the mountain, situated on Logies farm, where the lodge was built, became known as Logies Kop, as it is still known today. The enclosures where the transport riders kept their cattle at night are still in evidence.

The emaMbayi named the hill, where the tanning took place eLegogoto, meaning the ‘place of the skins’. Some people say that ‘Lugogo’ is the original root of the word Legogote which means ‘skin’ of an animal. Wild animals are known as ‘magogo’. Today this hill is known as ‘Ligogothe’ by the local black people. During the transport era (1875-1890), transport riders had the skins of animals, which they shot along the way, tanned by the emaMbayi. These skins were then used as thongs in place of trek chains for the wagons which were apparently difficult to access. emaMBayi decendants still live in the vicinity to this day.

Legogote

Legogote

Paul Dell who is well acquainted with the whole Legogote region, grew up on Sanderson’s farm and lived in the homestead. He knows the local dialects very well too and says that the name is derived from the sound of sentry drums being played on the slopes of Legogote from the caves to warn the locals of impending raids from the militant Swazis. Paul says that the repeated rhythm of the drums sounded like  Gogote! Gogote! which eventually became Legogote. Harry Wolhuter in his book “Memories of a Game-Ranger” maintains something else. He says that the name Legogote is the name of the ‘klipspringer’ antelope that frequent the rocky slopes of the mountain.

When the Anglo-Boer War broke out in October 1899 Bill and Bob found themselves in a serious predicament. They were not prepared to take up arms as burghers of the Republic against their own countrymen, the British, but fortunately their local Veld-kornet, Abel Erasmus, understood and left them on their farm. Bob decided to clear out and went over the border into Portuguese East Africa for the duration of the conflict. He later died in Barberton.

Bill Sanderson remained and worked the farm at Legogote.

emaBayi Tribe Descendants Settlement North of Legogote

emaBayi Tribe Descendants Settlement North of Legogote

Word reached Steinaecker at Komati Poort that a British farmer was being detained by the Boers near White River against his will and he was requested to ‘liberate’ him. He got a message to Sanderson advising him that a patrol would be sent to ‘rescue’ him, but this was not what Sanderson wanted and he replied that he had friends on both sides and wished to stay neutral. Steinaecker became suspicious and then instructed that a patrol take Bill Sanderson into custody as a traitor.

As the patrol took him away they were fired on by Boers who then commandeered Sanderson’s farm and stock thinking he had now joined the British forces. The Scot was detained under guard, by a detachment of Steinaecker’s Horse commanded by Lieutenant ‘Gaza’ Gray, at an old store belonging to Sardelli, a Greek, on the Lebombo range near Sabie Poort.

Steinaecker's Horse

Steinaecker’s Horse

Steinaecker relieved Sanderson of his best horse and his guns. He was later allowed to return to his farm where he discovered that the Boers had removed all his possessions and had stripped his property bare. He was forced to start out afresh.

It was the habit of some of the early settlers to take paramours from amongst the locals. There are many Coloured folk who are the offspring of these liaisons in the district with the surname Sanderson as well as other names. Over the years they have served the community with distinction.

According to Paul Dell whose family were good friends with Bill Sanderson, Sanderson did not indulge in the practice of cohabiting with paramours. Apparently there was an aristocratic person of means who used to visit Bill Sanderson who took a particular liking to paramours. Their descendants have spread throughout. It seems as if their offspring took the name of Sanderson as a  reference to where the aristocrat resided.

Gleaned from “Steinaecker’s Horsemen” by Bill Woolmore and other sources.

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A.C.T.S Aids Clinic

The Facts
Did you know…?
22 million people are living with AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Our Label

Acts Clinic

Acts Clinic

A.C.T.S stands for AIDS Care Training and Support Initiative.

We are a non-denominational Christian-based community project in the Masoyi and Northern Nzikazi areas, close to both White River and Hazyview, on the road to Peebles, Mpumalanga Province, South Africa.
 who provide a continuum of quality care and support to those infected, and affected, by HIV/AIDS, in the Masoyi area. Aids-related care is carried out through our outpatient clinic, which is now seeing in excess of 3,000 patients a month.

Vision
Our vision was to provide a continuum of quality care and support to all those in the Masoyi Tribal Area touched in any way by HIV/AIDS.

Treating Aids

Treating Aids

The Goal
We aim to provide a quality continuum of care and support to all those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in the Masoyi Tribal Area of Mpumalanga, South Africa.

What A.C.T.S does
Acts has various sections, each serving a particular patient need:
Home-based Care
– A care group that visits very ill patients in their homes.

Children’s Program – A program that deals with the holistic needs of HIV infected children.

Cervical Cancer Unit – A unit that deals with HIV-related cancer in women.

Mother and Child Unit

Mother and Child Unit

Mother to Child Unit – A section that sees to the needs of HIV infected pregnant women.

Voluntary Counselling & Testing for HIV (VCT) – A group that does HIV/AIDS testing in the local area.

In-Patient Unit – A unit that treats the very ill until they are able to care for themselves.

Support Groups – Groups that counsel patients on how to continue their treatment effectively.

Pharmacy – The medication distribution centre at Acts

Data & IT – Our network and data gathering function

What AIDS cannot do

Christian Background

Christian Background

AIDS is so limited.
It cannot cripple LOVE.
It cannot shatter HOPE.
It cannot corrode FAITH.
It cannot take away PEACE.
It cannot destroy CONFIDENCE.
It cannot kill FRIENDSHIP.
It cannot shut out MEMORIES.
It cannot silence COURAGE.
It cannot invade THE SOUL.
It cannot reduce ETERNAL LIFE.
It cannot quench THE SPIRIT.
Our greatest enemy is not disease, but DESPAIR.

US Aid

US Aid

Funding
Throughout the history of Acts Clinic, there have been a number of funders, for whom we are very grateful. Currently, our main funder is Right to Care, a local distributor of funds from US Aid. All funding is very strictly monitored by the auditors from Right to Care, as well as our own auditors.

Many of the smaller projects identified from time to time, still require additional funding. This makes Acts an ideal, and safe, proposition for funding from churches and other organisations.

We have years of experience in dealing with donor funds and the efficient use thereof. The fact that our overheads are already covered means that any funds donated can go straight to the purpose for which they were given.

Accommodation

Acts Clinic Self Catering Accommodation

Acts Clinic Self Catering Accommodation

Acts can offer the church outreach or community volunteer comfortable accommodation, for small or large groups.

Situated in the scenic farming community of the Peebles Valley, just 35 km’s from Nelspruit and 15km from the renowned Kruger National Park, ACTS is ideally situated to offer you true Lowveld hospitality.

The area has excellent bird life, and there is hiking and mountain available in the area.

We offer self-catering accommodation with 9 en-suite 2-bed rooms. A communal kitchen, TV lounge and dining room compliment your accommodation. Braai facilities are available. Large outreach groups can be accommodated in 16 bed dormitories on – site

Acts Clinic Conference Center

Acts Clinic Conference Center

Also available is a conference facility for up to 30 delegates. Teas and lunches can be provided. Laundry and meals can be arranged on your behalf by prior notice.

Come and experience a medical missions setting in comfortable and peaceful surroundings.

Acts Clinic provides a well equipped, and serene, air-conditioned training-cum-conference room, catering comfortably for up to 25 delegates.

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A short Biography of Canadian Paul Perry of Perry’s View

PERRY (PAUL)

Steinaecker's Horse

Steinaecker’s Horse

Paul (Eugene Pierre on the Steinaecker’s Horse nominal roll, and Pierre on KSA roll),
Trooper No. II
He was born in Canada of French parents.

He ran away from home to join the American Navy and after two years he jumped ship at Cape Town.

Harry Wolhuter maintained that between working as a builder, and bouts of hard drinking, Perry left hurriedly after dropping a brick on a woman’s head  (from a scafold) and then went to work at constructing bridges on the Delagoa Bay-Pretoria railway.

Arch Bridge Eastern Line

Arch Bridge Eastern Line

After losing heavily on a contract he ceased working for the railway and took up ‘blackbirding’ i.e. recruiting native mine labour without a licence. He was arrested for these activities in Portuguese East Africa and spent a month in gaol there.

On his release he returned to the Transvaal, but, in an altercation with a native called ‘Long One’, he shot him in the knee with a revolver, and had to take refuge over the border again until the commotion had died down.

Perry had no previous service. He enlisted in Steinaecker’s Horse at Komatipoort on 14 November 1900.

Pack Donkeys

Pack Donkeys

He accompanied Wolhuter on many patrols and became one of his most trusted Troopers. He was described as a useful man in fixing loads on pack animals and encouraging stubborn donkeys to move. The legend goes that he used to light a match under the stubborn donkeys’ tails.

When Wolhuter had to be evacuated with black water fever he left Perry in charge of the post at Ngwanetsi.

Perry was discharged “time expired” at Komatipoort on 27 September 1902 after the cessation of hostilities. He qualified for the QSA medal with clasps Transvaal, and his KSA with the two dates was issued from the Steinaecker’s Horse roll.

Lion Skins

Lion Skins

After the war he traded in the hides of lion, leopard and other game while travelling all over the country from Komatipoort to Rhodesia before settling on a farm No.171 on the Sabie River. He was a near neighbour, and good friend of Harry Wolhuter. On his death, having no next of kin or descendants, he left his estate to Harry. However Harry had to dispose of Perry’s property and other assets to be able to cover his (Perry’s) outstanding debts.

Perry was buried on the property, which much later became the site of the Sabie River Bungalows, famed for its sulphur springs.

Leopard Skins

Leopard Skins

The Perry’s Bridge Tourism Center at Hazyview and the bridge over the Sabie River near Hazyview are named after him.

Gleaned from “Steinaecker’s Horsemen” by Bill Woolmore.

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A short biography “Clinkers” and “Pump” Willis of Steinaecker’s Horse

WILLIS Bertram Churchill,
Trooper No. 1233:
Was born in Natal.

Steinaecker's Horse

Steinaecker’s Horse

He was a locomotive driver and bushveld elephant hunter. He worked on the Rand Mines and before the war was in partnership with his brother Percy in running a farm and a store.

During the Anglo-Boer War he was stationed at the Sabi Bridge (Skukuza) camp during 1901, and one of his duties was to keep the fire going for the pump which supplied the camp with water, hence his nickname “Clinkers”. Harry Wolhuter, in his book, related how Churchill and his brother, Percy (below), were always known as  “Pump” and  “Clinkers”.

Selati Line Locomotive

Selati Line Locomotive

Churchhill had no previous military experience or previous service. He enlisted in Steinaecker’s Horse at Komatipoort on 11 December 1900. Acting as train driver for the Corps, he operated the engine on the Selati Railway for the unit after the death of Tom Boyd.

He was discharged “time expired” at Komatipoort on 22 November 1902 after the cessation of hostilities. He qualified for the QSA medal with clasps Transvaal, SA 1901 & SA 1902, but just failed to qualify for the KSA as his total service was 17 months and 21 days.

Badge Imperial Light Horse

Badge Imperial Light Horse

1914 - 1915 Star Medal

1914 – 1915 Star Medal

In World War I he served as Private in the 2nd Imperial Light Horse and was discharged on 12 June 1916.

He earned the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and the bilingual Victory Medal for this service.

WILLIS  Percy Wood,
Corporal No. 1200:
Was Born 1876.

Steinaecker's Horse

Steinaecker’s Horse

He worked at Forges Reduction Works, Randburg, prior to the end of 1895. Because of his knowledge of the local geography he became involved in the last episode of the Jameson Raid.

After working on the Witwatersrand he and his brother went into partnership in a store and farm. They were the first white men to settle in the Bushbuckridge area of the eastern Transvaal and they were also involved with elephant hunting in Portuguese East Africa.

Percy had no previous military experience or service He enlisted in SH at PMB on 7 December 1900. While serving at the Sabie Bridge (Skukuza) camp of Steinaecker’s Horse during 1901 he was in charge of the pump which provided the camp with water from the Sabie river and was always known by the nickname “Pump”.

Queens South Africa Medal

Queens South Africa Medal

He was discharged “time expired” at Komatipoort on 22 November 1902 after the cessation of hostilities. He qualified for the QSA medal with clasps Transvaal, SA 1901, SA 1902.

After the Anglo-Boer war he went into business storekeeping at Bushbuckridge and Acornhoek with his brother “Clinkers” and also became an honorary Game Ranger/Warden for the Sabi Game Reserve and later the Kruger National Park.

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Distinguished Conduct Medal

When World War I broke out he joined the 2nd Imperial Light Horse and served in German South West Africa (Namibia) where he lost his right leg during a night attack at Gibeon, and was also decorated with the Distinguished Conduct Medal for gallantry.

After his return he and his brother “Clinkers” operated a chain of sixteen stores in the Acornhoek area and also had extensive farming interests covering 18,000 morgen. “Pump” Willis also enjoyed an inter­national reputation as a wildlife photographer.

He retired in 1948, and married Mrs Ronnie Bester of Karino. They lived in Nelspruit where he died in 1959 at the age of 83.

Gleaned from “Steinaecker’s Horsemen” by Bill Woolmore

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A short Biography of Joao (Juwawa) Albasini

Joao Albasini

Joao Albasini

“Juwawa” Albasini was the son of an Italian sea captain, who had left him in Lourenco Marques in 1832 at the age of 19 years, with instructions to commence a safari trade and find a market for his father’s goods. “Juwawa” was the Blacks’ interpretation of his Christian name Joao.

When Soshangane sacked Lourenco Marques in October 1833, Juwawa had the opportunity to demonstrate his talents for congenial living and association with the Bantu.

Soshangane

Soshangane

While all the other inhabitants died in a dreadfully painful manner, Juwawa was tolerated, and was indeed received for a while within the ranks of Soshangane’s own band.

In Lourenco Marques both Louis Trichardt and Potgieter had met a number of traders and had suitably impressed them with the commercial possibilities of the coming influx of trekkers to the Transvaal. Albasini’s name was one of those who was consulted.

Louis Trichardt

Louis Trichardt

With the reconstruction of Lourenco Marques , young Juwawa prepared for a resumption of the safari trade. With the advent of trekkers to the Transvaal the entire trading pattern changed; it was Albasini who rapidly became the organizing genius behind the dynamics of the new era. He became king of the precarious safari trade.

Hendrik Potgieter

Hendrik Potgieter

With energy and enthusiasm he organized his regular safaris. He established an inland depot in the bush on the banks of the Sabie River (about 25km from the present town of Hazyview), where the tsetse belt ended. There his porters completed their inbound journey and dropped their loads for ox-wagons to be picked up for carrying to the markets of the highveld. Albasini also took up residence at the depot to enable him to control his enterprise effectually from this halfway house: a low, reddish, burnt-brick, thatched shack, surrounded by a circle of huts and endless rolling plains of bush. He supervised the loading of ox-wagons as well as organizing his elephant hunters to scour the bushveld.

He cleared, farmed and irrigated a piece of land from the Sabie River which he had bartered the use of for 22 head of cattle from the chief Makashula. He grew grains and hunted venison to feed his hungry, weary porters.

Sabie River

Sabie River

There he spent his time in complete solitude, listening to the uproarious song of the night-wilds and drowsing the hot daylight hours away, while his porters sat against the walls of the compound huts in the shade waggling their toes and singing in a monotone, the song they still sing in the bushveld today begging for it to get hotter and hotter, so that the white man who made them work might be driven away.

Albasini had the distinction of being the first European to take up residence in the Eastern Bushveld.

Albasini Ruins near Phabeni Gate

Albasini Ruins near Phabeni Gate

He loved the wilderness so much that he dreamed of it becoming a new Portugese colony with the sonorous title of Colonoa da Santa Luz, with his depot in the bush as its capital. However, a later boundary commission ruled that the Bushveld was a Transvaal possession, and he remained with just his shack, and naught save his porters and elephant hunters as company.

For 7 years Albasini lived there. Then the arrows of Cupid found their mark even on this lonely figure; and he married a Voortrekker maiden, Gertina Maria Janse van Rensburg, niece of the ill-fated Johannes Janse van Rensburg.

Gertina Maria Janse van Rensburg

Gertina Maria Janse van Rensburg

For her sake he left his home in the bush next to the Sabie River, and removed to Ohrigstad, the terminal for his caravan trade.

Through the years this trade across the Bushveld reached considerable proportions, and was very lucrative, and thousands of kilograms of goods were carried from the Portuguese coastal depots to the markets of the Northern Transvaal, and thousands of kilograms of ivory were carried back on the return journeys. A typical safari consisted of 68 porters carrying food and camping equipment, and 150 Tongas each laden with some 20 kilograms of traded goods and being guarded by 17 heavily armed elephant hunters, all of whom made up the party in a long line of chanting, sweating men.

Ivory Porters

Ivory Porters

It took 24 days to do the 400 kilometer journey from the coast, through territory in constant danger from insolent, hostile, militant tribesmen, hungry hyenas and lions, tsetse flies, malaria mosquitoes and excruciating heat.

In 1847, Albasini optimistically reported a new tsetse free route to the coast, to the Volksraad. Although he received a free erf in Ohrigstad, the commission under Janse van Rensburg which investigated the route in July was not overly impressed by it. Still, it was the best route discovered to date, and actually was almost the same as the Nelmapius Route. It was never anything more than a track, but traces of it still pass under the name of the Old Wagon Road.

When Ohrigstad collapsed with the demise and heartbreak caused by malaria, Albasini relocated to the Schoemansdal region.

Schoemansdal

Schoemansdal

In 1855 Albasini had removed from the Ohrigstad area and opened up a shop in the new Voortrekker town Schoemansdal, that had become the new Potgieter town of preference. However, Schoemansdal had its own problems.

The Transvaal Government was almost bankrupt and was unable to maintain law and order as well as expanding its boundaries. In the northern Transvaal there were only 600 White inhabitants spread over a wide area occupied by various Black tribes with numbers of 360,000 and over.

Ever since Potgieter had established his “Zoutpansbergdorp” it had been an unruly sort of town. While he was alive he had kept his boisterous followers somewhat subdued, but after his death many of them ran riot. Schoeman had re­named the place Schoemansdal after himself; and under him it became a lawless place, used as a hideout and depot by some of the toughest elements in the Transvaal.

Schoemansdal Region

Schoemansdal Region

It was a pity that this trouble had developed in that beautiful land. The heights of the Soutpansberg and the broken country of the Spelonken (place of caverns,) were all fine areas for human settlement; and the first Voortrekkers had found them empty of people, save for a few scattered refugees in the bush, and the Venda tribe who lived in island-like seclusion along the very top of the Soutpansberg.

In this remote setting the village of Schoemansdal had grown into a place of some 200 inhabitants, living around a church presided over by the Reverend N. J. van Warmelo, and a few stores run by Portuguese safari traders such as Bras Pereira and Cazemiro Simoes. Jan Vercueil was the local magistrate.

Uniformed Albasini

Uniformed Albasini

In 1858 Albasini had been appointed Portuguese Vice-Consul in the Soutpans­berg, and he was very proud of this position. He displayed an ornamental shield advertising his rank at his fort, and on ceremonial occasions sported a smart blue uniform with epaulettes and a cocked hat. Being the Portu­guese consul of the district he made it his business to see that all ivory, and anything else that was valuable, went to Lourenco Marques. Albasini was also said to have also been a slave-trader in the days before that evil trade was abolished

He was also Super­intendent of Native Affairs for the Republic and collector of taxes, an appointment which greatly increased his power over the Bantu so that he became an uncrowned king in his particular area.

Shangaan Village

Shangaan Village

He established himself in the Spelonken (the region of caves) and carried on a very profitable trade with the tribes. He certainly had great influence among the Bantu and became the acknowledged chief of the Matshangana, south of the Limpopo.

At the height of his activity he was certainly a man to be reckoned with. A considerable crowd of Africans had gathered around his person, for it was his habit to grant asylum to all applicants; and in those troubled days of tribal uproar there were many who fled to him for protection. No fewer than 2,000 warriors obeyed his summons—a piercing whistle—at one time. They regarded him as a proper chief, for he judged their disputes and was the object of songs they sang around their fires at night, while he sat with his family enjoying the cool evening breeze sweeping into his fort from the bush and listening idly to the rhythmic praises—”He has an army of spears”—”He speaks with a whistle”, and a hundred others besides.

Fort Skans

Fort Skans

Some twenty-five miles east of the town, Albasini engaged a German named Von Marnecke, to build a proper fort with flanking bastions and protective walls stoutly made of burnt brick. This became his depot and safari terminus, where his goods were stored and sorted, and supplied to African pedlars who carried them off to the most isolated kraals to barter for the precious ivory. This was the greatest trade of Schoemansdal.

It was no handicap that he controlled a small army of Shangaan warriors who obeyed his least command. Eventually however, some of his activities roused the suspicions of Republican officials and he was deprived of his official status.

African Ivory Hunters

African Ivory Hunters

Each year the traders sent out parties of heavily armed African hunters in search of elephants; and these hunters ranged on foot so far through the tsetse-infested bush that the tusks often had to be carried by bearers for hundreds of miles. Immense numbers of elephants were slaughtered, and ivory in prodigious quantities passed through Schoemansdal. Fairs were held each year, when ivory was sold to merchants who journeyed all the way from the Cape, Natal and Mozambique.

Stocks of Ivory

Stocks of Ivory

The number of elephants slaughtered to supply this market must have run into tens of thousands. In 1864, one merchant alone shipped out 14.50 tons of ivory, the product of more than 350 animals.

This ivory trade brought Schoemansdal both its prosperity and its ruin. The ivory hunters had always had the system of supplying guns to selected Africans, who did most of the actual hunting. These guns were contrivances of mammoth bore and tremendous recoil.

Elephant Gun

Elephant Gun

Their makers intended them as either four-pounders (four balls to one pound of lead) or eight-pounders (eight balls to a pound of lead); but with the general scarcity of ammunition they were often loaded with all manner of fearsome objects: legs of  “kaffir” pots, small rocks, hard marula pips, or anything else the marksmen could improvise.

Dedicated Elephant Hunters

Dedicated Elephant Hunters

Back in 1858, the government had sought to control this activity by restrict­ing elephant hunting to the period from the I5th June to the 15th October each year, limiting each European to three African hunters, and then only allowing these Africans to be armed if their master was to accompany them personally. The trouble was that this law, like many others in the Transvaal, was made to be broken, for there was no authority with which to enforce it.

By breaking the law, however, the Europeans were sowing the seeds of much future trouble. Each year more and more heavy elephant guns had been handed out and never returned; and in this way the Venda tribe became well-armed and were expert marksmen. Quarrels between the Africans and Europeans soon de­veloped. A long series of outrages and scandals took place which disgusted the rest of the Transvaal. Murders, plunderings and atrocities seemed to become the order of the day along the Soutpansberg, and nothing the government could do stopped this sorry state of affairs. A long and vicious rivalry between Albasini and Vercueil complicated the picture, and nearly all the officials indulged in petty wars with African tribes in an entirely illegal manner.

Church at Buysdorp Limpopo

Church at Buysdorp Limpopo

Albasini’s fort known as Die Skans, became the protective mainstay of the district and the famed resort of all passing travellers. In 1855, when the Governor of Inhambane sent an embassy to the Soutpansberg to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce, the footslogging ambassadors, Father Joaquin de Santa Rita Montanha, some speculative Arab merchants and slave traders, and one lonely Russian, stayed with Albasini when they arrived on the 5th July.

In the Soutpansberg Juwawa Albasini remained alone, as a stubbornly en­trenched advance post of civilisation. In his fort, twenty-five miles east of the ruins of Schoemansdal, he defied all comers successfully, except poverty, which besieged and then overwhelmed him irresistibly.

Makhato

Makhato

The district, once so flourishing, was bankrupt. All trade and ivory hunting had dissolved into ruination. Makhato, the so-called Lion of the North, reigned supreme as the chief of the Venda and Albasini with his fort and his following of African porters and adherents could just contrive to hold his own. After the Boers vacated Schoemansdal the town was taken over by Makhato and totally destroyed. Albasini also came within an ace of being tried on a criminal charge in which the first landdrost of Soutpansberg Vercuil, was involved. He seems to have been saved by the fall of Schoemandsal.

In the Soutpansberg  Juwawa  remained alone, as a stubbornly en­trenched advance post of civilisation. In his fort, twenty-five miles east of the ruins of Schoemansdal, he defied all comers successfully, except poverty, which besieged and then overwhelmed him irresistibly.

Coenraad de Buys

Coenraad de Buys

The descendants of Coenraad de Buys, also remained by the Soutpansberg, in whose shadow their tough parent had bid them remain forever. They survived by the expedient of marrying girls presented by Makhato, and trading surrepti­tiously with the Venda for arms and ammunition. An irregular postal service connected him with Lourenco Marques. A Coloured soldier tramped backwards and forwards about once each month through the bush, carrying despatches and mail for his superiors and indulging in a spot of private ivory trading and kidnapping of African children in the course of his travels.

Ivory was also the cause of the ultimate destruction of Schoemansdal by the BaVenda chief Makhato. In the 1860s, Schoemansdal was divided over the distribution of wealth from ivory trading. Previously, the local peoples had acted as bearers, butchers, and guides.

Signature of Coenraad de Buys

Signature of Coenraad de Buys

But lately the men of Schoemansdal had become lazy. They’d given guns to the BaVenda, shown them the craft of elephant hunting and then sent then off to track down and kill these gentle giants. However, the Boers still expected to receive the major portion of the hunt spoils. Naturally, the elephant hunters were having none of this so they quit the village, taking the guns and tusks with them. When the return of both was demanded, they refused.

Makhato, the BaVenda chief, then decided to go to war. Schoemansdal was laagered – Paul Kruger, along with 400 men, rode up from Pretoria. Their efforts were destined to fail – the supply lines were too long, the night sky along the southern Zoutspansberg was peppered with the fires of the warring BaVenda and alarm calls were continuous throughout the night. On 15 July 1867, On Kruger’s instructions, the Boers had withdrawn from Schoemansdal in the winter of 1867, falling first to Potgietersrus and then to Marabastad. Kruger gave the community three days to pack up and return south. It was with heavy hearts that they left. Looking back, they could see the smoke rising as the BaVenda razed their homes and their church to the ground.

Potgietersrus now Mokopane

Potgietersrus now Mokopane

Potgietersrus, which was surrounded by pans and vleis, was the breeding-place of myriads of mosquitoes – among which were the malaria carriers. The ten or twelve families who arrived there all contracted the fever and many died. Finally wagons were sent to fetch the survivors and they were brought back to Marabastad, which became the most northern settlement of the Republic.

Over the whole area hung the gloom cast by the Soutpansberg disasters. In the north the people lived in laagers, and the farms lay in ruins. Small garrisons pro­tected Pieter Potgietersrus, but the area was in a constant state of jitters. Actual fighting had died away, but the very silence of the hills seemed a menace. Nobody knew what the Africans were planning for the night.

The district, was now bankrupt, and the only one to remain was Juwawa Albasini, still stubbornly entrenched in his fortress some 40 km east of the ruined and deserted town. Makhato continued to wage war against the whites. An English ivory hunter, Haines, who persisted in his enterprise, had his throat cut. Two prospectors, Charles Muller and George Anderson, who were fossicking north of the Zoutspansberg, were attacked. Anderson and two of the servants had their throats cut; Muller escaped by creeping through the grass.

Ruins of Schoemansdal

Ruins of Schoemansdal

Makhato had won the day, and the endless wars ruined Albasini. On 10 July 1888 he died – a weary and disappointed man.

Juwawa’s great grand children Antoinette Kop, and Sannie van Vuuren lived in Sabie for many years where they eventually retired.

Antoinette used to keep the town’s  gardens in “marvelous shape” until she was too old to carry on, while Sannie compiled a series of articles on the history of Sabie, its happenings and community, which was published through the local Ulusaba newspaper. They have both since passed away.

Gleaned from :
Lost Trails of the Transvaal by T.V. Bulpin

At the Fireside by Roger Webster
By “The Waters of the Letaba” by A.P.Cartwright
Other Sources

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A Short Biography of Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton First Chief Warden of Kruger National Park

Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton

Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton

JAMES STEVENSON-HAMILTON was born in Dublin, Ireland, of Scottish parents, in 1867, where his father was then posted. His childhood was spent at the ancestral home Fairholm, in Scotland, and was educated at Rugby School. He proceeded to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and obtained a commission with the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons, then in South Africa..

He was on active service with his regiment in the South African War (1899-1902), at the end of which he was offered the wardenship of the Sabi Game Reserve by the Milner Government of the Transvaal.

Sixth Inniskilling Dragoons Banner

Sixth Inniskilling Dragoons Banner

He obtained a two-year leave of absence from his regiment to begin the great task of saving the remnants of the once great herds of game left by hunters and soldiers of both sides fighting in the war.

He became involved in the welfare of his animal charges to such an extent that he stayed for more than forty four years until his retirement in 1946. The continued existence and development of the Kruger National Park is largely due to his dedication and sound administration.

Giraffe

Giraffe

The reserve was in a sorry state and the balance of nature was seriously impaired, especially as regards the larger mammals, and game laws virtually existed on paper only. Giraffe, hippo, buffalo and rhino were extremely rare, elephants occasionally wandered in from Mozambique but did not stay at first, and other species were scarce and very wild.

At Komatipoort, he was fortunate enough to engage Rupert Atmore, Harry Wolhuter and also several Black assistants before proceeding to Sabi Bridge in November 1902 which was to be his permanent headquarters.

Buffalo

Buffalo

So started his labour of love, involving the patience of Job and careful diplomacy, for he had neither the funds nor the authority to make haste other than exceedingly slowly. Stevenson-Hamilton was given very vague instructions, the only one he remembered clearly was ‘to make himself as unpopular as possible’ amongst the hunters and poachers. One of his first operations was to evict all people other than those required for service in the maintenance of the reserve. For this reason he earned the name ‘ Skukuza’, which means: ‘he who sweeps clean’.

Hippo

Hippo

This brought him into conflict with various Native Commissioners. He consequently had to rely on persuasion after personal contact, which necessitated many wearisome journeys. Finally he decided to travel to Pretoria and Johannesburg to seek approval and legislation for a set of regulations confirming judicial powers on the Warden of the Reserve. These were ultimately approved and he became Native Commissioner, Customs Official and Justice of the Peace for the territory and appointed rangers to help him in his task.

Elephant

Elephant

It was not long before Stevenson-Hamilton realised that the boundaries of the Sabi Game Reserve, defined roughly by the land between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers, the Lebombo Mountains and the Nsikazi River to the west, were too confined. He decided, on his own initiative, to call on the manager of every land-company owning property north of the Sabie River. A Mr Pott was responsible for effecting the introduction to most of the other managers and advising the modus operandi for approaching each individual, in order to obtain a sympathetic hearing.

Tombstone of Rupert Atmore

Tombstone of Rupert Atmore

Eventually these companies agreed to the safeguarding by the Reserve staff of the fauna and flora on their properties in exchange for the collection of rents and taxes and general supervision for a period of five years.

In 1904 the Sabi Game Reserve extended from the Crocodile to the Olifants River and to this was added a new area between the Letaba and the Limpopo called the Shingwedzi Reserve, excluding a strip of’ foreign territory which was proclaimed mining area between the Olifants and the Letaba. The area under control now comprised nearly 14 000 square miles and was guarded by a staff of five White and fifty Black rangers.

Harry Wolhuter on Horseback

Harry Wolhuter on Horseback

The rangers were Maj James Stevenson-Hamilton at Sabi Bridge (Skukuza), Harry Wolhuter at Pretoriuskop, C R de Laporte at Crocodile Bridge, T Duke at Lower Sabie and Major A A Fraser at Malunzana, Shingwedzi.

There was no ranger available for patrolling the area between the Sabie and Olifants River, so the Warden decided to prune expenditure by reducing his own salary and curtailing the transport and climatic allowances of the staff, and thus provided sufficient money to employ G R (Tim) Healy for this purpose.

The animal population gradually expanded, slowly at first but nevertheless steadily. To encourage this expansion and to assist the balance of nature, the Warden and rangers shot lions, wild dogs and crocodiles. Herds of antelope began to be seen in place of single animals.

Skukuza Camp

Skukuza Camp

During the Great War of 1914-1918 Stevenson-Hamilton left to serve in the Imperial Forces. During his absence a Commission was appointed to investigate the desirability of reducing the areas of the Sabi and Shingwedzi Reserves.

For many years there had been agitation by Lowvelders, farmers for the most part, that the Game Reserve was a waste of time; that it occupied marvellous farming land; that it harboured disease for stock such as East Coast Fever, foot-and-mouth, etc.

Shingwedzi Camp

Shingwedzi Camp

But the Commission, after inspecting in loco, was convinced that the whole area was a sound one and recommended that the Reserve’s status should be raised to that of a National Park.

In 1919 three new rangers were appointed: P L (Piet) de Jager, J J (Kat) Coetzer and W W Lloyd. Coetzer was placed at a new station north of Shingwedzi near the Pafuri River, which he called ‘Punda Maria’.

Punda Miliya-Maria Camp

Punda Miliya-Maria Camp

Coetzer was an ex-soldier and had served in East Africa, where he had come across the Swahili word for a zebra, Punda Miliya, or striped donkey. He had thought that the last word was Maria, his wife’s name, and thus christened his new home in her honour.

The years 1921 and 1922 were difficult and dangerous ones for the Reserve. A coal syndicate, backed by political influence, had secured a concession to prospect north of Crocodile Bridge, the Railway Administration was advocating the sale of farms within the Reserve to make the Selati Line pay.

Actual Pretoriuskop

Actual Pretoriuskop

Winter grazers (having secured rights in the buffer area of Pretoriuskop) were all for a deeper penetration into the Reserve and farmers just south of the Crocodile River were clamouring for land on the north bank. Various minor newspapers attacked the expenditure of the taxpayers’ money and alleged that the Game Reserve was a harbour for dangerous animals and a focus for disease.

The attitude of the Government began to veer in favour of what appeared to be public opinion and Stevenson-Hamilton became alarmed. In 1923, at a meeting in Pretoria, several Government Departments claimed the land occupied by the Sabi Game Reserve.

Pretoriuskop Camp Today

Pretoriuskop Camp Today

However, opportunely as it happened, the SA Railways began its ‘Round-in-nine’ service and a night’s stop-over with camp-fires was arranged at Sabi Bridge. The passengers declared this the most exciting and interesting episode of the whole tour, and immediately the Game Reserve began to be recognised for the tourist attraction that it was.

Col. Deneys Reitz became an enthusiastic advocate of the National Park scheme and so did various other prominent personalities such as Sir William Hoy, the General Manager of the Railways, who requested Stratford Caldecott, an artist, to be the Railways publicity agent for the advertisement of the Sabi Game Reserve as a potential asset. Caldecott was also an enthusiastic writer and after spending two months in the Reserve, his influence in South Africa was such that soon there was hardly a man, woman or child in the country who had not heard, or read, or seen pictured some aspect of the Sabi Game Reserve.

Sir William Hoy

Sir William Hoy

After a change in the government in 1924, which for a time had cancelled all his efforts, he finally won the confidence and support of the Minister of Lands in the new government, P J Grobler, a grand-nephew of President Kruger.

Col. Deneys Reitz

Col. Deneys Reitz

His efforts were crowned with success when, on 31 May 1926, the National Parks Act was adopted unanimously, adding many hectares of land north of the Sabie River to the old Sabi Game Reserve, which was henceforth known as the Kruger National Park in honour of President S J P Kruger who had done so much for wildlife conservation in South Africa. Important enthusiasts who had done most to assist in the passing of the Bill were Col Deneys Reitz, H B Papenfus KC, Oswald Pirow, Gen Jan Smuts and Dr A A Schoch.

The struggle to achieve recognition for his beloved “Cinderella” was over for Stevenson-Hamilton and the reaction set in. In terms of the Act the existing staff would be retrenched from the Government Service and new appointments made, and he considered resigning even if his appointment was renewed.

Oswald Pirow

Oswald Pirow

But he was sent for by Piet Grobler, who had very kind things to say about his service and who urged him to continue as Warden, which he was thankful to do. All the staff was re-employed.

The first three cars entered the Park over a road prepared by Harry Wolhuter in 1927. In 1928 the number was 180 vehicles and in 1929, when it was possible to travel as far as the Olifants River, 850 came. There was nowhere to put people up and the rangers were obliged to give up their homes and sleep wherever they could outside.

Early Cars in Kruger

Early Cars in Kruger

They were also obliged to forsake their normal section duties in order to check permits, answer questions, supply petrol, etc. A rapid building programme was initiated by the Parks Board and by 1930 the Park had constructed 100 concrete rondavels in six camps and obtained additional personnel.

Stevenson-Hamilton was always concerned that the Park should never lose its character and become a glorified zoological garden.

Col. James Stevenson-HamiltonHamilton

Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton

The old-timers complain that things are not the same, but for most a visit to the Park is a very rare enjoyment and a pleasure that no South African should miss.

Retirement came in 1946, when he and his wife settled on his farm Gibraltar, adjacent to Longmere Dam, north-east of White River, where he died on 10 December 1957, at the age of 90. He married Miss Hilda Cholmondeley in 1930 and they had three children, Margaret (1931), Jamie (1933) and Anne (1935). Margaret died at the age of 4 years. Hilda died 10 January 1979 and their ashes were left to the wind on 10 April 1979 by their daughter, Mrs Anne Doyle, of England, near Shirimantanga, 12 km south of Skukuza, in their beloved Kruger National Park.

Gleaned from “Lowveld Pioneers” by Hans Bornman and from other sources.

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A Short Biography of Charles Christoffel Wolhuter Ranger in Kruger

An Older Harry Wolhuter

An Older Harry Wolhuter

Harry Charles (Christoffel), was born at Beaufort West in Cape Colony on 14 February 1877. After living for some time in Johannesburg he later managed a farm and trading store for his father at Legogote in the eastern Transvaal where he associated with the local Native Commissioner, Abel Erasmus, and learned to know the lowveld and its native inhabitants. He became a fluent speaker of the Swazi language.

Abel Erasmus

Abel Erasmus

 He had built up a small herd of cattle of his own but they were wiped out in the rinderpest epidemic of 1896—97 and he was forced to go and manage a farm near Nelspruit. A virulent form of malaria also decimated many of the area’s white population and Wolhuter had his first experience of this plague — as a sufferer himself and then attempting to help other victims.

Such was the ignorance of its cause that the local people were not aware of the role of the mosquito and even thought that the construction of the Netherlands Railway from Lourenco Marques to Pretoria had something to do with the pestilence.

Anopheles Mosquito

Anopheles Mosquito

He had his first taste of warfare when he was commandeered to fight in the Magato war in the Zoutpansberg, northern Transvaal. On his return from a hunting trip in 1899 he learned that the Anglo-Boer War had begun and having friends on both sides he and others decided to trek into Portuguese East Africa.

The war had been in progress for many months when Wolhuter met the two Willis brothers ‘Pump’ and ‘Clinkers’ at Nkomati. They had emerged from the bush where they had been elephant hunting to learn of the war for the first time.

The Book

The Book

They had heard of a volunteer corps being raised at Nomahasha, near the north-eastern border of Swaziland, by a Lieutenant von Steinaecker.

The three of them decided to join and Wolhuter enlisted in SH at Komatipoort on 12 November 1900, although he claimed that none of the three signed any papers. His first assignment in SH was to oversee a gang of natives making a road from the Komatipoort bridge to Mateveskom.

When the road was completed Wolhuter was stationed at Sabi Bridge, a distant outpost and the end of the Selati railway where he helped build the blockhouse. The garrison there consisted mainly of a contingent of native police. Further on from Sabi (later known as ‘Skukuza’) Steinaecker’s men had constructed a fort near the kraal of | Chief Mpisane which was strongly garrisoned and under the command of Captain Farmer Francis.

Captain Greenhill-Gardyne

Captain Greenhill-Gardyne

Wolhuter was instructed by Major Gardyne, then acting OC, to take a patrol of two white men and thirty natives as far as the Olifants River and identify suitable places to station picquets which were to police the border with Portuguese East Africa and intercept Boers crossing with despatches.

On this patrol he went down with malaria and blackwater fever and found himself first in hospital at Komatipoort and then on a hospital ship Delagoa Bay. There were nine cases of blackwater fever in SH that summer and Wolhuter was the only one to survive. On recovery he returned to Komatipoort, and then back to the task of erecting picket posts along the border as well as paying the mostly native police who manned them.

Wolhuter was later placed on the Intelligence staff of SH and took half a dozen native policemen on a patrol along the foothills of the Drakensberg escarpment as far as Letaba.

A Younger Wolhuter

A Younger Wolhuter

On his return he took charge of an outpost at Gomondwane. When the war ended he asked for his discharge from SH, a course clearly unacceptable to Colonel Steinaecker who asked Wolhuter what he wanted and offered him a commission. Wolhuter told the Colonel he did notwant to be an officer, so Steinaecker, typically unconcerned with correct administration, offered him officer’s pay while he maintained his rank as Sergeant.

He was discharged time expired at Komati Poort on 20 August 1902. He qualified for the QSA medal with clasp Transvaal and KSA with the two date clasps was issued from the SH roll.

After a meeting with Major J. Stevenson-Hamilton, Wolhuter agreed to become a ranger in the Sabi Game Reserve (later part of Kruger National Park) and he dedicated the rest of his life to this calling.

Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton

Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton

He chose two of his native police who had also obtained their discharge from Steinaecker’s Horse, and set off for Pretorius Kop where he would build his home and headquarters.

The area had become denuded of game and while SH and Boer patrols were blamed, it is more likely that the rinderpest epidemic of 1896—97 was the real culprit, particularly as there was an overabundance of predators like lions, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas.

In August 1903 Wolhuter, who was on horseback, was attacked by two lions who sprang at his horse. One of the lions landed on the horse’s rump and, after much commotion, the ranger was dislodged from the saddle and fell almost on top of the lion. The horse galloped off with one lion after it while the other seized Wolhuter by the right shoulder and started dragging him away into the bush with his back on the ground and his body between legs of the lion.

Bronze Sculpture of Lion Dragging Wolhuter

Bronze Sculpture of Lion Dragging Wolhuter


Wolhuter's Knife and the Lion Skin

Wolhuter’s Knife and the Lion Skin

Angry Lion

Angry Lion

Wolhuter was able to get his knife out of its sheath on his belt and plunge it twice into the lion’s heart; he then managed to get a third stab into its neck, severing the jugular vein. The lion dropped his prey and walked off into the darkness which had now descended. The lion was found dead nearby when the rest of his party arrived on the scene.

After being carried to Komati Poort he was sent by train to hospital in Barberton under the care of Walter Dickson, a former Trooper of Steinaecker’s Horse. It was many months he was able to return to duty. After 45 years service as a game ranger Wolhuter retired. He handed on the work to his son.

Ranger Wolhuter

Ranger Wolhuter

His right shoulder troubled Wolhuter for the rest of his life and he would often refer to his ‘lion bite shoulder’. The lion skin and Wolhuter’s knife are today on display at the Skukuza rest camp in the Kruger. His experiences are recorded in his book Memories of a  Ranger which he completed in 1948. He died on 30 January 1964.

Gleaned from “Steinaecker’s Horsemen” by Bill Woolmore

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