Between 1836 and 1860 the Voortrekkers investigated a variety of routes through the Lowveld to set up trade with the Portuguese harbours in Mozambique. In 1848 during one such expedition a Voortrekker by the name of Willem Pretorius died along the way and was buried at the foot of a koppie and hence the name Pretorius Kop. The Voortrekker road runs South East of the current rest camp and it is here on the Voortrekker road at Pretoriuskop where Jock of the Bushveld, the legendary dog of Sir Percy FitzPatrick was born in 1885. Sir Percy worked as a transport rider in the Lowveld during those days and Jock’s birthplace is marked along the route, thus you can check it out if this story sounds to good to be true.
In 1898 president Paul Kruger of the then Transvaal Republic declared the Sabi Game Reserve in order to control hunting and protect the diminishing number of animals in the area. In 1903 Shingwedzi Reserve to the north of that was also declared as game reserve and in 1926 these two, together with adjacent farms were combined to form the Kruger National Park.
In 1926 tourists visited the Kruger Park for the first time, a grand total of three cars. Initially tourists could come and go as they pleased and had to set up their own camps, but then Pretoriuskop was opened as the first restcamp for tourists. Today one of the huts built in 1930 can still be viewed however you’re not allowed to sleep in it anymore. Since 1926 that number of 3 visitor cars increased exponentially as infrastructure like restcamps were built in addition to roads being laid out and upgraded.
Today the Kruger National Park is one of the biggest wildlife parks in Africa and the big five all run around within it. If you are afraid of animals in the Kruger Park you have valid reasons for that. To complement the big five, over 3000 crocodiles infest the rivers. And should you not be afraid of crocodiles, then take note that a Zambezi shark – they can survive in fresh water – was once caught at the confluence of the Limpopo and Luvuvhu Rivers after swimming all the way from the sea to come and eat some red meat. Should you still plan on a peaceful sleep, go ahead but only after putting on mosquito repellent, this is a malaria area.
Thank you to Sanparks (www.sanparks.org) who organised our accommodation for the evening as well as Vleismeester butchery in Nelspruit (013 757-1381) who sponsored our meat, including the Kudu Fillets, and also rocked up with some fantastic salads, biltong bread and mampoer.