Kruger Park | Voortrekker Road (H2 - 2)
The Voortrekker Road is a road filled with history and wildlife sightings. Read on to find out more...The Voortrekker Road (H2-2) south-east of Pretoriuskop, was used by Carolus Trichardt, who was the son of the Voortrekker Louis Trichardt. He was commissioned in 1849 by the Transvaal Government of the time to open up a regular route between the northern interior and Delagoa Bay.Albasini's caravans were the main users of this road. Over the years his porters transported thousands of kilograms of goods from the coast and carried back loads of ivory. The trader Fernades da Neves accompanied one of Albasini's caravans in 1860 and reported that it took 24 days to complete the 250 mile journey between the coast and Pretoriuskop.The Vootrekker Road was improved in 1896 by the trader Alois Nelmapius to cater for the transport of supplies to Lydenburg and Mac Mac, where gold had been discovered. The road was used a lot by transport riders on their way to what was then known as Portuguese East Africa (today Mozambique).The road descends from the mountainous Pretoriuskop sourveld into the rolling hills of mixed bushwillow woodland past a number of geological features. It is a good drive for if you want to get into the game rich plains south of Skukuza.It was on this road that the little terrier Jock of the Bushveld was born. Jock's story was written by his master, Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, a former transport rider who became a politician and businessman in the early 20th century.The main landmark on this road is Ship Mountain (662m), used as a navigational aid by early pioneers and travellers. It is geologically distinctive from the surrounding granite countryside because it is made up of gabbro, a hardier relative of basalt.Per an old tale, Ship Mountain was a fort used by the Sotho people in the 18th century to protect themselves and their cattle against Swazi raiders coming in from the south. Sotho warriors would hide families and livestock in the caves on the top of Ship Mountain and then use rocks to stop the Swazi from getting to the top.At the foot of Ship Mountain was a trading store run by Chief Manungu. He was part of Joao Albasini's trading empire. Along this road you can still see the fence of the boma which was used during the first white Rhino relocation in Kruger Park in which 2 bulls and the 2 cows were released in October 1961.In the 1960s 320 white Rhino were released into southern Kruger Park from the Umfolozi Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal, and a further 12 were released in the north. The Pretoriuskop area is one of the best locations to track and see white Rhino.The Voortrekker Road roughly follows a line of thornveld to Afsaal. The significance of this is that the grass is more edible than the sourveld and the wildlife can easily be seen. Even though there are not a lot of animals in this part of the Park, there are far higher numbers. By the 1900s almost all of the game had been shot out of the region by early hunters.It was so bad that when Stevenson-Hamilton surveyed the area in 1902, he noted that the only wild animal he saw between Ship Mountain and Skukuza was a single Reedbuck.