Kruger National Park Rangers Diary | October 1955
Repairing fowl hook which the baboons had completely damaged. The septic tank at my quarters blocked and I had to open same, clean, and refill with fresh stones and sand. The warden and senior ranger arrived here this afternoon from Eiland and left again for Skukuza.
Early morning road patrol Letaba Loop and same again in the afternoon. No trespassers caught.
My two dogs have been missing since last night, the one arrived home early this morning. I went to look for the other one and found him approximately two miles from camp, in the loop. He had been killed by lions. I also found a lot of lion hair lying around.
Issued rations, did ration returns, cleaned store room and tidied up for the visit of the auditor on Friday.
Went to Shingwedzi to get repairs done to my trick, went via Dzombo and returned to Letaba via Tebde loop.
Letaba had its first rain last night, 90". Stayed in at office complete returns. Checked petrol stores and supplies. Road patrolled section of Letaba Loop road ar closing time of gates.
Waited upon the arrival of the auditor and the bookkeeper. They only arrived by late afternoon and proceeded to check the stores and income. Received a report that one of the donkies was wondering around along the road to Malopene. Went to look for same and was lucky to find the donkey just before it got dark a few miles from the Wanetzi River on the Malopene side.
Went to the western boundary pickets to pay them their wages and to see for myself how much rain had fallen here as I must select a proper time to burn the section south of the Malopene/Letaba main road. Very little rain had fallen here and generally the area is still dry.
Col Jones passed by early this morning on his way from Shigwedzi to Skukuza. Mr Lowe also arrived during the morning, he came to count cars. Road patrolled section of Letaba Loop road this morning.
Went to the gorge early this morning to do a game count of this particular section. Returned to Letaba tonight.
To Shingwedzi to fetch some Mealie Meel for Letaba
Returned to Letaba today, stopped at Malopene windmill. Observed that the water from the pipes has no outlet and consequently there is very little water for the game to drink. The area is one mass of mud, and particularly no game was to be seen.
Foot patrolled to Makadze River, crossing the Letaba River at the rest camp. I came across two handsome Nyala bulls at Makadzi River, returned to camp by afternoon.
Fixed a puncture on my truck which occurred whilst returning from Shingwedzi on Wednesday. Weighed off mealie meel, beans and salt into several bags for voluntary labourers at Letaba. Cleaned premises around the store and patrol shed. Mr van der Veen passed through today on his way to Skukuza from Pietersburg.
Taking over Letaba Rest Camp from tourist officer Meyer.
16 October (Sunday)
Continued taking over Letaba Rest Camp, finished at noon. Went directly to Malopene rest Camp and took same over from tourist officer Koehorst. Returned to Letaba.
Letaba has been having soft soaking rain since Thursday afternoon, the weather has been moist and cool and the veld is becoming green very quickly. I have to burn the Letaba/Malopene section and fear that I may have delayed too long. I therefore tried to burn this area today, the grass however is too moist and will not burn. Went to Malopene windmill in Makadze area with a load of labourers, dug a furrow form the pump to a site that will hold water and thereby drained all the odd pools around the pump to a fairly decent temporary dam. When the mud dries and a bulldozer can be spared a proper dam wall will have to erected here. Spotted fresh lion pug marks at this place today.
Went to Malopene North windmill. Took some new pipes and a load of labourers. The water has no outlet at this pump to the dam. Started repairing the dam wall and digging furrow for water to flow to the dam, also connected some pipes. It started raining heavily this afternoon and work had to be stopped for the day. Slept at Malopene Rest Camp.
Rain ceased early this morning, approximately 3/4" fell. Went back to the windmill and finished the repairs by afternoon. Back to Letaba.
Collected some labourers and field rangers, went to Malopene. I have started to burn the veld from Malopene to Letaba on the south side of the main road. Burnt as far as Letaba Rest Camp tonight.
Continued burning from Letaba Rest Camp along the main road, south to the Olifants River, finished late this afternoon.
Taking the gang I went all along the road from Letaba to the Olifants River and put out all the burning stumps next to the road, thereby ensuring that this fire cannot jump over the road.
Followed the same procedure as yesterday along the Letaba/Malopene road, extinguishing all burning stumps next to the road. This stretch is now under control. Returned to Letaba with two of the three donkeys, which I had left at Malopene on a recent donkey patrol.
Proceeded to Letaba Causeway with a few labourers and cleared the causeway of all the old reeds that were embedded underneath the cement pillars. After finishing I returned to Letaba. Col Jones returned arrived From Skukuza and spent some time with me before going north to Punda Maria.
Overnight 23" of rain fell at Letaba. It is still overcast today with a promise of further rain. Whitewashed and cleaned out the garage at my quarters.
Waited in for the senior ranger this morning. Col Jones arrived and we had a discussion on various subjects. Weighed off mealie meel, beans and salt for the month of November.
Went per truck down to the Olifants River this morning and thence along same to Putwane koppie and eventually as far as Muhololi picket on the western boundary. Delivered rations and paid the field rangers. Proceeded along the border to Tuti picket and later down to Malopene. Paid the field rangers and loaded the remaining donkeys onto the truck and headed for Letaba. Ranger Adendorff had arrived at Letaba in the mean time and was waiting for me.
Ranger Adendorff left back for Punda Maria this morning. Collected firewood for my personal use and also the Lataba staff. During the afternoon I started my monthly returns.
Continued monthly returns, paid the staff at Letaba, issued rations and checked my stores and supplies. As from tomorrow I shall be on leave and will not be at my station for approximately three to four weeks.
Went to Malopene, issued rations there and paid the remainder of the staff on the western boundary. (I could not contact hem all on Thursday). issued instructions and informed the field rangers what I require of them during my absence. Left per WNLA to Zoekmekaar.
- Total Mileage: 80445 miles
- Miles outside the park: 0
- Private mileage: 0
- Total for month: 1100 miles
- Petrol consumption: 10.9 miles
- Max temp: 101 F in shade