Kobus Wentzel, regional ranger in the far north of the park, thanked friends and colleagues at a function to bid him farewell at Shingwedzi on Saturday July 22, 2006. Speaking at the farewell, Kobus said, "It was a huge privilege to be able to live and work for just over 20 years in the KNP." Kobus is leaving Kruger to pursue his studies in Australia.
"I have completed my MSc degree during 1990 and have always wanted to do a PhD." He added, "I am a passionate conservationist and trust that I would be able to make a contribution to biodiversity conservation, in Australia and elsewhere in the world, wherever I may be going next."
He thanked everyone for what they have meant to him throughout his career and for the support given to him. He told his colleagues to grab each opportunity that arises to equip them for the future. Kobus shared some of his favourite Kruger highlights with the guests at the farewell – the 1991/92 droughts which "illustrated the resilience of both plant and animal populations" and the other end of the weather spectrum in 2000 when the flood waters rose up the hill towards his house at Pafuri and he had to be airlifted out.
One of his other favourite memories was taking part in the annual BirdLife Birding Big Day most difficult decision I ever had to take. I will love this place till my last day. Something of me will remain behind in the African bush. Because of that I will also be a good ambassador for Kruger, wherever I may go in the world." Saying goodbye…
When I joined the rangers in 2001 I expected tough times adapting to the new environment. Kobus helped me through this and orientated me and gave me the assistance I needed. Kobus is a very pro-active person and will always find a solution for a problem. I am still working with Kobus and am grateful for the vast experience I got through him. A lot of my knowledge about frogs, birds and reptiles came from him.
Kobus is a very dedicated person who will always put the Park and its interests first. His decision-making always takes the Park and its best interests into consideration. He is a principled person.
I was very fortunate to have worked with Kobus professionally. As a supervisor he always made sure that you were happy and that you enjoyed your work. Kobus was dedicated to his work and always sorted out our problems. Kobus had no communication barrier and we have lost a supervisor that was unique, friendly and easy to talk to.