Joep’s second installment on “Kruger History” is dedicated to the fascinating history of Punda Maria, the northernmost main rest camp in the Park.
The Shingwedzi Reserve was proclaimed in 1903 and comprised the area between the Luvuvhu and Letaba Rivers. Being a very remote part of South Africa, poaching and other illegal activities, such as prospecting, illegal logging and so called “black-birding” (the illegal recruitment of black workers from Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) and Mocambique (then Portuguese East Africa) for the gold and coal mines) was a serious concern to Major James C Stevenson-Hamilton, Warden of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Reserves. From 1904 until 1919, the only ranger in charge of the entire Shingwedzi Reserve was Major AA Frazer, based at Malunzane next to the Shongololo River (a tributary of the Tsende), west of the existing Mopani Camp. Stevenson-Hamilton expresses the need for a game ranger in the far north of the Shingwedzi Reserve.
Captain Johannes Jacobus (“Kat”) Coetser was appointed as game ranger on 01 May 1919 for the far northern…
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