Sunday, May 1, 2011

Childhood Memories Of Growing Up In The Kruger National Park

I thought I would share some childhood memories of growing up in the famous Kruger National Park with you today. Excuse the quality of the pics,they were taken in 1975-1981. Many,many thanks to Jeanne Newby who gave me permission to use them!

 This elephant was the well known tusker Letaba,there were seven huge elephant bulls who where all named for their territories in which they reigned. All of their tusks can be viewed today in a museum in the Letaba Camp. This was how all of our fences looked...You didn't just pop out of your yard to go and play with your friends,had to have a good look around for elephants and lion in particular! This particular bull formed such a relationship with Jeanne's mom,Lettie Newby that he would allow her to spray him with a hosepipe as she was watering her baberton daisies in her front yard! Please do not try this when visiting Africa!

This young bull was getting stroppy and mock charged. His ears are flapping,when an elephant pins his ears close to his head and charges...he means business! I had had a few encounters like those with elephants chasing my Dad in his truck and recalls my Dad reversing at speed with a very cross elephant chasing us.
Walking to the bus stop in the early mornings,you never knew what animals you might encounter! We had sightings of leopard,lion,cheetah,Buffalo,kudu,wildebeest,baboon, name it! The game rangers would ensure that the way was cleared for us kids if there were any sightings of dangerous animals in the mornings!

Letaba offering a clear view of his magnificent right tusk, the left one was broken off..

My Mom had a hilarious encounter with a lioness one morning when she set off to walk to work(she loved walking to work) and as she walked out of our yard she found herself face to face with a lioness who had just been chased of a kill in front of our yard by the rangers and was trying to escape into our yard! Both the lioness and my mom turned and ran thinking the one was chasing the other...My Dad,who saw the lioness running off ,held our door closed from inside the house as my poor Mom was trying desperately to come in...! Needless to say, I learned some pretty neat swearwords that day.

My Dad had also had one particular incident where he came home from a night out with his buddies and waved the "dog" away from the gate as he was coming home...the footprints of a huge lion told it's own story late the next day when my Dad remembered his encounter with the "dog" and went to investigate...

A tourist who didn't obey the "do not cross" sign at a low water bridge during the floods....
That is his vehicle floating down the river...

I don't know why the quality of these two pics are so bad but the others are ok.

 Don't worry the park mechanic,game ranger and other personnel would save your car from the river in no time!

And out they come!

Few people can say they grew up like we did!
We were born in and lived in Kruger Park our whole lives until my Dad retired!

Thank you Mom and Dad.


  1. I am very jealous of your being brought up so close to Kruger and wild life. You have brought back though, many memories for me of different game reserves including Kruger. I have amazing memories of the Albert National park further North in Africa where we were chased by a large bull elephant. I have led a very interesting life but I still envy you yours. Take care Diane

  2. What a fun change to read this today! I love traveling from Santa Fe to Athens to South Africa to Texas to Canada and on to rural USA in one click! :)

    These stories are hilarious... your POOR mom! My husband might have done the same thing... and I can guarantee you that some very "neat" words would have come out of my mouth!!! :D

    I'm laughing out loud today. Thank you for going to all the trouble to share this!!

  3. Reading your blog and seeing the animals you deal with...I feel a little silly worrying about the occasional black bear while hiking!

  4. Liesl, you would be a fantastic 'story-teller' in any school system, especially here in North America! Your stories are so exotic and kids and adults alike would love to hear these. Now. let's see, who could we get to sponsor such a trip?.......

  5. Diane; There is just something about Africa that gets in your blood..
    Allisson; I don't think my mom ever realy completely forgave my father for that little trick he pulled on her...

    Samantha;I once googled "bear attacks in America" and was petrified by what I read bear are every bit as dangerous and make no mistake!

    Jim; "Blush,blush" thank you so much for your kindness..I would be there in a flash!

  6. I agree with Jim - you'd be a blast in front of kids or adults - either one! So did your mom or dad have a career that allowed/necessitated living on the preserve? What a neat place!

  7. I love this post and hope you will do more. Most of us dream of visiting here and can't even imagine living here.

  8. Texwisgirl;My dad was in the engineering department and build most of the roads,bridges and dams in the Park. He lived in the remotest areas of the Park when scouting for new roads to be built...My mom was P.A (secratary)to the big guns of those days.
    Changes in the wind;I will def do more posts as we have some stunning pics of the early 1950's in the Park as well.

  9. You certainly sound as if you've had an interesting childhood, very few get such a chance...thanks for sharing the photos and stories with us and enjoy your rainy day and a bit west it's coldish and overcast and I'm also relaxing a bit...have a good week...


  10. I agree, please do more posts like this. It is fascinating to read about your childhood. And you don't even mention snakes here! The biggest thing I had in my childhood backyard in Stockholm, Sweden, was a Moose! Here in the canyon a Black Bear! Your mom and the lioness was a riot. So we are all waiting for more.--INger

  11. Hi Liesl... what a privileged upbringing you had. Of course you didn't realize it the but I'm sure that you do now!
    Great post!

  12. WOOW!!!! What a place to grow up! Love the pics of Letaba. Hope you post somemore of you growing up in the park.

  13. You lived the life I always wanted as a child. Africa was and is the neatest place on earth in my mind. So wild.

  14. What a fantastic childhood!!!! I do hope you will share more stories about growing up like this. So different than the rest of us and fascinating to boot!

  15. What a magnificent childhood in such a fantastic place. My sister and her family live right on the Zambezi river in Zim. They see so much wildlife. An incredible life to be so close to African wildlife and nature.
    Those elephants are so beautiful and majestic. Thanks for sharing aspects of your childhood.


Hi,thank you for stopping by "A Little African Magic" and joining our adventures in South Africa. I do enjoy and appreciate to hear from each and every one of you!