This month’s newsletter features several highlights. These include a Congo mission imprint from the early twentieth century (#1: Malexena ma Nkana mu Ncemi), outstanding works on South African indigenous architecture, a large section on Cape local history, the sought-after Johannes Meintjes monograph on the photography of Ambrose Lomax (#37: Portrait of a South African Village), a commemorative “vase” for the Defence of Rorke’s Drift (#48: 24th Rorke’s Drift 1879-1979 Centenary Glass Trophy), and the subscriber’s edition of Harry Wolhuter’s autobiography (#59: Memories of a Game-Ranger), to name just some of the more exciting items. We would like to focus on Harry Wolhuter’s life story, an account that never loses its ability to thrill and inspire.
Every South African family should visit the Kruger National Park at least once. Having done so, though, it is impossible not to return as often as possible: the place has a magnetism like no other region we know. When one is in the Lowveld, there is an authentic sense of having travelled back in time. This is no mere illusion: Well-maintained roads and comfortable restcamps notwithstanding, one is experiencing the area as it was a hundred years ago. The bush is as it always was, and the animals live their lives as they always have.
After the establishment of the Sabie Game Reserve, which later became the Kruger National Park, the only place visitors could overnight year-round was Pretoriuskop. With its slight elevation, this camp was deemed safe from the malaria threat, even in the heat of summer. Pretoriuskop remains one of our favourite camps. Within the camp, you can go on the self-guided Sable Trail. One of the points of interest mentioned in the trail’s booklet is ‘The Wolhuter Hut’:
“The Wolhuter Hut was built in 1930 and is one of the few original huts that were built in the Park to provide accommodation for visitors. These early huts were known as Selby huts and were named after the designer, an American mining engineer. This particular hut was named after Henry Charles Christoffel Wolhuter, one of the two first rangers appointed by Stevenson-Hamilton. Born in 1876, Wolhuter was the first ranger appointed to the Pretoriuskop area, a post which he held for 44 years. His base was actually at Mtimba, just outside the present Numbi gate, from where he operated for 36 years. Probably the most well-known of all the Park’s rangers, his fame is attributed partly to the discovery of the Albasini ruins and to the incredible episode in August 1904 when he survived an attack by a lion which he killed with his hunting knife. Wolhuter died in 1964 at the age of 88.”
The astonishing tale of Wolhuter’s lion encounter and subsequent ordeal is told in Memories of a Game-Ranger. Part of the book’s appeal is the author’s matter-of-fact way of relating the most amazing incidents. The unimbellished style is complimented by the charming Astley-Maberly illustrations. If you just want to read the book, we do have another copy, besides the Subscriber’s Edition featured this month. As always, we hope we have found something for you.
The link to this month’s list can be found here:
Lindsay and Wendy