South African Eden, by James Stevenson-Hamilton
'South African Eden: From Sabi Game Reserve to Kruger National Park' is James Stevenson-Hamilton's memoir of over four decades of service as warden of what became the world renowned Kruger National Park, a classic of ecology.
It is the afternoon of 25 July 1902. On the edge of the last escarpment of the Drakensberg, overlooking the huddled welter of bush-clad ravines and rocky terraces which compose the foothills, my little caravan has come to a halt that I may for a while absorb the wonderful panorama of mountain and forest which has just disclosed itself. The sun, low in the west, is gilding the bare pinnacle of Legogote and is lending fleeting shades of delicate pink to the three peaks of Pretoriuskop - border beacons of the land of mystery beyond. Eastward, far as the eye can see, stretches a rolling expanse of tree-tops; in the foreground a medley of green, yellow and russet brown, but with increasing distance merging into a carpet of blue-grey, which, as it recedes, assumes an ever fainter hue, until at last it blends with the dim haze of the horizon. Far away down the slope of the mountain lies the lonely homestead of which I have been told: Sanderson's farm, in its complete solitude and abandonment, a component part of the surrounding wilderness. Wildlife is just awakening from its afternoon siesta. Francolins are calling all around, and from a nearby donga comes the sudden clatter of guineafowl. Bush babblers are chattering among the trees, their cheerful din serving to render yet less definable the vague sounds which here and there are beginning to rise from the distant forest. It is the voice of Africa, and with it comes to me a sense of boundless peace and contentment. But it is getting late, so I unwillingly come back to earth, mount and give the order to proceed. The tired oxen seem to sense this to be the last stage of their long day's trek, and the waggon jolts rapidly down the rough road, corrugated with deep ruts and dotted with large stones. Finally, amid the appropriate shouting and creaking of brakes, we draw up before it is yet dark in front of Sanderson's farmhouse. Except for a few guineafowl (remnants of a tame flock) the place is quite deserted, and the house thoroughly cleared of everything movable; but its walls and roof remaining intact, it provides a welcome shelter of which we gladly avail ourselves. The caravan was not an imposing one under the circumstances. A light waggon, drawn by six emaciated oxen weakened by long and exhausting transport work under active service conditions; three good ponies, all of them old campaigners, but 'unsalted' - that is, not immune from that curse of Africa, horse sickness; a Cape 'boy', named Nicholas, as general factotum; a Sotho youth from the Orange Free State as horse attendant; a driver and leader for the waggon. Finally, a quaint old native known as 'Toothless Jack', attired in a few nondescript and indescribably filthy garments, who on the strength of his having formerly been one of Mr Henry Glynn's hunting boys and so presumably knowing something about the country we were bound for, had joined my retinue at Graskop. During the night I reflected seriously on the circumstances hinted at above. In brief, a complete stranger to everyone living there, white or black, I was on the point of entering a country of which I knew practically nothing, with instructions to convert it as soon as possible from its time-honoured status of a hunter's paradise into an inviolable game sanctuary. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book 'South African Eden: From Sabi Game Reserve to Kruger National Park', by James Stevenson-Hamilton.
Title: South African Eden
Subtitle: From Sabi Game Reserve to Kruger National Park
Author: James Stevenson-Hamilton
Series: Penguin Modern Classics
Publisher: The Penguin Group (SA)
Cape Town, South Africa 2008
ISBN 9780143185581 / ISBN 978-0-14-318558-1
Softcover, 13 x 19 cm, 340 pages
Stevenson-Hamilton, James im Namibiana-Buchangebot
"South African Eden" is James Stevenson-Hamilton's memoir of over 40 years of service as warden of the Sabi Game Reserve (Kruger National Park).