Numbi Gate to Pretoriouskop
The Numbi Gate is regarded to be the oldest entrance gate into the Park. Still in use today and one of the eight entrance gates to the Kruger park, the first visitors began to trickle into the Park in 1927. Records reflect that 3 cars carrying 12 people in entered in 1927 with a decade later seeing 6,000 cars carrying 26,000 people in 1937. By 1957 the Park had grown in popularity with 117,000 annual visitors and by 1967 this had surged to 560,000 visitors.
Numbi gate and Pretoriouskop played a pivotal role in the early years as the Park as they where the first entrance gate and overnight accommodation available. The closest town was White River and residents still today feel a great sense of propriety over the Park as its community members were responsible for building the gravel road through to Numbi and also because both James Stevenson-Hamilton and Harry Wolhuter both retired in White River after their years of service.
The early road left White River making its way east over Glory Hill and the eastern side of Legogote mountain to Matimba which was the home of Harry Wolhuter. Early guests had to visit stop in at Matimba to gather a day permit and sign the register of entry. This also had to be done on the way out to confirm that you were indeed safe and departing the Park.
By the 1932 Numbi Gate was fully operation and patrons in their vehicles were able to now navigate the gravel road to the gate and enter on route to Pretoriouskop Camp. The Camp in those days consisted of only 2 huts and an open fire area with many locals making use of the large Common Fig tree, which stands near the modern day Ranger Station, for shade and spot to enjoy lunch.
Pretoriouskop Camp is regarded as the oldest camp with its first campers arriving in 1928. Set in a very historical area known as the “old Wagon Route” the camp lies amongst granite koppies thick with silver terminalia and sickle-bush. Situated at roughly 500masl it also has the highest rainfall in the park with annual rains between 650mm – 750mm.
The name Pretoriouskop comes from two specific koppies of granite found roughly 2,5km west of the camp on the main road. According the legend the grave site was that of Willem Pretrious who was a member of Carel Trichardts Voortrekker expedition in 1848. As the story goes Willem Pretorious fell dangerously ill on the route to Delagoa Bay and trying to return back to Graskop sadly died and was buried by Joao Albisini at the site.