Hoedspruit

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Information provided by Hans Bornman from his unpublished book, Lowveld Tour Guide:

Town, 25 km north of Acornhoek[1] and 32 km south of Mica. It takes its name from the farm and stream. It is Afrikaans for ‘hat stream’. Hoedspruit is a service point on the Kaapmuiden-Tzaneen railway line.

East of Hoedspruit are three nature reserve areas: Klaserie, Timbavati and Umbabat. From 1926 to 1937 A M Mostert had a concession to take overseas tourists into the Kruger National Park and thus started the first safari business in the Lowveld. As a result of his love and appreciation of wildlife, he began to look for game farms bordering onto the Park and in July 1936, he bought the farm Nederland, at five shillings per morgen.

Mostert brought tourists to Nederland, offering them drives at night and wilderness trails over the farm by day. He bought portions of the farms Peru and Ceylon. Thus his idea of a private nature reserve was created. However, for business reasons, he was unable to carry out his original idea.

The Game Ordinance, 1935, provided for the control of many aspects of wildlife, but the continued development of the province, coupled with modern methods of transport and hunting, increased the danger of overhunting and the ordinance soon became obsolete. Following a thorough investigation by a commission of inquiry into game preservation in general in 1945, the Division of Nature Conservation was established in 1947. When the Transvaal Game Ordinance (No 23 of 1949) was changed, people were allowed to form private reserves under certain conditions, and Mostert proposed that the property owners form a mutual game reserve. Col J D Pretorius was extremely enthusiastic and in 1954 he went from farm to farm discussing the proposal with the property owners. It was due to his enthusiasm and work that the ‘Umbabat Private Nature Reserve’, named after the Umbabat River, became a reality. When the river was later given its original Xitsonga name ‘Timbavati’, from ‘ku bava’, meaning ‘bitter or brackish water’, the name of the reserve was changed accordingly.

The Timbavati Private Nature Reserve was proclaimed in 1956, in terms of the 1949 Game Ordinance. The Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, consisting of 15 farms with a total area of some 62 818 ha in extent, and regarded as the largest private nature reserve in the world, was proclaimed in January 1972.

[1] From Eekhoringhoek (Eekhoring = tree squirrel). The Britsih settlers, after the First South African War (1899-1902), could not pronounce the word ‘eekhoring’ and changed it to Acorn(hoek).