Dankbaar in the Kgalagadi

There is a place in the far north of the Park called Dankbaar. Dankbaar is the Afrikaans word for grateful which is obviously how the place came to its name. The surveyor who surveyed and subdivided the entire Park into farms during the years 1913-1917 was Roger Duke Jackson. His nickname was Malkop (mad head).

There is a common misconception that he was Scottish. He as well as his father were both born in South Africa. When he was at the place we now know as Dankbaar he ran out of water. The situation was really desperate but suddenly the clouds built up and a thunderstorm broke out. He ordered all his workers to spread out all the canvas and empty vessels they had and so they collected enough water to save man and beast. (They had oxen, horses and perhaps mules.)So he called the place Dankbaar. 

In 1958 or 57 the world renowned prof. Fritz Eloff started coming to the Park to do research on the lion of the Kalahari. In 1963 one of prof. Eloff's students, Elias le Riche, who was also the son of the Head Warden of the Park, Joep le Riche, joined his father and brother Stoffel as a young ranger in the Park. 

He built Nossob camp from scratch. He also built a basic research camp for his professor at Dankbaar, because there were plenty of lion at Dankbaar. He drilled a borehole there and a reservoir. For a few years Eloff and his co-workers including prof. Koos Bothma, Jan Nel, Noel van Rooyen and many others worked at Dankbaar mapping out the fauna and flora of the Park. 

Later Elias built a new and better camp. It was quickly named Loffiesdraai after prof Eloff. There is nothing left of Dankbaar today but I and many others remain eternally "Dankbaar" for the scientists and rangers who left us this wonderful legacy. 
The research camp at Dankbaar in the mid sixties.
Prof Fritz Eloff far left, Elias le Riche second from the right. Mid sixties
Roger Malkop Jackson's camp at Dankbaar, circa 1913-1917.
October 2020 photographs of the site of Dankbaar. Unfortunately the area is not accessible to tourists.
The base of the reservoir at Dankbaar today.
Dankbaar 2020
Deur: Koos Marais
Ander verwysings na Koos Marais:
Books can be ordered from kosiemarais@gmail.com

Book: History of the Kgalagadi National Park