Skip to content

Speech : Memories Of A Game Ranger : Africa : Harry Wolhuter

  • by

One off our resident Toastmasters from South Africa, Peter told us off some cautionary tales from the great game reserves at our the club meeting on the 20th August. One such tale is off a ranger called Harry Wolhuter. In his own words Peter Bird recalls the legendary Harry Wolhuter.

Harry Wolhuter was the first game ranger paid by the then Transvaal republic to range over the then known Sabi game reserve. He had is base at Skukuza the now main KNP camp. He would patrol the area on horseback taking his little fox terrier with him for company. The patrols were mainly to ensure that no illegal hunting took place by miners or other passing travellers in many cases for trophies only!

On his way back to Skukuza at about dusk he was savagely attached by two young black manned lions. He was pulled off his horses back brought to the ground. The one lion mauled him on the right shoulder and dragged him off to be eaten in a quiet place. The other lion was troubled by the fox terrier that kept his distance, however kept coming in and biting the lion’s ankles or feet at any opportunity!

Fortunately Harry was able to with his good left hand remove his hunter’s knife from his back pocket area out of the sheath. He was able with his experience to aim the knife below the shoulder in the heart region. He jabbed the knife in as hard as he could piercing the lion’s heart. The lion let Harry go, stumbled and with blood coming from his throat disappeared into the night.

Harry dragged himself with all his might to a tree nearby, climbing the tree and wedged himself into a fork and bound himself in with his belt.
The 2nd lion did come back for him with the dog troubling from the rear; however Harry was by now safe up in the tree.
Harry was found in the morning by his workers who saw his horses coming back to camp alone.

Today the lion’s skin remains with the knife are displayed in the Skukuza camp as a memory of Harry’s episodes in the bush.