Thursday 20 June 2013

Crook's Corner

By Lewis Walter (DC Intaf)

I wonder how many of our readers will remember the remote Portuguese wine shop at Crooks' Corner on the Limpopo River where Rhodesia, South Africa and Mocambique came together at single point. This area was beloved of "Bvekenya" Barnard, the well-known hunter/poacher, and other miscreants. The story is that when the police of one or other of the countries in which they were wanted got too close, they would merely move a few yards to the safety of a neighbouring country...... Some of Bvekenya's offspring still lived thereabouts in the 1960s.

The photos were taken in 1963 when I was stationed at Nuanetsi.

Innocence Personified

Where do we start?
 In the wine shop are Rob Knights (Intaf), Albert Blamire (Schoolmaster, Bindura School) and Henny Olwage (Intaf). All off-duty of course !


Many thanks to Lewis for sharing this information with ORAFs. It is so rewarding to learn of these oddities for the first time and to read the personal experiences thereafter. Boy it certainly makes my job a lot easier.
Please send your recollections. memories of Crook's Corner to and share them with all ORAFs and fair amount of other readers who are mainly not-Rhodesian.

The book " The Ivory Trail" is a story of a larger than life hunter and poacher told by one of South Africa's most popular travel and adventure writers.

This is the story of legendary hunter/poacher S.C. 'Bvekenya' Barnard who lived in the Limpopo River region. It tells of his hunting expeditions that revolved around Crook's Corner, where he could take refuge from the country's police. An outlaw for twenty years, Bvekenya was one of the most colorful personalities in Africa, who fought a one-man war against all control and authority. The life of Bvekenya and his exploits as an ivory poacher, blackbirder, outdoorsman and perhaps surprisingly for some, a conservationist, was told to Bulpin by Barnard himself.

 (Please visit our previous posts and archives)

Ref. Rhodesia

Further information received from Lewis.

 Crooks' Corner
By Lewis Walter (DC)

Thanks to John Hill and others for comments on Crooks' Corner.  Re John's remark that the building may have been washed away, this is very probable. This photograph shows just how close the wine shop was to the river bank, and the big tree was already being undermined fifty years ago. 

I wonder what has happened to the DC's Field Quarters at Malipati, and Palfrey's store which was right on the Mozambique border some miles north of the Limpopo.   


To view the complete story, please click on the image or on the link below.

Thanks to Lewis for making the photograph and story available to ORAFs.
Comments are welcome - please send them to Eddy Norris at
[ ]
(Please visit our previous posts and archives

Ref. Rhodesia

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At 21 June 2013 at 11:09 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

John Hill (6070 BSAP) Writes:-

I was at Crooks Corner in October last year – the river was so dry that the crocs that were left were black from being sunburnt! I will dig out the photographs I took and send them on. Did not see any sign of the building in Lewis’ photo – it must have been washed away by one of the many floods in the intervening years.

There is a very good pub [shebeen?] on the south bank of the Limpopo at Mapai River near where our lads and the SANDF boys got taken out in 1979! Friends going there next week – will ask for update photos as that will have been taken out by the floods earlier this year! On the Moz side at Mapai Rail there are numerous pubs and restaurants. Will send some photos of the area if you like.

At 21 June 2013 at 11:09 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Nick Baalbergen (Intaf) Writes:-

I have just read your piece on 'Crook's Corner' in Eddy's 'Our Rhodesian Hertitage' blog. Some interesting photos!

I still have a hardcover copy of T V Bulpin's book 'The Ivory Trail', which I bought for the princely sum of R8,25 many years ago. Chapter 2 of the book is titled 'Crook's Corner' and goes into some detail about this convenient wedge of land. Your personal recollections and photos brings an additional perspective to the story.

(Photos were made available by Lewis Walter (DC) Eddy Norris)

At 21 June 2013 at 16:35 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Thanks for sharing the Crooks Corner story with us all – having read the Ivory Trail I was familiar with the tale about Bvekenya Barnard so it was of great interest to see the photos of the actual building. One of his sons runs a highly respected safari company in Botswana known as Penduka Safaris, the web link to which I have appended below for interest sake for anyone who would like to delve a little deeper into the story. On the website is more interesting anecdotal information about this remarkable man and his son’s own story which is interesting in itself.
Cheers time being


At 22 June 2013 at 10:28 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Louis Hartley (Writes)

As v young man in the mid 60's a group of us were invited on a really wild bush trip, under the control of the National Parks director, (a bush legend in his own right) Bruce Austen. Bruce was then the National Parks Regional warden for the southern region. Bruce was out there overseeing the building of new National parks camp facilities within the newly designated Gona Re Zhou game park.

I recall being present, listening to stories around a camp fire in the Hippo Pools- known as the Chipinda pools area (on the lower Lundi- Sabi river confluence).
Besides a large number of crocs and Hippos, there were also Tiger fish in this lower section of the river !

You may well know this is a superb natural bush-v wild area, under the yellow sand stone Clarendon cliffs.

One the elderly National Parks Shangaan Game tracker scouts present at the campfire told us about his time as a youth / his exploits out hunting with the legendary Bvekenya - SC Barnard !

He also showed us his permanent scars, from being tossed by angry wounded Buffalo that circled around and ambushed him.
V fortunately for him...... he landed in a Acacia thorn tree and survived !
Never mind those long needle like thorns, when an angry Buffalo is waiting..... below !

The book the Ivory Trail by TV Bulpin is well worth the time to read, excellent bush and wild life reminiscences !

At 23 June 2013 at 15:36 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Denise Taylor Writes:-

Just read that article by Lewis. Funny hey. Anyway I was amazed at how much the "crooks corner" house resembled the farm house ?

My favourite was the "Landy" and secondly what appeared to be chicken wire around the bar counter ! Yet all those bottles on the shelf. Dichotomy I guess even there !!!

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