Reitz Pontoon, Kruger National Park
Reitz Pontoon in Kruger National Park
The Reitz Pontoon does not exist anymore. Instead, at the site where it crossed the Olifants River, there is a low-level bridge which is great for game viewing and even better for photography. It is not clear if the low-level bridge was built on top of the site of the original pontoon or not.
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The pontoon was constructed in 1929 and was in use until 1937. The site for the pontoon was chosen by Colonel Reitz, after whom it is named. A mining engineer, by the name of Paul Selby, built the pontoon which allowed traffic in the fledgeling park to safely cross the river.
The site where the pontoon was located is very close to Balule Camp and there is a plaque in the camp to commemorate it.
What is a pontoon?
A pontoon is essentially a floating bridge or raft that is designed to enable cars, or other traffic, to cross a river or other stretch of water. A hand-drawn pontoon, such as the Reitz Pontoon was, allowed a vehicle or pedestrians onto the pontoon which was then pulled across the river by the team onboard. The cable allows the pontoon to be pulled in a forwards or backwards direction and it also provides guidance.