History of Jock of the Bushveld

History of Jock of the Bushveld

Jock of the Bushveld

Jock of the Bushveld is a true, classic South African children’s book written by the well-known historic figure and author Sir James Percy Fitzpatrick.

During Fitzpatrick’s time as a pioneer in the Lowveld, he recorded his adventures with pen and paper and vividly described the tale about Jock.

The tale took place in the 1900’s; Fitzpatrick’s dog was named Jock who was a Staffordshire Bull-terrier crossbreed. Percy first told the tale of Jock to his four children, Nugent, Alan, Oliver and Cecily. This book was also dedicated to his four children. A family friend named Rudyard Kipling used to listen to Percy’s evening story-telling and later told Fitz to put the stories together in book form.

Jock was the runt of the litter; Jock’s mother was a bull-terrier who had an anti-social personality, combined with a bad temper. Her appearance was as follows- she was a little cross-eyed, with a dull brindled black and grey coat.

Jesse’s litter consisted out of six pups; five of the six pups were strong and fat with a dark muzzle. The sixth pup was small and the runt of the litter. He looked completely different from that of his siblings. He had a pale half-and-half color coat, with dark, faint wavy lines all over his tiny body. The only thing he had in common with the other pups was his dark muzzle.

Percy Fitzpatrick took a liking in this particular pup and decided to take the pup. Fitzpatrick called the pup Jock and Jock soon realized that Percy was his master and followed him around wherever he went.

jock of the bushveld

The runt of the litter grew to be great, strong, fearless, well-mannered, as well as a good-tempered dog that was loved by all who met him along with his and Percy’s adventures. He lived his life with great loyalty to Percy.

Some of their adventures included the hunting and tracking of animals, dangerous encounters that included leopards, lions, warthogs and porcupines. Percy recorded all of their tales and told the story in so much detail. No wonder the book, Jock of the Bushveld is still well-loved, even today after it has first been published in 1907. More than one hundred editions have been printed and it has been translated into Afrikaans, Dutch, French, Xhosa, and Zulu, amongst others. Illustrations for the book were done by Edmund Caldwell, a brother of Mary Tourtel, creator of Rupert Bear.

Finally, after living a long life next to his master, Jock lost his hearing when he was kicked in the head by a kudu antelope, but yet he continued living his life, even with his disability.

Jock and Fitzpatrick later moved to the little town of Barberton. Jock used to run free and Percy soon realized that life in the town made Jock very miserable. With much consideration and thoughts of Jock’s best interests, Fitzpatrick gave Jock to his friend Tom Barnett, who ran a supply store in what became Mozambique. One night when Tom Barnett called him, he mistakenly shot Jock, because he was thought to be the dog killing chickens on the farm (when Jock had meanwhile already killed the other intruding dog). See Gelert and “Faithful Hound” folk-tale motif, which lives on as an urban legend. It is classified as Aarne–Thompson type 178A.

The exact location of Jock´s grave is unfortunately not officially marked or known. However, in 1947 Fitzpatrick´s daughter Cecily Niven backtracked her father’s travels according to the description in “Jock of the Bushveld” and wrote about her findings in her book “Jock & Fitz”, published in 1968.

Mrs. Niven claimed to have located the area of the grave and stated the coordinates as 25°46’5.0″S 32°20’4.0″E

Any remnants of Tom Barnett´s store and the wild Fig tree, under which Jock was buried and “Jock” had been carved upon, was long gone.

Fragments of building materials and broken china were uncovered at the site.

The Jock of the Bushveld movie

The book was made into a movie in 1988, starring Jonathan Rands, Gordon Mulholland and Jocelyn Broderick with Mfubu as Jock. The movie did not prove popular with American audiences, however, primarily due to its sad ending.
Another fictional movie with an ending that was more palatable to this audience was therefore released in 1994.

At the end of 2007, Duncan MacNeillie together with a small team of animators moved from Nelspruit to Johannesburg to start production on Jock of the Bushveld. It took a team of 25 animators and 3 years to complete the film. Midway through 2009, the decision was made to complete the film in Stereoscopic. Scheduling the release of a 3D animated movie called Jock the Hero Dog on 24 July 2012, Canadian singer Bryan Adams voiced the title character.

Jock of the Bushveld Statue: Barberton

Located in front of the Town Hall in Barberton, the Jock of the Bushveld statue, by Ivan Mitford-Barberton, was moved to its present position during Barberton’s Centenary in 1984.

Jock of the Bushveld Plaque in Kruger National Park

First Jock of the Bushveld Plaque

You can find a Jock of the Bushveld Plaque on the Voortrekker Road, at the Junction of the H2-2 Voortrekker Road and S14 Fayi Loop. This was Jock’s birthplace, commemorating his life with a bronze statue plaque. Jock was born in 1885.

Jock of the Bushveld

Second Jock of the Bushveld Plaque

You can find the second Jock of the Bushveld Plaque on the Voortrekker Road, near Afsaal picnic spot, as soon as you get back on the dirt road of H2-2 heading east, towards the S114 (this stretch of H2-2 is also called Little Jock). This was the party’s route along the way to Delagoa Bay.

Third Jock of the Bushveld Plaque

You can find the third Jock of the Bushveld Plaque on the Voortrekker Road (little Jock stretch) where the Junction of the S114 and H2-2 meet, just north of James Pan and just after the Glen Leary memorial site, south of Afsaal towards the S114. The second plaque on this road marks the original placed, near Fihlamanzi, by the then Transvaal Provincial Administration in 1951 to preserve the route of the Old Road.

Jock of the Bushveld

Fourth Jock of the Bushveld Plaque

You can find the fourth Jock of the Bushveld Plaque on your way to Jock Safari Lodge (unfortunately this is a private concession and you are not allowed to enter the S116 without permission as it is a non-designated road). The plaque is just off of the H3, towards the west on the S116, heading towards Jock Safari Lodge. There is also another plaque at a parking spot overlooking the Crocodile drift on the Malelane-Crocodile Bridge road where Jock, Fitzpatrick and Jim Makokel had their famous fight with the old crocodile.

Read more here about other Famous Historical Figures that played a part in the history of Kruger National Park

YES! We offer affordable Kruger National Park safaris

Our rates include the following:

  • Transfers from a pre-arranged pick-up location to Kruger National Park and back (this can be at your accommodation where you are staying, depending on the location). This includes Nelspruit | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport | White River | Hazyview | Malelane | Komatipoort and Marloth Park

  • Full Day safari with a luxury open safari vehicle

  • An accredited & professional Field Guide doubling as the driver of the vehicle on the day of safari

  • +- 8 Hours of sheer “entertainment” in the world-famous Kruger National Park (excludes travel time outside the park)

  • A snack box per person consisting of various treats to munch on during the day of the safari

  • Assistance with Kruger National Park entrance/conservation fee payments, paperwork and permits

  • The use of high-quality, waterproof ponchos on-board the vehicle when needed

Please note:

Our area of operation covers Nelspruit and surrounding areas, White River | Malelane | Hazyview | Komatipoort | Marloth Park | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport.

Please contact us if your accommodation falls outside of our area of operation.

We also conduct safari tours in the North of Kruger upon request and need. You also have the option to hire the safari vehicle privately, email us to find out more. Additionally, you have the option to add your Kruger entrance/conservation fees when you make your booking so you don’t have to go to the office on the morning of the safari to make payment for entrance fees.


Fantastic experience

We really enjoyed our safari with Liz and the web photographer. They pointed out many sightings which we would never have seen on our own. We saw 3 leopards, many elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos and different types of antelopes and birds.
They provided binoculars which helped a lot, especially when observing the leopards in the reed!
The service is top: on time, friendly, very informative and you get a feeling how much they enjoy “going the extra mile” for the customer. They tried to keep ahead of the crowd and do not enter thru Numbi gate which is usually very crowded. Its great the park fee is included in the price because then you do not need to queue at the entrance like in the case of some of the other operators. We will definitely recommend you!

dorischristina2015, TripAdvisor
Emocional experience

When we thought about that trip, my wife, my stepson, our friend and I ,had never imagined how amazing could be , and how deep can touch us. From the first moment when we founded Lizelle, our guide at the Malelane door, the magic begins to happen.She was so unreal in some way, that my wife said ( in Portuguese,) she seems to be a caracter from a movie!, We had very good luck , and in just 2 full days, 20 hours total, we could see the real big five, including black rhino and leopard, and many many other species, of course. Lizelle was so nice, so professional and so dedicated that we are recommended to our friends around the World to do the same program.. .. we will repeat it for sure. There is not words, not video or pictures, that can transmit this experience, .. believe me, after you live it you will understand it .

FellowTraveler507918, TripAdvisor
Great services! Amazing commments

The guide was very friendly and helpful!
She really knew the way around the park and we were able to see a big variety of animals

344hama, TripAdvisor
Super accommodating and informative.
Liz was super patient in making sure we get the morning bush walk and night drive within limited dates. They know lots about every animal we saw. I love that they provide parkas for their guests because it gets super chilly as the truck moves. Their truck is clean and not loud like other trucks which tend to scare the animals away.
Zzame Em, Google Review
Leading Safari Company

Lion Roar Safaris offers safaris in Kruger Park. In an excellent car and with professional equipment we discovered in a small groupe the big 5. The guide was an expert and is very customer oriented.

DutchAdventurer, TripAdvisor
Spectacular day in the Mighty Kruger!

Even if the weather was cold during the day, the spectacular sightings we had made up for it all. Luckily this company is not one of those that rush from one big sighting to another but rather take it at a slower pace and therefore not miss even the small things like some bird species and trees and plants, lizards and much more.
Oh and I am so glad their Photographer was also on board with her very sharp eye sight. She spotted plenty of animals where the rest of us missed them…especially that Cheetah! And she took the most beautiful pictures (and some short videos clips) of all our sightings that day. We were surely one lucky group of people seeing all those magnificent wildlife, especially the Elephant Calves, Wild Dogs as well as Hyena Pups!
Oh and let’s not forget the snack bags that was packed for us!!
The Guide was very informative and interactive with our group. Evidently her kindness and helpfulness is not only restricted to the time a guest is on her vehicle still busy on the Tour but even helping when one of our group members was staying over at a place in the Kruger Park, she assisted him from booking in at the camp to taking him to where he would be staying, to briefly showing him around on what is where and available to him in the camp. And this all took merely a few minutes.
I would definitely be recommending Lion Roar Safaris.

Grifinne, TripAdvisor

Best experience ever!

Lizelle was very informative and made sure we had the best views of all the animals!

Johan , Google Review
Amazing experience

Staff is professional and on time.
We saw a lot of animals like lions cheetah hyenas rhinos elephants hyppos and many others.
Really an amazing day!! Thank you!

valeva2019, TripAdvisor

Some of the services Lion Roar Safaris Offer…

Upmarket Luxury Safaris  I  Tailored Safaris  I  Professional Personal Holiday Photographer   I  Hire a Professional Field Guide  I  Hire a Private Safari Vehicle   I   Accommodation in and around Kruger   I  Photographic Safaris   I   Safari catering – picnic lunches, dinners and BBQ’s and more…

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