Not much more is heard from Gardiner during the rest of his stay in Port Natal. Not long after his self-imposed exile into the bush, Dingane attacked a Boer deportation causing an uproar in Durban which in turn lead to a panicked evacuation onto a coasting vessel (the Comet) in the bay, which included Gardiner. Gardiner was never to return to Durban after the vessel sailed away on 11th May 1838, most hands were against him and the Zulu’s had destroyed his mission stations in Berea and Tongaat.
It’s quite alarming the way in which the early pioneers and settlers of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal went about decimating the local wildlife during hunting trips. In his notes of 1886, John Dunn enthusiastically describes hunts where he ‘bags’ numerous rhino, sea-cow (hippo), lion and of course all manner of buck; and that’s just Dunn, not the other members of his hunting party; in one memorable hunt he mentions “bagging” twenty-three (23) hippos before lunch! Elephants were common place in early Durban days, but the demand for “tuskers” from every quarter, British, French, Portuguese, Zulu, meant that it was only a matter of time before “extinction” became a watchword with many African wildlife species!
We’re lucky that today that game parks like the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve exists not only for conservation, but also to educate.
Gardiner who originally arrived in South Africa and Durban specifically to spread the word of God, was not quite finished with his stint with the politics of the time. He promptly left the township of Durban for the Cape in order to ask Sir Benjamin D’Urban to take the area over as a colony and to appoint proper officials. After a false start which saw Gardiner having to return to Durban in order to avoid a native war, he was able to meet up with the Cape Colony Governor in Port Elizabeth on the 3rd December 1835.