Kruger National Park

a short history

In the North-Eastern corner of South Africa lies one of the world’s greatest treasures. A very large segment of pristine Africa, where all aspects of nature co-exist and live life as nature is meant to be. It is regarded by many as one of the finest conservation areas on the planet. The views are of wooded plains, thickly forested river banks, and open Savannah. There are more than 2000 different forms of vegetation that sustain an unmatched richness of wildlife.

  • 147 species of mammals
  • More than 500 bird species
  • 118 species of reptiles
  • 54 freshwater fish species
  • 33 amphibian species
  • Innumerable insects and other forms of life, some not found anywhere else in the world

The Sabi Reserve (Southern section of modern-day Kruger) was first proclaimed in 1898 by the President of the ZAR, Paul Kruger, and then re-proclaimed in 1902 by the British (Lord Milner) after the second Anglo – Boer war.

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The Singwidzi Reserve (Northern section of modern-day Kruger) was proclaimed in 1903. The first Head Ranger of the Sabi, and later also the Singwidzi Reserve, was James Stephenson-Hamilton. He was a Major in the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoon Guards before a spirit of adventure saw him traveling to Africa. He spent the last few years of the Nineteenth Century exploring and hunting the area today known as Zambia. His service as Head Ranger was interrupted by WW1 and he returned from service as a Colonel.

He was Chief warden of Kruger for 44 years and retired in April 1946 at the age of 78. Stephenson-Hamilton is credited with doing more than any other man, to physically create the huge and unique Kruger National Park of today. The main administrative centre and heart of Kruger – Skukuza – was named after him. Literally translated, from the indigenous Shangaan language, it means “He who sweeps clean.”

Historical map of Kruger National Park

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The fragmented Sabi and Singwidzi (Northern section of modern-day Kruger) Reserves and the farmland corridor in between were incorporated into Kruger National Park in 1926. The first tourists to the park arrived in 1923. They were railway passengers on an overnight stop on the Selati railway line at Skukuza. This railway line was shrouded in controversy and was built in two parts over a 20-year period.

This train journey was called “Round in Nine”. Nine days by rail from the Selati Goldfields in the Northern parts of South Africa to Delagoa Bay in Mozambique (now Maputo) and back. During an overnight stopover at the Selati bridge, the tourists were treated to guided walks accompanied by armed rangers. The first independent tourists were only welcomed in Kruger in 1927. Today the yearly tourist figure is nearly 2 million.

The Park is also part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere, designated by UNESCO as an International Man and Nature Biosphere Reserve.

During the late 1990s, the adjoining internal fences between private nature reserves and the Western boundary of Kruger were removed. This effectively added 400 000 ha to the Greater Kruger.

Kruger National Park now also forms part of a Peace Park, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

This transfrontier park was created in 2002 by incorporating the 1,96 million ha of Kruger, the 505 300 ha of Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, and the 1 million ha of the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique. The meeting point of these three Parks is the infamous and very beautiful Crook`s Corner. In the old days, illicit traders would move the border post regularly to prevent persecution from any one of the adjoining countries.

Communally shared fences were removed to re-instate ancient migration routes, particularly Elephant. The greater area under conservation is a growing, astonishing 3,85 million ha, one of the biggest of its kind in the world.

It is envisaged that the ultimate area under conservation will be a staggering 100 000 sq km. This would be more than three times the size of Belgium.

There is a comprehensive network of 2 400 km well-maintained roads of which 800 km is tarred. Speed limits range between 40 km/h on gravel (unpaved) roads and 50 km/h on the main tarred (paved) roads. The average speed is, however, closer to 30 km/h or 18,6 mph, both for the safety of the animals and for optimal viewing.

About Us

Private Safari day trips into Kruger National Park is our speciality. Kids of all ages, above 3 years old, are most welcome. As our trips are private, only one group of friends or family, no sharing with strangers.

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