Kruger Park History

Early game viewing experience of Kruger Park


Early Stone Age

The Early Stone Age began some 2.5 million years ago. In the Kruger Park area, artefacts occur on most hilltops in the Limpopo/ Luvuvhu floodplains, and along the Makhadzi Spruit, next to the Lebombo Mountains...
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Middle Stone Age

The Stone Age spans a lengthy period - from about 2 million years ago, to 1 800 years ago. During the Middle Stone Age it is uncertain which early hominid species lived in the Kruger Park area but it is suspected that it was Homo sapiens rhodensis...
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Late Stone Age

This period was characterised by the habitation of the area by the San. South Africa, and specifically the Kruger National Park, has one of the best-preserved and largest concentrations of San Rock Art in Africa...
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Iron Age

The Southern African Iron Age began around 1 800 years ago, when the Ntu speaking peoples moved into the area. In the Kruger Park area, the Ntu tribes settled along the Limpopo, Luvuvhu, Shingwedzi and Letaba Rivers...
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Transvaal Republic

The history of the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces is deeply intertwined with that of the original "Transvaal". An understanding of the history of this province is essential in the understanding of the history, and formation of the Kruger National Park...
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Kruger Park Proclamation

Afrikaner Nationalism started to rise in the 1920's and many people saw the establishment of a national park as the realisation of ‘Paul Kruger's dreams'...
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Modernisation of Kruger National Park

Robbie Robinson of the South African National Parks Board began the transition of the Park into the new South Africa. One of his many accomplishments was removing the fencing that separated the park's western border from numerous small, private game reserves...
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Game Conservation

After the entry of the first whites into the area of what is now the Kruger Park, came the ‘sportsmen' from Europe, hunting for trophies. There seemed to be no limit to the abundance of game available...
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Alf Roberts

Along with a number of Pre-historic sites in the park, are also the remains of historical buildings, which serve as a reminder of the more recent history of the Park. One such reminder is on the Crocodile River, and is known to be Alf Roberts' trade store...
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Dukes Windmill

Perhaps as an acknowledgement of the importance of water, Duke's windmill, was also named after one of Kruger National Park's earliest rangers, Tom Duke. He was was based at Lower Sabie between 1903 and 1923...
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Engelhard Dam

The Engelhard Dam is a large concrete weir in the Letaba River, east of the Letaba Restcamp, and is named for an American millionaire businessman, Charles Engelhard, who donated funds...
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Kruger Memorial

Naturally, Paul Kruger is, himself, memorialised at the Park, both with the Kruger Monument (at the Kruger Gate), and the Kruger memorial tablet...
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Makahane

A different way of life is represented by the ruins of Makahane, northeast of Punda Maria, next to the Levuvhu River, and the dwelling place of the Vhalembethu. The political structure here meant that the ruler has tremendous power...
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Masorini

This site is situated some 11km from the Phalaborwa Gate, on the road to Letaba. The ancestors of the Baphalaborwa stayed here. They made a living from the melting of iron...
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Prospectors Graves

Skukuza Restcamp is also home to some Prospector's graves. Many of the graves from the gold rush days are unnamed. Most face east to west but some face north to south...
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Rabelais Gate

The Original hut at Rabelais' gate is still preserved. This was the original entrance gate to the central region, on to the old Orpen road to the east of the N'wamatsatsa Drift...
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Sardellis Store

Sardelli's store is a ruin. Sardelli was a trader who ran a shack in the Lebombo near the Zenga-Zenga Mountain. He brewed and sold an intoxicating drink made from the fruit of the marula tree...
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Skukuza Camp History

Skukuza Camp was originally known as Sabie Bridge (the old railway bridge can still be seen at the rest camp) or simply Reserve, and the name was changed to Skukuza in 1936...
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Stols Nek

An early family to be associated with the area were the Stols'. They were famous hunters and wagon makers. In August 1886, Stols went hunting and became infected with Malaria, and subsequently died. This area was later named Stols Nek...
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Struben Cottage

The historical Struben Family Cottage in Skukuza is named for the Struben brothers, Fred and Harry. They arrived in South Africa from Germany in about 1840, with the idea of becoming gold prospectors...
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Thulamela

At sites such as Thulamela, in the north of the Park, evidence of this bustling trade still exists in the form of glass beads, Chinese porcelain, imported cloth, ivory bracelets, gold, bronze and other jewellery...
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Von Wiellighs Camp

There is an historical Baobab tree near the confluence of the Olifants and Letaba Rivers, where GR Von Wielligh and company set up their camp number 19. Von Wielligh was one of the original surveyors in the area, and who carved his name on the tree in 1891...
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First Warden

James Stevenson-Hamilton was appointed Warden of the Sabi Game Reserve. In 1936, the Kruger Parks' main rest camp's name was changed from Sabie Bridge to Skukuza to honour him...
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Harold Trollope

Malelane Restcamp has a hut named for Harold Trollope, a big game hunter and one of the original owners of the Camelthorn Reserve, who was actively involved in the early development of both the Kruger and the Addo Elephant Parks...
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Harry Wolhuter

One of Kruger Park's most famous stories is the 1904 saga of Harry Wolhuter one of the Park's first rangers. Wolhuter was riding on horseback along what is today the Lindanda Road, when two lions attacked him...
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JH Orpen

One of the urgent needs of the infant Kruger National Park was the provision of water to the growing number of game. JH Orpen, a surveyor and member of the National Parks Board helped sponsor boreholes for the park...
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Joe Ludorf

Plaques were clearly a popular means of commemoration, as can be attested by the Joe Ludorf plaque (at Napi Kop). Ludorf was a staunch nationalist and sometime chairperson of the National Parks Board...
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Joäo Albasini

Albasini was born 1 May 1813, in Lisbon, Portugal. He came to Lourenço Marques in 1831 and became a slave trader and Elephant hunter. The remains of his trading post can be found at the new Phabeni Gate, 10 km from Hazyview...
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Leonard Henry Ledeboer

Another place of recent historical interest is Ranger Ledeboer's quarters. Leonard Henry Ledeboer came from Holland as a young man in 1888. He hunted elephants with well-known characters...
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Paul Kruger

Paul Kruger (Stephanus Johannes Paulus Kruger) was born on October 10 1825 at his grandfather's farm, Bulhoek in the Steynsburg district and grew up on the farm, Vaalbank...
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Sir Percy Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick was born in King William's Town 24 July 1862. Fitzpatrick's adventures during the time when he was pioneering in the Bushveld, are vividly described in his book Jock of the Bushveld, which is generally accepted as a South African classic...
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Thomas Hart

The somewhat rough and ready times of the Trade Route, are remembered at Thomas Hart's grave. Hart was a ‘stationmaster' on trade route to Delagoa Bay. He died on 22 August 1876 at the age of 22...
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W.A. Campbell

Council member W.A. Campbell, who once owned the Mala Mala farm on the Game Reserve border donated an amount of R300-00 for a rest cottage in 1929...
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William Lloyd

Satara was so remote in 1920 it could only be reached on foot or horse back. William Lloyd, Ranger at Satara, his young wife, and three small children lived there in complete isolation. Lloyd succumbed to pneumonia, and died shortly thereafter...
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