A Brief History of the Kruger National Park

  • The park was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. He first proposed the need to protect the animals of the Lowveld in 1884, but his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realised when the area between the Sabie and Crocodile Rivers was set aside for restricted hunting.


  • James Stevenson-Hamilton (b. 1867) was appointed the park’s first warden on 1 July 1902 and many accounts of the park’s early days can be found in the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library in Skukuza.
  • On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves into the Kruger National Park.
  • The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound.
  • There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites.
  • There is ample evidence that prehistoric man (Homo erectus) roamed the area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago.
  • Cultural Stone Age artifacts have been found for the period 100,000 to 30,000 years ago.
  • More than 300 archaeological sites of Stone Age man have been found.
  • Evidence of Bushman Folk (San) and Iron Age people from about 1,500 years ago is in great evidence, with numerous examples of San Art scattered throughout the park.
  • There are also many historical tales of the presence of Nguni people and European explorers and settlers in the Kruger area.
  • There are significant archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini.


Source: SANParks