Vintage Kruger National Park

The mighty Kruger National Park was first proclaimed as the ‘Sabie Game Reserve’ in 1898 by the president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger. Although he first proposed the need to protect the Lowveld animals in 1884, his revolutionary vision took another 12 years to be realized. Only in 1916 with the appointment of the Game Reserves Commission was the possibility of tourism raised for the first time, then on 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was announced, 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.

In 1928 the provision of amenities for tourists commenced with the construction of the first ‘rest huts’, which were built at Satara, Pretoriuskop and Skukuza (then still known as Reserve or Sabie Bridge), but it was only in 1939 that the luxury of hot water was installed, on condition that gents were only entitled to hot and cold showers, and that hot bathing water for ladies was only available daily between 5 and 9pm.

From such humble beginnings, today the Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa. A wildlife sanctuary like no other, it is considered the crown jewel of the country’s national parks, and is rated as the ultimate safari experience.
Take a look at early memories of the Kruger National Park, then visit the Kruger Park Mpumalanga Game Reserve Accommodation page to see accommodation options on offer.

kruger 1931

Kruger National Park 1931 – Photo via

In the early years of the Kruger National Park there was limited accommodation in the form of rondavels, and so camping played a major role. As early as 1931, only five years after the proclamation of the park in 1926, the board acquired the first six ‘cottage tents’ for Satara and Skukuza. Purchases rapidly increased, and by the mid-1930’s several hundred tents were in use in the larger rest camps, such as Pretoriuskop, Skukuza, Satara and Letaba. Many tourists also pitched their own tents, and the congenial atmosphere created by campers and open fires provided a very special experience for early visitors.

Info via

kruger 1930's

Kruger National Park 1930’s – Photo via

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