Stevenson-Hamilton hill & memorial in Southern Region, Kruger National Park, Limpopo
The Stevenson-Hamilton Hill is a conglomerate of huge granite boulders over which the ashes of The Colonel’ and his wife Hilda, were strewn.
From the parking area you walk around a particularly impressive rock against which a memorial plaque is fixed . On the other side you are greeted by a magnificent view over the entire southern Kruger. Far to the southwest you can even see the well-known landmark, Legogote Mountain, in the direction of the town of White River. It’s a impressive scene and one where you will want to linger longer to enjoy the atmosphere.
Stevenson-Hamilton was dubbed “Skukuza” by the Tsonga Shangaans who lived on the reserve, meaning ‘the man who has turned everything upside down’ or ‘the man who swept clean’.
This refers to his efforts towards eliminating poaching in the reserve and may also refer to the Tsonga peoples attitude towards him after he had evicted them out of what had been their territory.
Sabie Bridge’s name was changed to Skukuza, the main camp in the park, in honour of him. Yet after his death “the old men of the kraals, some of whom he had sent to prison for poaching, said, ‘A great man has gone’”.
A bronze statue, created by the artist Phil Minnaar can be seen in Skukuza depicting Paul Kruger, Piet Grobler and Stevenson-Hamilton, the founding fathers of the park.
The Stevenson-Hamilton library is also situated in Skukuza camp. His legacy also contains a series of books of which he was the author, namely: A South African Eden (1937) Animal Life in Africa (1912) The Low-Veld; Its Wildlife and its People (1929) Wildlife in South Africa (1947)
Yet perhaps the greatest legacy of James Stevenson-Hamilton cannot be depicted on paper. It can only be experienced on that piece of land they call the Kruger. His true legacy lies in the species the Kruger National Park has saved, the safety of the animals there against poaching, the enjoyment of the visitors and the natural beauty that he helped save.
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