When James Stevenson-Hamilton became the very first Warden of the now Kruger National Park, it was known as the Sabie Game Reserve and Skukuza Rest Camp was called the Sabie Bridge Camp. It was only in 1936 that the rest camp was renamed Skukuza in his honour, a name that was given to him by his staff which is a Shangaan name meaning “he who sweeps clean” or he who turns everything upside down”. The name was given in reference to him removing the local people to make way for the Park.
It was also Stevenson-Hamilton’s job to stop poaching and to ensure the then wild, and smaller, Park became a safe place for native animals from hunting as well as a tourist attraction in order to raise money to maintain and improve the Park. He began training rangers and the park was opened to the public in 1927 where visitors were charged £1 to enter.
The Stevenson-Hamilton library and knowledge centre was opened on 14 October 1961 and holds many fascinating artefacts, books and valuable documents depicting much of his story and that of the Parks. One of the most renowned artefacts would be the knife which belonged to the ranger Harry Wolhuter who used only this knife to kill a lion in order to save his own life.
Besides offering a wealth of knowledge, an added bonus is the small “Heroes’ Acre” just out front of the museum. Here loyal pets who served their masters and aided in protecting the Park are remembered. Some died of old age and some in the line of duty and commemorative stones disply names such as Lappies, Spotty, Percy and Tessa, a small reminder of the part they played in the history of the Park.
The small museum and well stocked library is also a welcome and comfy way to escape the heat and humidity during the summer months in the Park.
There is no entrance fee charged to visit the Museum however, there is a charge to enter the Park. See Kruger National Park.
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