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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Posts: 14136
Location: Pretoria, RSA
Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:15 pm Unread post
You may also be interested in: Kruger Memories Calender
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 10:00 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Durbs-by-the-sea
Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:01 pm Unread post
If I may add my 2c-worth:

Stevenson-Hamilton Library was at least largely funded by the Wild Life Society (now WESSA), and is mentioned a few times in African Wild Life. The first mention I found in a very quick scan of my set is in the annual report on co-operation between WESSA and the Parks Board (now SANParks) for 1959 (African Wild Life 13: 181, 1959, which mentions only plans and fundraising. There is a picture of the almost-completed building and an appeal for books at 15: 5, 1961. (As a result of reading this, I placed a copy of my book SAPPI Tree Spotting: What's in a Name? in the Library when I visited Skukuza last, in July 2010, as a very late donation in honour of WESSA, libraries, trees and Our Favourite Place.) There are pictures of the opening ceremony atAfrican Wild Life 15: 269--270, 1961.

Don't know about anybody else, but I love re-reading these old 8vo-size magazines; to me they are a valuable archive of the history of conservation in Africa. Sadly, I regret to say that the more recent A4 ones aren't nearly as worthwhile to me, and this explains why although the small ones are all bound and treasured, I gave up binding the large-size ones after the first 2 volumes (and now seldom bother even to read them).

No doubt this is all old news to Joep, but it may be interesting to lesser lights like me.


Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 4:52 pm
Posts: 2370
Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:51 am Unread post
Royal family visits to the Kruger National Park.

The members of the Greek Royal family visited the Kruger National Park for three days during July 1941. The peaceful scenes were balm to their souls as they had escaped from Crete only six weeks earlier after occupation by the German Forces.

Their first day in the Park at Pretoriuskop was all but peaceful as a large crowd of tourists mobbed the party, taking photographs and collecting autographs, the king George of the Hellenes remarked that he felt like a bear in zoo, the only difference was that he was not offered a bun.

The following day a large group awaited the party at Skukuza, King George appeared in a pair of khaki shorts and a brown pullover – resulting in not much notice being taken of him – this was in contrast to Col. Baston the head of the Transvaal SAP whose imposing figure was in full dress uniform . . .

The 74 year old Warden of the Park, Col. Stevenson-Hamilton accompanied the King of Greece on the last day of their visit after they had “lost” the rest of their entourage and spent a very enjoyable day on the dusty roads. Upon their return to Skukuza they were met by a very uneasy and concerned Col. Baston.

The party slept in the White train, much time4 was spent around the camp fires singing songs. Eventually when the party had to depart under the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” and the sounding of the engines whistle the Greek monarch parted requesting the Warden to capture and hide him behind some bushes until the train was gone.

The British Royal family consisting of King George IV, the Queen Elizabeth and the two princess Elizabeth and Margaret spent two months in South Africa as guests of Genl. Jan Smuts the then Prime Minister, who invited them invited to come and relax in our country after the stress of WWII.

They arrived in Cape Town on 17 February 1947 on the HMS Vanguard. They travelled 16000 kms during their visit which lasted until 29 April 1947. Most of their travelling was done in the White Train.

The Prime Minister was the host for most of the time. Due to poor health Mrs. Issy Smuts could not accompany the group. The then Administrator of the Transvaal Genl. JJ Pienaar was responsible for much planning of their visit in the Transvaal, which included a visit to the KNP and the Transvaal Lowveld.

The party visited the Kruger National Park end March 1947, travelling and staying in the White Train which was parked at the Huhla halt (one km. north of Skukuza) just north of Sabie Bridge.

Huhla – corruption of the Tsonga word “nhutlwa” - (giraffe). This halt became redundant with the building of the new line between Newington and Kaapmuiden during the 1970s.

The Royal Family stayed in the train while other members of the group were accommodated in six new guesthouses on the southern banks of the Sabie River.

Col. JHB Sandenbergh the newly appointed Warden of the Park thought it better if his predecessor, the now retired Col. James Stevenson-Hamilton would be their guide.

Col. Stevenson-Hamilton returned to Skukuza for the few days of the duration of the Royal visit, needless to say, it was a very enjoyable and informative time for the Royal Family.


Senior Virtual Ranger
Joined: Mon Nov 30, 2009 9:21 am
Posts: 3704
Location: SA
Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:58 am Unread post
I was told that the Struben Historical Cottage has been renovated and that it is available for booking again by visitors going to Kruger – thanks Sanparks for the effort to preserve Kruger’s history :thumbs_up: .

Does anyone know whether this Cottage has been renovated from a historical perspective or is it a new (modern) cottage altogether? This question is because I find the Kruger history very interesting.


Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 8:50 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Back at work... Don't you just love hospitality...
Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:22 pm Unread post


Been up to Skukuza 3 times this year so far, and see the Stevenson Hamilton museum is still not open. Any idea when it will be reopened?


Legendary Virtual Ranger
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:05 am
Posts: 6271
Location: Back home in the caravan at Malelane camp, KNP
Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:34 pm Unread post
I do know there was a problem with some of the panels of the new display needing to be redone. This may be delaying things.


Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 4:36 pm
Posts: 210
Location: London, but from Blaauwberg
Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:11 pm Unread post
This kind of informative thread is what the Sanparks Forum is all about. :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Hopefully the library will be open by the time I visit Skukuza on 17 &18 December.

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