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Brief History

In 1910 the Game Reserves and general wildlife preservation were placed under the Transvaal Administration.

At this stage Stevenson-Hamilton was very optimistic about the future of the reserves and conservation. He had managed to convince landowners to oversee the land between the Sabie- and Olifants rivers, as well as between the Letaba- en Shingwedzi rivers. In 1912 he submitted a proposal to Sir Patrick Duncan that the reserves should become a national park. This idea was well accepted and was also supported by the Wildlife Society of Southern Africa.

  • In 1923 Col Deneys Reitz MP visited the Sabie Game Reserve, was very impressed and used his influence to lobby the idea of a national park. He drafted the bill on national parks, but due to the elections and change in government, the bill was not passed.
  • Minister Piet Grobler, the Minister of Lands, once again tabled the bill in parliament. At long last the memorable day dawned and it was on 31 May 1926, that Minister Grobler moved the National Parks Bill in Parliament. He presented it as a realisation of President Kruger’s ideal. Despite opposition, the National Parks Act, Act No. 56 of 1926, was promulgated on this day, finally turning a vision into a reality and the first board of South African National Parks was appointed.
  • The stylised face of a kudu with its magnificent, curved horns was adopted as the face of South African National Parks. First appearing in 1955, it has undergone many improvements over the years. This logo was considered secondary to those of the individual parks, however, now the Kudu is the predominant logo used to represent all parks within the SANParks framework.

South African National Parks (SANParks) is the leading conservation authority in all national parks around this country, responsible for 3 751 113 hectares of protected land in 20 national parks. The focus for SANParks in the first decade of democracy has been to make national parks more accessible to tourists in order to ensure conservation remains a viable contributor to social and economic development in rural areas.

With the changed structure of the country after 1994, and with majority rule, the then National Parks Board re-conceptualised its role in South African society. SANParks, supported by the government through the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has also increased the area of land under its protection by 360 000 hectares in this time.

The organisation has managed to transform itself, continue its high research and management standards, expand the land under its protection at an entirely unprecedented rate and has also begun to generate 75% of its operating revenue – a spectacular financial achievement compared to most conservation agencies in the world, including those in developed countries.

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