History of James Stevenson-Hamilton

History of James Stevenson-Hamilton

About James Stevenson-Hamilton

Stevenson-Hamilton was born on the 2nd of October 1867 in Scotland and was the oldest of nine siblings. Hamilton arrived in South Africa for the first time in 1888 as a member of the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons.

He saw wildlife for the first time near the Umfolori Rivers and fell in love with Africa. Unfortunately, he returned to England and spent several years there and returned to South Africa where he was actively on-duty during the second Anglo Boer War. At the end of the South African War, Stevenson-Hamilton got promoted to Major and later to Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton.

Hamilton was also appointed warden of the Sabie Game Reserve; a loosely defined piece of land between the Sabie River in the North, the Crocodile River in the South, the foothills of the Drakensberg in the West and the Lebombo Mountains in the East that was proclaimed a game sanctuary by President Paul Kruger of the (then still independent) Zuid-Afrikaanse Republiek, some months before hostilities broke out with the British.

Stevenson-Hamilton was unsure about what was expected of him and what his exact duties were. His superior, Sir Godfrey Lagden, told Stevenson-Hamilton to become disagreeable with everyone and keep an eye on things. Stevenson-Hamilton took his job seriously, he even came across two police officers (who had the poaching game) and Hamilton arrested & convicted the officers. This incident earned him quite a reputation.

James Stevenson Hamilton

He stayed at Crocodile Bridge several months after he moved to Sabie Bridge where he had his headquarters.

The local Shangaan population goes acquainted with Stevenson-Hamilton and soon gave him the nickname “Skukuza“, meaning “he who sweeps clean” or “he who turns everything upside down“. Against considerable odds, piled up against him from politicians, mining houses and wealthy landowners, the plucky Scotsman managed to considerably enlarge the area under his jurisdiction, expand his powers of law enforcement, and won considerable support from the South African public, culminating in the proclamation of the Kruger National Park by Minister of Lands, Piet Grobler, on the 31st of May 1926.

It was only in 1927 when the Kruger National Park opened its door to the public at a fee of £1 per car. Only a handful of cars visited the new Park that year, but in 1935, some 26,000 people passed through the gates. Today, the number is around one million per year.

In 1936, the camp at Sabie Bridge/Reserve was renamed to Skukuza, in honour of Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton, and then still firmly at the helm of the National Park, he was referred to as a “Cinderella” in his memoirs – South African Eden. Stevenson-Hamilton retired from the position of Warden in April of 1946, at the age of 78 and after 44 years of dedicated service, leaving an enduring legacy enjoyed by millions of people from all over the world to this day. He passed away on the December 10th 1957, aged 90. After the death of his wife Hilda, the couple’s ashes were strewn over the boulders at Shirimantanga, to the south of Skukuza at a place Stevenson-Hamilton chose himself, in April 1979. Today, Shirimantanga is a popular, if sombre, place to visit for many of the Kruger’s faithful visitors.

The James Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library

Skukuza is the biggest and most famous camp in the whole Kruger National Park. It almost resembles the capital of Kruger Park. When you visit Skukuza, you can make your way to the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library. The library houses a fine collection of ecologically orientated books, paintings, and memorabilia.

Visit the James Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Site

The James Stevenson-Hamilton memorial site can be found just North of the S112. This memorial site honors the Park’s first warden. He was not a perfect man, but he was a very effective one, and he almost always got his way – which was a good thing for Kruger, because the one thing “Skukuza” was passionate about, was the success and the future of this beautiful park.

His and his wife’s ashes were scattered near the Shirimantaga Hill. And huge natural granite boulders are the only gravestone he needs.

James Stevenson-Hamilton
James Stevenson-Hamilton

YES! We offer affordable Kruger National Park safaris

Our rates include the following:

  • Transfers from a pre-arranged pick-up location to Kruger National Park and back (this can be at your accommodation where you are staying, depending on the location). This includes Nelspruit | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport | White River | Hazyview | Malelane | Komatipoort and Marloth Park

  • Full Day safari with a luxury open safari vehicle

  • An accredited & professional Field Guide doubling as the driver of the vehicle on the day of safari

  • A snack box per person consisting of various treats to munch on during the day of the safari

  • +- 8 Hours of sheer “entertainment” in the world-famous Kruger National Park (excludes travel time outside the park)

  • Assistance with Kruger National Park entrance/conservation fee payments, paperwork and permits

  • The use of high-quality, waterproof ponchos on-board the vehicle when needed

Please note:

Our area of operation covers Nelspruit and surrounding areas, White River | Malelane | Hazyview | Komatipoort | Marloth Park | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport.

Please contact us if your accommodation falls outside of our area of operation.

We also conduct safari tours in the North of Kruger upon request and need. You also have the option to hire the safari vehicle privately, email us to find out more. Additionally, you have the option to add your Kruger entrance/conservation fees when you make your booking so you don’t have to go to the office on the morning of the safari to make payment for entrance fees.


Fantastic experience

We really enjoyed our safari with Liz and the web photographer. They pointed out many sightings which we would never have seen on our own. We saw 3 leopards, many elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos and different types of antelopes and birds.
They provided binoculars which helped a lot, especially when observing the leopards in the reed!
The service is top: on time, friendly, very informative and you get a feeling how much they enjoy “going the extra mile” for the customer. They tried to keep ahead of the crowd and do not enter thru Numbi gate which is usually very crowded. Its great the park fee is included in the price because then you do not need to queue at the entrance like in the case of some of the other operators. We will definitely recommend you!

dorischristina2015, TripAdvisor
Emocional experience

When we thought about that trip, my wife, my stepson, our friend and I ,had never imagined how amazing could be , and how deep can touch us. From the first moment when we founded Lizelle, our guide at the Malelane door, the magic begins to happen.She was so unreal in some way, that my wife said ( in Portuguese,) she seems to be a caracter from a movie!, We had very good luck , and in just 2 full days, 20 hours total, we could see the real big five, including black rhino and leopard, and many many other species, of course. Lizelle was so nice, so professional and so dedicated that we are recommended to our friends around the World to do the same program.. .. we will repeat it for sure. There is not words, not video or pictures, that can transmit this experience, .. believe me, after you live it you will understand it .

FellowTraveler507918, TripAdvisor
Great services! Amazing commments

The guide was very friendly and helpful!
She really knew the way around the park and we were able to see a big variety of animals

344hama, TripAdvisor
Super accommodating and informative.
Liz was super patient in making sure we get the morning bush walk and night drive within limited dates. They know lots about every animal we saw. I love that they provide parkas for their guests because it gets super chilly as the truck moves. Their truck is clean and not loud like other trucks which tend to scare the animals away.
Zzame Em, Google Review
Leading Safari Company

Lion Roar Safaris offers safaris in Kruger Park. In an excellent car and with professional equipment we discovered in a small groupe the big 5. The guide was an expert and is very customer oriented.

DutchAdventurer, TripAdvisor
Spectacular day in the Mighty Kruger!

Even if the weather was cold during the day, the spectacular sightings we had made up for it all. Luckily this company is not one of those that rush from one big sighting to another but rather take it at a slower pace and therefore not miss even the small things like some bird species and trees and plants, lizards and much more.
Oh and I am so glad their Photographer was also on board with her very sharp eye sight. She spotted plenty of animals where the rest of us missed them…especially that Cheetah! And she took the most beautiful pictures (and some short videos clips) of all our sightings that day. We were surely one lucky group of people seeing all those magnificent wildlife, especially the Elephant Calves, Wild Dogs as well as Hyena Pups!
Oh and let’s not forget the snack bags that was packed for us!!
The Guide was very informative and interactive with our group. Evidently her kindness and helpfulness is not only restricted to the time a guest is on her vehicle still busy on the Tour but even helping when one of our group members was staying over at a place in the Kruger Park, she assisted him from booking in at the camp to taking him to where he would be staying, to briefly showing him around on what is where and available to him in the camp. And this all took merely a few minutes.
I would definitely be recommending Lion Roar Safaris.

Grifinne, TripAdvisor

Best experience ever!

Lizelle was very informative and made sure we had the best views of all the animals!

Johan , Google Review
Amazing experience

Staff is professional and on time.
We saw a lot of animals like lions cheetah hyenas rhinos elephants hyppos and many others.
Really an amazing day!! Thank you!

valeva2019, TripAdvisor

Some of the services Lion Roar Safaris Offer…

Upmarket Luxury Safaris  I  Tailored Safaris  I  Professional Personal Holiday Photographer   I  Hire a Professional Field Guide  I  Hire a Private Safari Vehicle   I   Accommodation in and around Kruger   I  Photographic Safaris   I   Safari catering – picnic lunches, dinners and BBQ’s and more…

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