History of the Kruger National Park – Part Two

Welcome back to our history of Kruger series, today we focus of what entailed in the Kruger between the year of 1928 to 1950.

In our last post we left off where the board decided to add facilities to boost tourism.

The 3 first huts were built at Skukuza, Pretoriuskop and Satara in 1928, all the huts came with a carport.

History of the Kruger National Park - Part Two

In 1929 there was a lot of construction at the Kruger, because two extra rondavels were erected in certain camps such as Skukuza. Pretoriuskop already had four rondavels, there was fifteeen at Satara, twelve at Letaba, six at Balule, four at Malelane and one at Olifant. At Lower Sabie  a five bedroom guesthouse which served as the quarters for a ranger, was made available for tourists.

History of the Kruger National Park - Part Two
Letaba Rest Camp © bushboundgirl.com

At the time all the huts looked similar to the one which are still present at Balule, the huts had a gap between the thatch roof and the wall, and were windowless, they also had a small hole by the door, this was used to see if there was any animals outside, because the camps were unfenced at the time.

History of the Kruger National Park - Part Two
Balule Hut

Tourists weren’t fond of these huts, they complained of being cold in the winter, and not being comfortable with people being able to peep through the small hole, this also provided access to mosquitoes, in 1931 all huts were updated to have windows and the doors were changed.

Between the years of 1931 and 1932 huts were added to Crocodile Bridge, Panda Maria, and Shingwedzi. In 1932 the first ablution blocks with four baths and four cubicles was built in Skukuza, keep in mind that hot water was not available until 1933, even then you had to pay 10 cents per bath.

In the same year of 1932 all rest camps were fenced for the first time. The last two rest camps to be opened to tourists before 1946 were Lower Sable and Pafuri, the guest house at Lower Sable was demolished and in its place, three units with six bedrooms each were built.

History of the Kruger National Park - Part Two
Aerial view of Lower Sabie

In these years the board would make money by renting out the huts for 10c per person per night and they would charge extra for some items, for example to rent a mattress was 5c a night, blanket and pillows cost 2,5c per night.

It was only in 1939 that all camps had hot water, and it was on condition that only men were entitled to hot and cold showers, while hot water was only available to ladies between 17:00-21:00.

Due to the long journey between the camps in 1930 it was decided to add petrol stations at Satara and Letaba, the Board thought that the rest of the camps were near enough to petrol stations outside the park. Petrol was sold 6c per liter (weren’t does the good old day😉).

History of the Kruger National Park - Part Two

Be on the lookout for part three in this series.

if you haven’t read part one you can read it here.

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