Skukuza

The Capital of Kruger Park

©Roger de la Harpe
View of the deck and Sabi River at Skukuza Camp.
©Roger de la Harpe
Goliath heron (Ardea goliath) on Lake Panic, Skukuza.
©Roger de la Harpe
The reception centre at Skukuza Camp.

Skukuza is the largest of all the camps in the Kruger National Park, and is also the administrative headquarters. It is named after the Zulu word 'sikhukhuza', meaning 'the person who turned everything upside down', the nickname given to the Sabie Game Reserve’s first warden, Colonel James Stevenson-Hamilton. 

Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton earned his reputation because of the many people he removed from the park and the changes he made after he became warden in 1902, specifically his efforts to stop poaching in the park. In 1909, he moved the headquarters of the old Sabie Game Reserve from the Crocodile River to a new site on the banks of the Sabie River, known as Sabie Bridge. This was later renamed Skukuza in 1936. In the 1920s, Colonel Stevenson-Hamilton based himself at an old blockhouse and helped build Skukuza into the thriving camp it is today. 

Skukuza offers a myriad of facilities, including a post office, petrol station, museum, curio shop and a golf course among others. The camp is spacious, well equipped and there are some lofty trees along the river's edge. Activities and facilities are as abundant as the animals and plants found within the camp and in the surrounding areas. Of interest in the rest camp is the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library where the skin of a lion, killed with a knife by the legendary game ranger Harry Wolhuter in 1904, can be seen. Visitors can also see the locomotive used on the historic Selati railway line, the bridge over the Sabie River and a section of the Selati line. 

Skukuza lies in an area with a rich diversity of game, including big cats, wild dog, elephant, buffalo, kudu and giraffe, and is probably the most popular of the Kruger Park camps, which receives hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.