Lion Sands Sabi Sand is one of the oldest and most successful private reserves in South Africa. The history of today's Sabi Sand Reserve as a formal association dates back to 1948 when the landowners formed the private nature reserve. Credit for the association, however, should go to the original pioneers of the reserve in the late 1920's and early 1930's.
Of these pioneers, no less than six of their families are now third and fourth generation owners of the land - a credit to the foresight of their forefathers who loved and respected Africa's flora and fauna.
The Sabie Reserve was proclaimed in 1898 and incorporated what is today both the Sabi Sand and the Kruger National Park. However, in 1926 the National Parks Act of South Africa was passed and many private landowners were excised from the Sabie Reserve. They in turn formed the Sabi Private Game Reserve
in 1934 - a forerunner to the Sabi Sand.
It was in 1926 that the first tourists were allowed into the Kruger National Park - the birth of sustainable wildlife tourism that is the recipe for conservation in Africa today.
In 1961 and as a result of the threat of foot and mouth disease and the continued hunting on adjacent private land, fences were erected between the Sabi Sand and the Kruger National Park. The Sabi Sand also fenced their perimeter to the west to prevent the movement of game from the area. In 1993, however, after much discussion between the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand, the fences between the two reserves once again came down and animals soon migrated between the park and the private reserves to the west. The Sabi Sand now forms part of the greater Kruger National Park wildlife enclave and its immense wildlife gene pool.
Lion Sands Kruger National Park is a private concession within the boundaries of the Kruger National Park and therefore shares in its history. Kruger, as it is fondly referred to, was first proclaimed in 1898 as the Sabie Game Reserve by the then president of the Transvaal Republic, Paul Kruger.
Major James Stevenson-Hamilton (b. 1867) was appointed the park’s first warden on 1st July 1902 and many accounts of the park’s early days can be found in the Stevenson-Hamilton Memorial Library at Skukuza Restcamp which can be visited when staying at Tinga.
On 31 May 1926 the National Parks Act was proclaimed and with it the merging of the Sabie and Shingwedzi Game Reserves, forming a single reserve which was named, the Kruger National Park. The first motorists entered the park in 1927 for a fee of one pound, a little different to what we pay in 2011, 84 years on.
There are almost 254 known cultural heritage sites in the Kruger National Park, including nearly 130 recorded rock art sites. There is ample evidence that prehistoric man (Homo erectus) roamed the area between 500,000 and 100,000 years ago. Cultural Stone Age artefacts have been found for the period 100,000 to 30,000 years ago. More than 300 archaeological sites of Stone Age man have been found. Evidence of Bushman Folk (San) and Iron Age people from about 1,500 years ago is in great evidence, with numerous examples of San Art scattered throughout the park.There are also many historical tales of the presence of Nguni people and European explorers and settlers in the Kruger area. There are significant archaeological ruins at Thulamela and Masorini which again can be visited when staying at Tinga.
The more recent history of the private concession of Tinga who’s technical name is the Jackelbessie concession starts in 1994. On the 8th of April 1994 the four leaders who lead South Africa into a democracy Nelson Mandela, FW de Klerk, Mangasutu Bhutelezi and King Goodwill Zwelentini had one of their final meetings to decide the future of South Africa in the shade of t
he Jackelbessie tree which is located in front of Tinga Legends lodge.
The concession comprises of 5000 hectares / 12,300 acres in the most abundant game viewing areas of Kruger and boasts the highest leopard density in Africa. The concession is also home to a large population of the endangered black rhino and is the nesting site of the rare southern ground hornbill and saddle billed stork.
The concession covers 30 km / 18.6 miles of river frontage of the Sabie river and approximately 14 km / 8.6 miles of the Sand river and is home to a very large selection of fauna and flora. The concession falls under the conservation management of the Kruger National Park and this guarantees unsurpassed game viewing in a pristine natural environment.