In 1836, while exploring Basutoland, two French missionaries, Mons. Arbrousset and Daumas first discovered Mont-Aux-Sources, the sources of the Rivers. In 1908 the idea of establishing a National Park in this area was conceived, and the territory was explored by Senator Frank Churchill, General Wylie, Colonel Dick and Mr. W. O. Conventry. Recommendation were put forward, but it was not until 1916 that the Secretary of Lands authorised the reservation of five farms, and certain Crown Lands totalling approximately 8160 acres and entrusted it to the Executive Committee of the Natal Province.

On the 16 September 1916 the National Park came into being. An advisory committee was appointed to control the Park. Shortly afterwards the Natal Provincial Administration purchased the farm ‘Goodoo’, upon which a hostel had already been opened in 1913, and incorporated a small portion of the Upper Tugela Native Trust Land, thus swelling the National Park to its present 20 000 acres. The Advisory Committee was abolished in January 1942, and the Park was administered by the Provincial Council until the formation of the Natal Parks, Game and Fish Prevention Board on the 22 December 1947.

Mr. F. O. Williams held the first hostel lease rights on the farm Goodoo which he obtained from Mr. W. O. Coventry, the original owner. Mr. Coventry became Lessee of the whole park in 1919, and took over the post of Park Superintendent in August 1924 at the grand salary of five pounds per month. In 1926 he was succeeded by Otto and Walter Zunkel, who each added their share of buildings and improvements. Mr. Alan Short was the next Superintendent, and was in charge when the Royal Family visited the Park in May 1947, as a result of which its name changed to ‘Royal Natal National Park’.

Today, the Royal Natal National Park is managed by KZN Wildlife, the provincial conservation body of KwaZulu-Natal.

3 thoughts on “History of Royal Natal National Park

  1. thank you so very much for wonderful articles. I love the Cavern and the Drakensberg so i have had a wonderful time reading with grateful thanks from Di

  2. As a boy of 13 my family camped at Mt Aux Sources national park, hiked in the mountains, some of us rode horses. Enjoyed the Eland that wandered through the place.MY MEMORY IS THAT THEY HAD A SLUICE THAT BROUGHT WATER FROM THE RIVER AND TURNED A GENERATOR. BUT MY SISTER BEATRICE SAYS THAT WHEN SHE PLAYED THE PIANO IN THE HOTEL, IT HAD A CANDLE FOR LIGHT. who is correct? If you have knowledge of a hydro-electric system comment below

  3. Hi Howard,

    The Cavern had a pelton wheel, which generated electricity for lights between 1941 and 1954

    More here

    Whether Royal Natal had something similar I don’t know.

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