THE HISTORY OF ELEPHANT PLAINS
Elephant Plains Game Lodge is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve
which forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve was set up in the
1950's by a group of private landowners who dropped the
fences between their properties in order to create a
larger area for the animals to roam freely. The reserve
is named after its two main rivers, the Sabi and Sand
Rivers, which both flow to the south of
Elephant Plains Game Lodge. In 1993 the
fences between the Kruger National Park and the
Sabi Sand Game Reserve were dropped to allow the
animals an even bigger traversing area. Currently the
Kruger National Park encompasses an area of around
2.2 million hectares.
The Steyn family used to own the Seville property, a
farm just outside the village of Utah on the way to the
Orpen gate. In the early sixties this land was reclaimed
by the government and along with many other neighbouring
properties it became trust land. The reclamation led to
the creation of the Manyeleti Game Reserve,
situated just to the north of the Sabi Sand Game
Koot Steyn, his son, Dries Steyn and a third partner,
Jannie Wilkens then bought the farm, Arathusa
from Mr Tresford in 1962. At that time the only
buildings on the property were the old main building and
two rondavels, currently Rooms 2 and 3. More rondavels
(Rooms 1, 4 & 5) were added and the camp was used as a
holiday place for family & friends.
The infamous Harry Kirkman became warden of the Sabi
Sand Game Reserve in 1958 and frequently visited the
farm. After having captivated friends with his
incredible wildlife stories around the campfire, he
would always sleep on the porch of Room 2, despite a
ready-made bed indoors.
Koot Steyn passed on and the northern section of the
property was sold to the then German Ambassador for
South Africa, Mr Jackel. It has since been re-sold.
Jannie Wilkens's southern section was sold to Mr