The office of SANParks, Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda has been inundated with scores of reports on the bad behavior of tourists, mainly day visitors, in the Kruger National Park (KNP) over the festive season. While this is not a new phenomenon the scale at which these incidents are growing has reached intolerable levels.
As stewards of this wonderful heritage on behalf of our nation, we can no longer allow the rot to continue. The issues include the following:
- Bringing in excessive amounts of alcohol leading to unprecedented levels of drunkenness among day visitors hence high noise levels and flaring tempers in public places
- Blaring music from car stereos with vehicles parking anywhere and occupants getting out of their cars to dance to the music, beer cans or bottles in hand;
- Visitors drinking while swimming in public pools, in their underwear or in their ‘birthday suits’ with little or no consideration for public decency
- Excessive littering on the picnic spots and the park’s roads
- Speeding for the gate after overstaying the day’s visit thus causing accidents and road kills
- Day visitors will no longer be allowed to bring alcohol through the park’s gates and to public places like picnic spots in line with rules and legislation governing public places.
- Overnight visitors will also not be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages in designated public places except in the privacy of their chalets;
- As from the next long weekend, Easter Holidays, a “park and ride” system on Open Safari vehicles or similar motor transport will be introduced for day visitors at all gates to reduce traffic congestion and prevent day visitors from playing music from their car stereos.
- Special parking areas for vehicles will be dermacated and the “hop and ride” will take day visitors either on a game viewing ride or directly to the recreational/picnic spots for a braai and relaxation;
- A reasonable fee will be levied for the park and ride as part of the daily entrance fee or in addition to the wild card if a visitor has one.
- A booking system for day visitors will be enforced to match numbers with available transport on the park and ride system.
- Visitor monitoring at picnic spots and other public places during major holiday periods and long weekends will be stepped up to improve behavior.
- A massive public education programme through local and national radio stations and newspapers will be undertaken to educate the public on expected behavior in a national park.
We hope the interventions will bring the desired peace and tranquility that nature lovers pay for with hard earned money in these difficult times to afford a visit to a national park. It is unfortunate that we have to implement draconian measures for something that people should have voluntary implemented in a spirit of ubuntu and our normal human values of self respect and respect for others as SANParks will not tolerate the festering of moral decay. [issued by SANParks 21 Jan 2011]