Officials Will Have A Zero Tolerance Approach This Festive Season
Kruger rangers, protection services personnel and traffic officials of the Kruger National Park (KNP) will be on high alert this festive season and will have a zero tolerance approach to anyone found breaking the rules. "We don't mean to scare anyone away from enjoying their holiday in the Kruger, but we do get repeated requests from our law abiding guests that their holidays are spoiled by those who feel the rules don't apply to them. So we appeal to all visitors to maintain the rules and regulations of the park so that everyone can enjoy their holiday," said Kruger National Park Executive Director, Dr Bandile Mkhize.
One of the major regulations that are often ignored in the park is late driving. "In this case, we plead with people to plan their journey in the KNP properly and allow plenty of time to get to their destination, especially if they are travelling long distances," Dr Mkhize added.
Visitors who arrive at the camp or entrance gates late can expect to be fined up to R1 000, depending on how late they are. From November to February, KNP gates close at 18h30 and anyone arriving at the gate later than that time will be fined. Key to planning a journey in Kruger properly is taking cognisance of the speed limits and allowing time to view game properly.
"Our traffic officials are going to show no mercy with people who break the KNP's speed limits, which are 50 km/h on tar roads and 40 km/h on gravel roads," Dr Mkhize added. But by far the most prevalent problem this year has been the amount of cases where people have either alighted or protruded out of their vehicles, which is not only against the regulations, but also makes for unpleasant game viewing by others. "Animals have learnt to accept the shape of motor vehicles as something that they are not afraid of. This is why animals will often get quite close to motor vehicles without any sign of stress or concern.
But as soon as the shape of the motor vehicle is broken by someone protruding above the roofline, the animals will probably run away. This obviously spoils the experience for everyone else at that particular game sighting so anyone caught protruding or alighting can be given a fine of up to R1 500, depending on the seriousness of the situation," says Raymond Travers, spokesperson for the park.
Pollution in various forms is also of major concern to the park management. "Serious fines will be dealt out to anyone who contravenes any of the KNP's rules regarding littering or playing sound systems loudly." "People come to the KNP to experience the peace and quiet and beauty of the Kruger National Park and we call this experience a sense of place.
Both litter and loud human made noises interfere with this ideal which is the reason why our security personnel have been asked to look out for these and issue heavy fines against anyone contravening this basic requirement of a national park," concluded Dr Mkhize.
The rules and regulations of the park have been specially printed on leaflets handed out at the gates, and are also displayed on the permit leaflet, as well as on brown boards displayed at all entrance and camp gates. "Guests who observe people disobeying the rules and regulations of the park are invited to report their observations to the KNP Emergency Call Centre on 013 735 4325," invites Travers.
"Visitors to the Kruger National Park submit photographic evidence of perpetrators disobeying the rules and regulations to management every year and these play an important role – firstly, rule breakers will never know where and when they are being photographed and secondly, it gives an opportunity to build awareness to the rules and regulations,"says Raymond Travers, spokesperson for the Park. Below are some examples that were sent by the Park:
"Many game reserves elsewhere in Africa allow guests to protrude through sunroofs. In Kruger, this is not allowed as it changes the shape of the vehicle and often scares the animals away, thus spoiling the experience for others."
"The couple seen with the white sedan are actually in extreme danger. They are all ooking to the left of the road and a predator like a lion could be stalking them from the right."
"This photograph was actually taken by a KNP official (unfortunately not a law enforcement official), who was verbally abused by the people in the black bakkie after he did his duty and informed them of the rules and regulations as stipulated by the KNP staff Code of Conduct."