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Unread postPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 12:04 pm 
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Joined: Fri May 26, 2006 9:35 am
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Location: In the bush
Freda wrote:

Many of us kept complaining, pre forum days, about Welcome Safaris and they were banned from the park.
What did they do? Came back in as Thompsons, you could even see where they had changed the name on the doors of the trucks, they will always find a way round it, so I agree - ban the radios.



Hi Freda, I just wanted to correct your statement as above.

Welcome Tours in Hazyview was bought by Safaris Direct in around 2001. Indaba Safaris was bought by Thompsons and became Thompsons Indaba Safaris, in 1999. We bought new vehicles so you wouldn't have been able to see where the names on the doors had been changed as the vehicles were brand new.

Just so that you've got the correct version of events!


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 Post subject: Sad
Unread postPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 12:53 pm 
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Location: Hazyview
It saddens me to see people have so much to say, and not have the facts straight. A lot more can be achieved and I hope it may be through this forum that we can have the communication lines open. Our vehicles have got the email person on them, for the very purpose of communication. I urge any person out there to contact me directly, so that if there is an issue one can sort it out immediately, and rather than leave it to become a festering sore, which will at the end of the day be the wrong story and create the wrong impression. This business, as well as many others has been operational for 10 years now, we have had thousands of people pass through our hands, and hopefully many more in the future. We endeavour to have our guides well trained for the situation. The only way we as operators will know what is really going on out there is for you the good public to inform us what is going on. Unless we have any incident in writing, we don't have a leg to stand on. Having said all this, this is not a call for a witch-hunt, because there is place in the sun for all of us, as well as the tourists who we have on our vehicles. We have as South Africans a life time to learn and appreciate the bush in all its glory, international tourists, sadly sometimes have a mere 6 hrs to experience this beautiful park of ours. If we are to get it right, assist us in getting it right. Fevertree will know. email is attached to my profile - Bush greetings,Groovy


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Unread postPosted: Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:29 pm 
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This is a story written on request from a safari-guide from Nkuhlu (?) Safaris:

When me and my SO went home on Sunday after the Cricket @ Skukuza Match, (Thanks very much everybody who was there, did something or not; it was a great weekend !! We had so much fun; just like our muscles….) we decided to take a detour to Phalaborwa by means of going over the tar road from Skukuza to Lower Sabie and then up north.

As we stood still (because there was a large troop of baboons sitting on, next to and alongside the road) there were cars behind us and in front of us. We then drove slowly forward and stood still again to make some nice baboons pictures. Behind us was a vehicle from Nkuhlu (?) Safaris very close on our tail, but that can happen. He wasn't pushing us of the road or something. He had a car full of guests and we thought he was trying to give them a nice baboon shot. I made some room for him (trying to avoid the baboons on the road) and while he passed me on the right, he didn’t look very happy and made a kind of waving gesture with his hand. I had now idea what he meant by it and because he looked mad and drove away with some speed, I went after him to the Nkuhlu picnic spot (were he stopped) and asked him politely what he meant with his gesture.
At first he seemed not to understand (or willing to understand) my question, but when he shut down the engine and I asked him again what he meant with his gesture he answered, with an angry face, pointing at my yellow ribbon on the side mirror: “ Just write a nice piece about it on the internet! ”. The gesture was one of writing !!!
That was a light bulb moment….. he too must have been on the SAN-parks forum or has had something to do with it (probably not a nice experience !)……. So I started to laugh and asked if he considered himself a “ Jeep-Jockey ”. He shrugged and with “go-away” gesture, he started his car and drove about 4 meters further. We too drove off, laughing I must add, because we really weren’t feeling harassed by him or anything; he just must have some kind of aggressive feeling towards yellow ribbons.

Stranger even; the last few months we have had nothing but nice encounters with safari guides; they were all waving, not trying to run us of a road or to push us aside next to a sighting. We even had a few sharing their sightings with us and we with them. Just as it is suppose to be…..most of the safari guides are in this line of work because they just love being in the bush and not for making a lot of money (because I know the payment isn’t very good; the tips are badly needed !).

The power of the Forum has been proved by this….. Maybe he or one of his colleagues has been warned (or worse !) by SAN-parks, because of the way they (some of them I must say) behave in a safari-vehicle.
Just a shame that all his guests in the car had to witness him being angry at us over a yellow ribbon. A bit of a childish reaction…..

So this is for him, because he wanted a nice piece about it on the internet…….

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 10:48 am 
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Quite an interesting and thought provoking response from the safari guide. Cees. :roll:
One has to wonder what would have caused his aggressive attitude, or maybe not :? :wink:
Just hope he didn't "enlighten" his guests in the vehicle.

I must say, we didn't have any enquiries as to what the YR was this last week, as we have had in the past, but I did get the distinct impression that a good many of them knew.
Having said that we didn't encounter any real problems with any of them either. :D

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Last edited by Elsa on Sat Mar 03, 2007 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: GREEN VULTURES OF THE KRUGER
Unread postPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 10:55 am 
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lionsden wrote:
I spend 4 Months in the Kruger a year and its just getting to out of hand. :evil:

Please note that the contracts between OSV's and SANParks was recently changed, and that the rules have been tightened. We should be noticing a change for the good.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 20, 2007 7:58 am 
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Location: Alberton, South Africa
I overheard a radio-transmission from a nearby vehicle yesterday that the Jeep Jocks and tour operators have been instructed by KNP management that they may no longer use two-way radio comms to broadcast the locations of good sightings between each other. This is really good news. It will dilute the number of vehicles at a particular sighting, and also avoid the practice of racing to a location.

Considering all the eyes in each of these safari vehicles, they shouldn't need the extra technology to get worthwhile sightings.

My objections were not so much with a single vehicle blocking my view of a good sighting (they rarely stuck around long enough to be a problem), but their practice of large numbers of them homing in on a single good location, and their apparent "racing" to a location somewhat resembling the behavior of tow-truck operators on Gauteng. It is shocking the number of birds and game I have attempted to photograph that spooked out of view when fast-moving vehicles cruise past.

What was quite disturbing yesterday was the behavior of vehicle "1" from 'Eastgate Safaris" driven by a grey-bearded middle-aged gentleman, and followed by a more sedate vehicle "2" from the same company. They came cruising up the Lower-Sabie to Skukuza road yesterday afternoon at 4pm at the maximum legal speed. Near the high-level bridge these two cruised unrelentless past a number of stationary vehicles holding a safe distance, and into a group of 15 odd elephants including juveniles, where they stopped. Many of the ellies had been walking along the road. The jeeps spooked the ellies into the bush, and really did spoil a good sighting for the other tourists, not to mention endanger the tourists in the stationary vehicles close to the animals.

I uncomfortably followed the jeeps at the maximum speed limit towards Skukuza and the same vehicle #1 then tried to resist my passing him when he slowed at another spot. When I showed my angry facial expression at his obstruction, his reply appeared to be one of "so what's your problem mate?" I then decided it wasn't worth a confrontation, and turned off so not to let the matter spoil the rest of the evening

I understand the need for jeeps and realise that many of these drivers work lousy hours, in dusty conditions, with often grumpy tourists, but totally agree with the radio-ban. It's unfortunate that these few drivers bring the rest of their fraternity into disrepute and spoil it for the respectable operators.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:06 am 
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LIke in all professions, you get the good and bad.

As a guide in the Cape, I try to give the people in my care the best experience, as, no doubt jeep jockeys do, but I do not abuse it to get it at the expense of others, as SOME jj's do, or break the rules, as SOME jj's do.

I understand that if something spectacular happened while I was on tour and I could show it to my pax, I would also like to be told about it, so as much as I don't like it, I would be hypocritical to ask for comms to be banned. I believe they should be minimally used, as those of us who have a bit of bush knowledge also like to 'listen' to the bush, and non vital cell phones and radios could disturb that.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 12:22 pm 
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Here is my 1/2 cent worth. Please remember that it is the incidences with the JJ that remain with people because we are so recognisable so even with seeing 10 cases of private cars breaking the rules somehow it is the 1 case with a JJ that seems to remain.

Also remember that you often do not know what happened before you arrived. Here are a few things that have happened to me (that I have been reported for but on hearing my side have been exonerated).

I have - on a number of occasions - found it necessary to move to the front of a line of vehicles in order to break a space open to enable animals to cross the roads (especially elephants). People block them off and ignore signs, such as females rocking backwards and forwards, that indicate that there is going to be a serious charge soon.

I have been reported by an idiot who complained when I placed my vehicle between a bull and his vehicle preventing him from getting photo's of a charging bull. He was busy teasing one of our most unpredictable animals in order to get good pictures - never mind the children in the car.

I was both reported for speeding and threatened with a law suite for the following incident:

I was on a hillside road and looking over to the road on the other side of the valley saw 4 people from a fancy double cab out of their vehicle not 20m from a mating pair of lions. If that was not scary enough coming down the slope behind them was a lioness they were not watching. Now this particular lioness was not in a good mood as she had been caught by researchers the night before and branded so she was still very sore. I saw a major incident about to happen and asked my guests if they minded if we rushed over to help. We sped past the person who reported me for speeding (no questions asked) and got there in time to stop the lioness just before she crossed over (on a path that would take her under the car in question) the road. I then asked the people who were watching the mating lions (they thought they were safe because the doors were open - all 4 were all out on the same side as the mating pair less than 20 m away remember) if they were stupid. For all this I got a lawyers letter threatening to sue me because I had breached their constitutional rights).

Not surprisingly (to avoid the conflict with the park authorities that comes with these complaints) all our guides have been instructed to avoid these encounters even if some idiot is walking straight down a lions throat. My only problem is that the animal that attacks these people is put down (especially young bull elephants - not many questions asked).

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:38 pm 
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OK I am going to do something I seldom do and throw my toys out of my cot. I will make my excuse and apologise beforehand.

I am tired after long days of showing people something I have a great passion for.

I would like to point out that in the last day and a half I have had 7 sighting destroyed by FITs (independent tourists). The latest 4 on a day when more than thirty game drive vehicles came in the gate on one day. The guides kept their guests quiet and shared sightings sometimes up to ten at a time. Make way for a small vehicle in a leopard sighting that took a lot of skill, understanding of animal behaviour, more than 40 minutes of patience and a number of game drive vehicles and what happens - the idiot gets out of his car and walks up the hill for a closer look before we can stop him.

My point is that it is time to stop bashing the field guides. You do not see me demanding that something be done to limit the number of independent tourist and lumping them together. You see something wrong report it.

STOP TARRING US ALL WITH THE SAME BRUSH.

If I let loose with some of my frustrations about the independent tourist I bet the thread would be closed down.

I suggest that we begin to respect each other.

When I started my thread I asked other field guides to comment. My feeling was that not many use the site and I am beginning to understand why.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 2:38 pm 
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Jeanus -- well said :clap: :clap: I agree with you. There are those JJ's (for want of a better word) that do try to muscle in, speed, etc, but they are in the minority. On our recent trip to Kruger we had nothing but courtesy from the JJ's and, as they have a schedule to keep, they stop, take their photos, and move on. I wish the same could be said of the general tourist public :roll: Me first, with no regard for anyone else, seems to be the general attitude. There are, of course, exceptions -- I certainly hope all forum members are exceptions :) It is just that the JJ's drive conspicuous vehicles that make them a target for the frustrations of those that have suffered general bad manners from everybody. The only other thing to say is document, document, document. If an OSV breaks the rules, they can be disciplined. Not so the general public :evil: More is the pity.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 4:25 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
Unfortunately it is always the few that ruin the reputation of many .
My wife is in real estate , and the initial impression of anyone is that she must be a shark , even though she has never lied to people to get the into a false buy , or pulled the wool over there eyes etc .

The thing is , and I would imagine just about everyone will agree , is that when the OSV business took of there where a large percentage of jj's that did not respect very much in the line of anyones viewing , and they where out there to make sure they showed there clients the max amount of game , so as to get the max amount of tip (who wouldnt) .
This has left a bit of a lasting impression in the minds of many tourists and regulars , who will take some convincing before they get those initial lasting impressions out there memory's , and will no doubt flare up and rant and rave at any inconvenience caused by an OSV driver .
The high "population" of these vehicles in the south of the park does not make matters any better , and as a regular I still get fairly irritated when the first thing an osv driver does at a sighting is to call in the rest of the fleet , effectively ruining that sighting due to overcrowding soon afterwards .

I do agree that the behavior of most of these jj's has without a doubt improved quite a lot lately , and I also know there are some dam good guides out there.
If the OSV companys would perhaps set slightly less of a hectic schedule so that the areas covered in a days drive where not so large , and the banning of radios calling in a horde to a sighting where stopped , effectively making the jj's actualy drive about looking for stuff , rather than determinedly heading to a lion kill 80km away , it would go a long way to there acceptance . If you go about your business in this way , then hats off to you :) .


Re private tourists , there is a general decline in the behaviour of park visitors , so this is going the wrong way .
I still get amazed when people pile out there cars at sightings and so on , its apparent there is no understanding of the rules or even a care to follow them .
When I was at Kgalagadi recently , a rowdy group of young men came flying in to the park from outside recently , pulling up at the parks entrance gate after an extremely hazardous approach .
They came upon a lion sighting a little down the road , and proceeded to drive off the road and park in the middle of the bush(sand) , and carry on like a bunch of idiots laughing and making a large amount of noise etc .
There was also the guy in his big ford f150 bakkie who felt his pick up was far to large for the road so parked off the road at every opportunity .


Last edited by bucky on Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:27 pm 
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Acekam if you look back I did admit it and pointed out the reason why and made some Constructive comments on how the situation be bettered. It is certainly not bettered by continual complaints with no constructive way of fixing the problem. Banning, fines and other punitive methods don't entirely help the situation in fact unless handled with sensitivity and the proper mechanisms lead only to anger and a further lack of respect.

I have worked in a park where the field guides used to pride themselves on being honorary officers. We used to help police the park on our days off, clear invasive aliens, work at keeping the view points and picnic sites clean and tidy, pick up litter beside the road, pump water etc. - New management and what happened nobody even picks up litter (in case we loose permits for being out of our vehicles, speaks to tourists or rescues them when they unwittingly endanger themselves again because if they feel they should have been allowed to walk up to that buff and complain we will loose our licences).

If you speak nicely to some of these people who so irritate you in your siting you may sing a different tune. I will be the first to admit there are guides around that I would not employ even if I had to turn work away but they are here simply because someone will if they will work cheaply. However most may be able to tell you why they moved to the front of the que - it may surprise you.

Please also remember another fact. If the game drive vehicle was not there it would mean on average another three fit vehicles or for every three game viewers one more large bus with its air brakes and intercom system.

Another thing, a fact that surprised our park ecologist. She sees more natural behaviour from animals from game viewers that from either the parks vehicles or her private vehicles. Since finding this fact out she has been an ardent supporter. All her researchers are advised to approach us and get to know our community for info and to learn ways to approach animals. A leopard relaxing enough to walk away is often more natural than one frozen in one spot at the base of a tree in the vein hope that no-one notices him.

In this park the game drive vehicles were also blamed for the increase in elephant on vehicle incidences - this quietened down when it was pointed out that the stats show that the highest hits are in fact on Parks vehicles followed by private vehicles and that in 11 years there has only been one hit on a game vehicle and that was not even serious - the guide however was immediately dealt with by the guiding community and his own employers.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:23 pm 
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Location: Gauties .
As a matter of interest , what is the need for a private osv to have a radio ?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:52 pm 
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Location: Hazyview
Hi Bucky

By expecting the operators to provide excellent level of service as per "service level agreement" which is a question all on its own, and to look after its clients at every interface, to ensure highest levels of safety to clients and then to try and put a restriction on the use of radios, goes beyond me.

Radios are an integral part of the experience firstly, secondly it is a logistical tool, thirdly it is a safety element, and fourthly ensure that the guides have access to information to ensure that they can supply all of the above.

It is used to manage the game drive, and to enhance the nature experience we want to provide and needs to be provided.

Groovy standing by

Hope that gives an indication of what it is really used for


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:39 am 
Groovy wrote:
I must remember not to assist, make them sit a little longer till help arrives sometime in the next day or 2. Yes it has happenned folks, 2 days no water, no food, no bath.


In the south of Kuger? On what road was that…..sounds like the perfect road for me to travel on….would not mind seeing no other cars for two day....or even 2 hours! :wink:

Groovy wrote:
Planning a route that my guests will experience nature at its best, knowing ahead of time what may be encountered (or what can be avoided most of the time) is used to plan their entertainment for the day.


Is “calling in sightings” not against the agreement you guys have with SANParks? :?

Groovy wrote:
Planning a route to try and cover one or two different areas, showing people that its not at all like a programme on National Geographic, where one sees the migration, Lion kill, leopard kill, cheetah hunt, wild dog and hyena interaction ............ all in an hour, is that the real thing, Africa!!.


Don’t you think this dilemma you find yourself in might be reduced with more honest marketing of the service you can offer and with what the park entails?


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