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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 10:56 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 2:25 pm
Posts: 927
Location: USA
Being from the USA, we hear many comments from friends and relatives about safety and danger when travelling in Africa. I will only echo Ark's comments about the infectious friendliness and willingness of the Saffies to extend an open and welcoming hand. We have had only positive interactions with the lovely people we've encountered in our many trips to various corners of SA, driving from Cape Town, to KTP, to KNP, to Swaziland.

We've had three flat tires...EVERY SINGLE TIME a kind and generous S. African, both white and black, stopped and actually changed the tire for us before we could get out the manual and all the tools...

My SO left his wallet at a camp in KTP. After realizing this, we reported it, just wishing to get his driver's license and credit cards back, but not really having much hope for that...we were presented his wallet upon checking out 2 weeks later, with everything intact, including $200 cash.

Checking in at Mata Mata, we were told our room #, but given no key to the door..."Where's the key?" we asked.
"Why would you need a key?" This was in the early 1990s, but we found it so refreshing.

Yes, we did have one instance of thievery ...
Sitting on a log at a picnic site eating hoagie sandwiches, a huge bird of some type swooped down, headed right for SO's forehead at breakneck speed, tried to steal the sandwich, which caused us both to jerk backwards and fall head over heels feet flying into the air, off the log. His lip was pierced and bleeding, the hoagie flew out of his hands, and a monkey raced over to steal the damn sandwich and run up the tree with it, smiling down at us as he devoured SO's lunch. (We think the bird and the monkey were in cahoots and have pulled off this caper many times before and after!) Gave us a new understanding of the term "monkey business."

Bottom line, the S.African parks, BECAUSE of the S.African people, are AS or MORE safe than other places we've visited, and are places we will return to as long as we are able.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:42 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Mexico
Hola Mucman,

I lived for 25 years in Mexico City and I left mostly due to the insecurity problem. Anywhere we go these days we can encounter violence, from petty theft to armed robberies, no country has exclusive rights to this growing problem.

But this is not going to stop me from enjoying the beauty of SA or any other country in this world. My hubby and I are very lucky to be able to travel for 2 months every year. Always, by the end of the vacation, my husband is proud to tell his friends that he drove nearly 12,000 kilometers and we have been married now for 11 years, so please make the math, we have covered a lot of kilometers together and we have never, NEVER had a problem, but we never wear fancy clothes, the jewelry stays at home, we never bring with us anything that we might regret bringing, we never rent a big flashy car, never leave your valuables at plain sight, bring very little cash on you, don't go to places where as a tourist you are not supposed to be at night and keep an eye on your camera!

You can have problems anywhere if you do not pay attention.

I am happy to say that we have had wonderful experiences with the people of SA, Turkey, Egypt, Mexico... We all have poverty problems as a common denominator but we also have one great asset: OUR OWN PEOPLE. The warmth of the locals always makes a huge difference.

Shame on the person who tried to trash KNP's reputation!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:17 pm
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Location: Germany - Munich
I think all in all one can say, that south africa is a dangerous country not only but also for south africans. But the Kruger Park ist a relatively save place to be.

To expect knp a total save place in such an surrounding would be naiv, I think. Thank you for mentioning the incidents in KNP. Now I know.

I have read somewhere that SA is the most dangerous country in the world, which is not at war. That is perhaps to bold but I understand what it is trying to say. I also heard that the SA gouverment once denied to publish the "official" crime statistic because it was so bad, is that true?

Can anyone tell me about the way from JNB to KNP regarding the safety? Is it known as a unsafe trip? I mean relatively ? And what about the airport, one heard that gangs are following arriving passangers and robbed and killd them. Baggage seems to disappear a little to often at O.R Tambo. That is what the internet said. I cant judge it.

The by far worst site I found in the Internet about SA was:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index ... 050AA8Scnj

"I was attacked with a baseball bat, from behind, and then the perpetrator tried to hack me up with an axe, so I shot him twice."

EXCUSE ME ??????
Are they all lying?

Shouldn't I better go to Lake Garda/Italy? But there are no Cheetas and Leopards and Secretary Birds.

One can go nuts. I'm at a loss what to do. But I think I will come and see............


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:00 pm 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 1:12 pm
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Mucman wrote:
Can anyone tell me about the way from JNB to KNP regarding the safety? Is it known as a unsafe trip? I mean relatively ? And what about the airport, one heard that gangs are following arriving passangers and robbed and killd them. Baggage seems to disappear a little to often at O.R Tambo. That is what the internet said. I cant judge it.

One can go nuts. I'm at a loss what to do. But I think I will come and see............



MucMan....after a 20+ hour flight...many airports...our luggage was there ...intact...when we arrived in J'Burg. We were delighted!!! :D I've lost my luggage flying domestic in Canada :roll: Use your best judgement in the airport...be AWARE...as in any big city. Don't get in any car that is not a genuine taxi cab....We spent our first night in J'Burg at the Don Hotel...a bit shabby..but we felt safe & then my stepmom went to the Car rental place the next day (by herself) and we drove off to Golden Gate National Park.
When we were leaving, we drove straight through from KNP to Tambo and had no issues at all.
We plan on going back some day (soon, I hope) and will do that with no worries about safety. Just don't make yourself a target....travel SMART!!! :wink:

And enjoy :mrgreen:

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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:48 pm
Posts: 105
Location: In UK desperately waiting for the next trip to SA!!
Do they give you keys at reception now for th ebungalows?


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 4:01 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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Location: Red sand, why do I keep thinking of red sand?
They do yes. And a bit of a map of the camp you're at, on which they circle out where you are, where the bungalow is, the restaurant and so on.

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Arriving currently: The photos from our trip! Overhere! :yaya:

Feel free to use any of these additional letters to correct the spelling of words found in the above post: a-e-t-n-d-i-o-s-m-l-u-y-h-c


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Tue May 10, 2005 7:40 pm
Posts: 138
Location: Johannesburg
@ Mucman:

Please relax....you are allowing your imagination to run away with you. You have put too much energy into thinking about this issue than it warrants. Remember, many of us LIVE here, 24hrs a day, 7 days a week and we're okay!!

Thank you so much for bringing this issue to the forum for discussion and more importantly, thank you for choosing SA as your destination!! :clap: You will not be disappointed...the drive from Jo'burg to Kruger is a very pleasant one on good roads with beautiful scenery the closer you get to Kruger...just enjoy yourself!

When you get here, you'll wander what all the fuss is about.

Now, start planning your trip!! 8)

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 5:42 pm
Posts: 35
Location: Mexico
South Africa rules!


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Unread postPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sun Mar 20, 2005 5:53 pm
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
sandiem wrote:
Do they give you keys at reception now for th ebungalows?

Actually, Sandie, only at some camps. There are still some camps in KNP without locks on the the bungalows, which I think is great!!

And to both you and mucman, DON'T worry about the drive from JNB airport to KNP, I've done it several times over the years with NO issues at all, and as stated in my lengthy post, I am an older American woman traveling alone. Really, IMHO, the issue of crime in South Africa is greatly exaggerated in the overseas press. And the instances on crime in KNP have almost without exception involved only staff, no tourists — I think the only exception when some tourists were robbed was in one of the private concession camps. I am almost 1000% certain that NO tourists have been victims of crime in a SANParks camp.

So relax, just be aware of your surroundings whilst traveling to/from KNP and follow "common sense" rules, and enjoy your RSA visits, sandie and mucman.

@ Africat: Thanks for being another overseas voice of reason. We really DO need to speak out to combat the misinformation about South Africa in the overseas — and especially American — press!
:roll:


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:40 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 838
Location: Innsbruck
Hi,Mucman!
As you can see in my avatar,I'm living in Tirol,a neighbour
country of yours.
I agree with Arks,Africat and all the other posters. They
all give you really good advice how to get on !!
SO and I(50.+ and more)visit SA the last 6 years!We have been in several places and SanParks.We have been to Ithala
(Kwa-Zulu-Natal)and drove all the way back to KTP on our own!!
Believe me,it's quite a distance!!We never had any problems,
with anyone or anything!After all the" bad news" you read in the papers,it's still a "selfdrive" country!!!
Make your plans,enjoy yourself and I'm sure you will come
back!Like we do!!

_________________
We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
William Hazlitt


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:17 pm
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Location: Germany - Munich
Thank you all, I am coming! You convinced me !!!

But tell me when the Kruger Park is such a relatively safe area wouldn't it be a brilliant idea to make south africa a greater great kruger park with each town as a restcamp? :wink:

And finally I hope this is not going to happen to me :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1QfdP1JKbQ&NR=1


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:01 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2005 9:18 am
Posts: 118
Location: Port Elizabeth
Hi all,

To put this article into perspective, a little example from the South African side (UK people please forgive me).

If you look at the reports about the recent teenage stabbings that have occurred in London and the way it has been reported in the media to us Saffies it could come accross that London is a gang haven and people shouldnt be walking there at night. Now based on this do I say that England is not safe and I shouldnt go there? NO not at all. These are isolated events in more or less one part of London and to paint the whole country with the same brush is horribly inaccurate!

Likewise here in South Africa. Yes crime is bad here, and on a more concentrated scale to that of other countries, but it is also reasonably isolated. I am 25 and have literally travelled all over SA my whole life, and in these travels have not experienced any crime, especially not in any of the SANPARKS, which I frequent.

Mucman, and indeed all foreign visitors, your fears about your safety are of the utmost importance, but please dont take these reports as complete fact (especially the linked article on the first page of this thread which is based on complete heresay with little or no reference to any researched or referenced fact). As many forumites have indicated, if you are careful and stick to main roads, safe areas, well lit areas (when its dark) etc, I am sure you will be safe and will love our most BEAUTIFUL country that I LOVE so much and will always call home. :dance: :dance: :dance:

Kind regards,

Pat :D

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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 5:18 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:35 pm
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Location: Innsbruck
Hello Mucman!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Good decision!!You sure will not be disappointed!
All questions about your travelling to Krüger or about the park
you get here in this forum.The members are all very helpful
and patient!!This forum is great! :dance: :dance:

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We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
William Hazlitt


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Unread postPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 9:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 2:17 pm
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Location: Germany - Munich
Obviously, this subject is still not completely exhausted.

I think there is a link between the violence in South Africa in general and the not so strong violence in the Kruger Park.

Yes, the probability to become a crime victim there is not very likely

But the more I browse through the Internet, the more I think about this issue.

I am sure that many people abroad do think a lot about “Can I travel to South Africa or not.”. This is an important issue for a country in which tourism plays such an important role especially in connection with 2010. A year in which many first visitors will come to your country and many consider visiting at least the Kruger Park.

It is a bit strange to hear that on the one hand, people say I've never seen anything bad or experienced in relation to violence or crime. Others say, yes I have so much seen and experienced, I have enough of them.

Of course, it is difficult in a forum in which people are involved in the Kruger Park enthusiasm, to confront the forum participants with these rather unpleasant issues.
I do not want to be negative. But of course I want a balanced picture of the matter.

Of course, one can say, OK, either you dare to go, or you don’t. But wouldn’t it be to easy?

Well, I have said yes. that I will come!!! . But I will not get rid of the feeling that it is not as harmless as it might imagine.

I am from a far away land but very often a distant view on the things is not the worst one.

I would therefore like to conclude by simply not be hold as a coward but as someone who is seriously considering the things before he ist doing something .

Well and to come to an end for today one thing has deeply impressed me, something I found on youtube and which is spoken by an compatriot of yours…..

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws6yZ28je ... re=related

PS: By the way, the gentleman really looks like an south african !!!


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Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:14 am 
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Location: Portsmouth, England
Mucman,

Reading or listening to the media in the UK at the moment would have you believe that you risk being stabbed setting foot out Heathrow or Gatwick. Now I know that isn't true, but that's not to say we don't have a problem.

There is a thin line between sticking your head in the sand and saying it's no worse here than in other counties and the sort of outrageous claims made on that article. As in all things perspective needs to come into this.

Oh and I would have a look for any sponsorship on the website -alarm and security groups would be my first suspect.

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