It’s almost a year later and I have yet to see any change regarding the maintenance of some of the fences around the camps. Now, how do you raise and discuss this topic without people taking offense? Before asking me if I did report it, let me assure you that I have done so in the feedback questionnaire. I sincerely hope that I convey the message from a genuine concern rather than a complaints point of view.
I started my recent trip report with a sunset photo taken from behind the fence at Satara saying that I would love to be able to remove that fence. (Over here):-http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?style=2&f=27&t=77743
Reality tells us that it would be almost impossible to do so. During the floods in 2012 I noticed that the vegetation growth along the fences (both at Satara and Maroela) were rapidly getting out of hand. You could hear the sound of electric shorts ticking between the wires regularly - even more so when it started to rain. This time around the vegetation was clearly out of hand with nothing having been done to the problem since 2012.
Have a look at the photo below. This fence runs alongside the Limpopo river bordering the Tuli between SA and Botswana. I have chosen this photo to show the early stages of what will happen when the ellies figure out that the fence is no longer biting them (second dropper on the left of the photo). It's not very clear in the photo, but the fence looked worse on the other side.
Being a fence on the border of two countries its way more elaborate than the puny fences at Satara (no pun intended). The ellies will in times of drought be eying the greener pastures on the other side of the fence. Then one day one of the juveniles will be pushed into the fence and realizing that nothing really happened they will start walking along the fence for a few hundred meters happily bending over the fence posts. In the photo I'm referring to the outer two layers (basically the same as the standard fences used around campsites in the park) on both sides of the six (yes six) coils of razor wire in the middle. Along with these coils of razor wire there used to be a cable also running the length of the fence, as well as inspection points all along the way.
What happens next is that they will somehow find a way through the coils of razor wire - I have not witnessed the exact way that they do so,but as you can see on the photo, they somehow do. I have seen the flattened coils of wire and some more bits and pieces of the coils all around the area where they crossed. I can only imagine the damage done to their legs. The cycle continues, the fence is no longer electrified and no-one wants to claim responsibility for the upkeep. Once a fence post is bent you have to replace instead of trying to bend it back into shape and re-using it. The costs for trying to maintain are quickly running into thousands.
Here is an example of the damage done to a fence similar to the ones used at Satara and Maroela.
Please share your thoughts. Something must be done before someone gets injured and we need to change places like these at Satara (the Maroela fence is even worse) back to an area where you would want to go and watch the sunset knowing its safe to do so. For the record I also prefer camps without fences and if the mods think that I'm skating on thin ice - please remove my post