Dinkybird wrote on behalf of KNP Spokes person "We do re-evaluate gate quotas every now and then and, in all likelihood, they'll probably go down rather than up (especially in the South where there is too much congestion on the roads anyway).
In fact, this was one of the points made during the stakeholder engagement process (in other words, the public) of the KNP Management Plan."
Unfortunately the part of the KNP Management Plan that is being referred to is not available on the internet for scrutiny by the public and never has been.
In fact we were given the assurance by KNP Management that this had been addressed in draft 7, draft 4 was presented to the "public" on request basis only.
Statements like these make a lot of people out there ( in other words the public) shudder (especially in the south).
Statements like this should question the whole "stakeholder engagement process".
Reasons why we should have a problem with the statement.
1. It is not in the interest of tourism to the province of Mpumalanga to have these quota's tampered with or altered.
2. KNP is not an island and needs to function within the provincial and national tourism framework.
3. It is exactly due to attitudes (increased gate entrances for internationals and locals, daily conservation levies etc) like this that have contributed to tourism numbers to Mpumalanga dropping from the number 2 destination on the list to number 8 destination on the list.
Mpumalanga manages to beat only the Northern Province.(that in its self is scary)
4. It is not the mandate of SANParks to micromanage tourism numbers to and into the park, and even less so SANParks does not have the right to manage or to try and manage the tourism numbers to Mpumalanga. Even the Park director Mr Bandile Mkize has said in open meetings that Kruger wants to increase its numbers to 1,3 million visitors this year.
If we go back in history, we saw the apartheid regime try and manage people, "the homelands system", clearly that didn't work. People are not animals, and do not stay within fences, they vote with their feet, at the end of the day, money!
We must realise that Mpumalanga is not seen as a wildlife destination.
In an informal conversation the other day, the question was asked to those present around the table, where they would go for a wildlife experience, the answer came Botswana, and Kenya, and that was from people who work and reside in Mpumalanga and from various walks of life......
Huge amounts of money have been invested in Mpumalanga over the years, in infrastructure, hotels, B&B's, guest lodges, in wheels, in an airport, and of course not forgetting all the other support businesses etc. Do we now want to bite the hand that has fed us over the last 100 years?
The gates referred to are all in Mpumalanga, Orpen, Kruger, Phabeni, Numbi, Malelane, and Croc Bridge.
So sorry for you if you have invested in a weeks holiday accom (or heaven forbid a retirement home or business investment) down in Croc bridge, Malelane, Hazyview, you can drive your 2000 km's to KNP and still be stopped at the gate and in future if you get in be charged a higher levy because you are entering in the south.
This is also a way that KNP intend to change the visitors profile.
Currently 75% day visitors/ 25% overnight visitors and through the Management plan want to change this visitor profile to a 50/50 level.
It may seem as if I am carrying on and on, but Forumites have in the past said that this forum is a powerful one.
You may decide to ban me from the forum, or you may decide to actually take an interest in the KNP Management Plan, especially the lower level management plans, of which there are 17 or 19, not quite sure which figure is the true figure, as the KNP Management plan was still incomplete at the time, but a complete version, as presented to the minister, has never been in the public domain.
Hopefully this will get us all thinking?
Have you seen the national park in your areas Management Plan, and were you involved in the drafting of that one?