@P@M. I saw that thread of Ej's and I think it's a really great idea. One of the problems with our "instant, I want it all and I want it now" modern society is exactly that. We want it all, and we want it now. Such virtues as patience and respect have been killed by TV, and TV advertising. Why should anyone have to wait for anything?
So, while I think EJ's idea is great, I am deeply concerned that people will just accept a brochure, sign anything to say "yes, I read it, understand the contents,will comply." only to rush into the park in search of instant gratification. See the big 5 in the first km. When that doesn't happen, they fall over themselves and trip over everything else in search of the "Big" sighting. (I know, I was a Kruger Cowboy myself a while back and it took my SO and this forum to open my eyes.)
This is my only concern of the effectiveness of a brochure, but it is a good thing to do. Education is the best way forward for long-term success.
Speed checking and vehicle patrols are other, allbeit kneejerk reactionary ways of dealing with rule breakers. How to fix that is not an easy one solution answer. Harsh penalties have to be meted out to trangressors. SANPARKS have to adopt a zero tollerance level. There is so much more at stake here. Conservation of the environment has to become top priority.
'nother problem is the arrogance of the rule breakers when called into question about their poor behaviour. So often, (I think) rangers overlook the transgression because "hey, I'm not into all that abuse." or perhaps, they don't know how to deal with it. (this is just generalised speculation on my part).
Hence the particular reason for my stance on hammering the rule breakers. Fight fire with water if you like. (If you fight fire with fire, both get burned.)
'K, GS, How many riders. Not more than 10. My idea, so I kind of really
want to be involved in the first one. To raise awareness, I would like to have one or two "celeb riders" and pretty much have a full bus of people who have expressed keen interest to ride and pay fair cash to do it. Support vehicles have to right there on hand, I'm thinking one immediately in frontand one imediately behind. More riders would require more vehicles so that's why the smaller contingent. One or maybe two rangers should be able to cover the safety aspect.
The front vehicle is pretty much covered by one of the riders and is one of those MPV types that will have the back door open for hyper quick "get out of danger" type scenarios if it happens. Maybe need one more of those at the back of the pack.
The pack will ride in a compact formation. Two abreast with not more than a bike length between cycles to keep the risk element as low as possible. One thing we don't want is cyclists spread all over the park. The whole thing has to remain as one small compact unit.
Several things we do not wish to do.
A) Speed. Each vehicle (Cars and bikes, will be fitted with speed monitoring devices and sealed (so no tampering.) Info will be downloaded onto Laptops daily.)
B) create any kind of spectacle of bad behaviour. (If we see something interesting, we want to share the experience with other park visitors and possbly chat to them about what we are doing and why. Being polite and friendly and highlighting the fact rules are there more for our own safety that any other reason. I suspect that we will prob'ly be stopped by many because it is a totally unique mode of transport in the park. (I remember some of my earlier visits to KNP and seeing some of the staff members riding to "the office" and they were pretty safe. I guestimate, we will be too.)
TV Crew, I have not got into yet because this is still very much in the hypothetical stages. We cannot do anything until the idea gets support and approval.
I do thinkk though that given what we are trying to achieve though, that this should be highly publisized. We need to reach as many as possible with this project. I suspect that it could become an annual ride and there are a lot of cyclsists who are also conservationists and would probably pay top dollar to do this in the future.
Timing: May would be an ideal time of year to do it. Still realtively warm without excessive heat and it is the end of the cycling season for many so they will still be fit and capable of doing the ride. We are talking serious distance here.
Above all, it is a fund raising and awareness campaign. It is to generate funds for SANPARKS to tackle the crime levels in the Kruger and possible other parks. To do this, they need manpower and equipment. So anything that does not come out of their allocated budget, can be spent in other ventures to improve everyones experience of paradise.
I say this because it only takes one or two loons to make a good experience bad. (look at my last experience of Lower Sabie. I certainly won't be going back there again.)
If everyone has a good experience, they will come back. Many who have had a bad one will simply disappear and never come back. They won't even voice the reason why, they just quietly walk away.
KNP is one of the most popular destinations in SA for tourists and we are ALL ambassadors of this country. I f we are polite and friendly to our guests, they will come back or at least send their friends.
If we cock it up, we loose. And so I ask you all, to lend me your support and make this dream a reality. In the long run, it will benefit us all.