I know i'm reviving an old post here.
Mafunyane: To answer your question, tour operators need a special permit to drive in Kruger Park, and it certainly isn't easy or cheap to get it. And it can be lost so easily, and companies and their guides know this.
I just wanted to put in my opinion after reading through this thread. I've just had two very upsetting days in the park and it's moved me to say something
A few days ago, I was approaching a 'serious' leopard sighting. The kind where there are 4 lanes of traffic and people are out of their cars and horns are blasting and very few people can actually see the cat. So I hung back. The car behind me sped past me and parked sideways across the back of the queue in such a place she never would have seen the leopard. I don't know why she did it, but I fully expected her to move forward to the empty space in front of her. She had blocked the far right lane where I would naturally have moved to. So I joined the queue behind the car in front of me. It would be at least 20 mins before any of us would have a view of the leopard anyway and we were fine with that.
Next moment, to my right, I have a woman screaming at me. I mean SCREAMING. "You have no manners! You have no manners at all! I'm reporting you! You'll lose your drivers licence! Your behaviour is simply beyond beleif!" and so on.
Immediately I start to apologize and reverse the car so that she could take my space at the back of the queue if she wanted it. Certainly wasn't going to argue back. If she wanted my spot nowhere near the leopard and with no visual, she was welcome to it. Amazingly, she starts reversing alongside me, so that she could continue with her abuse. She was asking my guests for my name so that she could report me and kept on insulting me. Luckily, my guests thought she was quite funny.
This was so unnecessary and really hit home to me that some people will look for any excuse to criticize an OSV. I did everything right and I always do. Of course other vehicles are shorter than me. I am always aware of this and drive accordingly. My guests are constantly told that EVERYONE at the sighting needs to have a good view- not just us. I always invite the nearest car to take my place if i'm on the way out and have a better view than them. And I see other OSV's doing the same every day.
Yesterday morning while in the queue to enter at Croc Bridge, the car opposite started yelling at me, telling me I shouldn't be allowed in because they had to 'get up early' just to have their whole day ruined by 'people like me'. His abuse carried on for several minutes. I just kept quiet, but it hurt. I'm a nice girl and a good guide and I didn't deserve this. We weren't even in the park.
My faith in Kruger is fading
I'm seeing way to much bad behaviour. Every day i'm asking people to please get back into their cars, and taking photos of license plates and watching people speed. But I've yet to report anything. These guys don't actually have anything to lose. And yet I have everything to lose.
I'm a forumite. No matter what vehicle i'm driving in Kruger, i'm doing it with a massive smile on my face, waving at others, sharing tip-offs, hoping that ALL the people around me, not just the guests sitting behind me, are going to experience something magical and wonderful in Kruger and I desperately want to be a part of that.