Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 7:01 am
I have been going to the Kruger since I can remember. We always had wonderful trips and we decided to go to the Kruger over Christmas for the 1st time. Our 1st 4 nights were booked at Satara from the 22nd Dec 2012 and the next 4 nights at Letaba. We left early the morning of the 22nd. Unfortunately on our way to the Kruger at about 12h15, my parents were involved in an accident between Orichstad and Hoedspruit. Luckily no one was injured but the car was badly damaged and could not continue the journey. The caravan was not too seriously and but will be able to continue. While waiting for the tow truck we discussed our options. Are we going back home or are we continuing our trip? We decided to continue. We rented a car and had to fetch it in Phalaborwa. My dad and I drove through while my wife and mom trying to see where we could stay for the night. They phoned Satara. The staff at Satara were fantastic. They organised for us to stay at Marula for the night because we will not make Satara.
We left Hoedspruit at about 18h00 and arrived at Marula just before 19h00. While we were busy pitching tents for the evening in the dark, the honorary ranger on duty at Marula approached us. (Sorry, I did not get his name). My initial thought was he is going to help us in the dark with some light. Well to my astonishment, his question was “where is your permit to camp here tonight”. I explained what happened. So please don’t get me wrong, I have been going to the Kruger for many years and understand their role completely and they do contribute and I support them 100%. He started accusing me that we are camping at Marula illegally and he is going to report me and phone the ranger and remove us from the camp site. Sorry, after the day we had and from one person that was supposed to help us, he was not interested at all, accusing us wrongfully and to make matters worse, he has been drinking as well. I don’t mind if he said that he is going to verify my story but to accuse me before confirming my story is unacceptable and the fact that he was drinking is a big problem. I just blew my gasket and told him to phone whoever he wants because we organised everything. He can phone the ranger, he can phone Zuma, the FBI and the Hawks, I just don’t care because we had one hellova of a day.
Some other guests were kind enough to borrow us a light to assist to pitch up our tent. The honorary ranger came back after about 30 mins and said that he confirmed our story and turned around and walked away. He did not even apologise. So I confronted him about that and eventually he apologised.
This really gives the honorary rangers a bad name. For me over the years there are this stigma around them and this episode just worsened this. Maybe I have it wrong but for me they have must support Sanparks with law and order especially over busy holiday period and assist guests if they need help. Not to play mr mucho and think they are law and order. So I was really blown away with this but was not really surprised. This guy was very unprofessional, very unhelpful and he does not deserve to be called an honorary ranger. Sorry.
In the same breath, I would like to compliment the honorary rangers at Satara during the week of the 22nd to 30th for an outstanding job and a really pleasant stay at Satara. They were down to earth and always had time for a chat. That how I would see like them not like the example at Marula.
I am sorry to hear of all the trouble you had during your holiday. It is a disappointment to look forward to a great holiday, only for it to start in a negative way.
On behalf of the SANParks Honorary Rangers I wish to apologise for the insensitive way in which the situation in Marula seems to have been handled by one of our members. Honorary rangers should be there to ensure a positive experience and assist visitors to our parks. This clearly was not your experience and as such we have failed in our duty.
I will contact you personally to ensure that the matter is followed up to your satisfaction.
I am glad to hear that our members in Satara did an altogether better job!
I hope your holiday will be remembered for the positive experiences rather than the negative.
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