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 Post subject: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 1:09 pm 
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While some people are kicking up a stink about the electric fences around Kruger camps (http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Electric-fencing-worries-Kruger-visitors-20130401) it got me wondering, when were the electric wires first installed on the camp fences?

I don't remember them being there when I used to visit Kruger as a boy in the eighties, so I assume they are a reasonably recent addition. Does anybody know the history of them?


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:16 pm 
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Sometime in the early 90's I think.
The article is a joke, seriously lame in my opinion. I grew up camping in Kruger with a 4 ft mesh fence and two strands of cable above that. That was the fence.


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:54 am 
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I totally agree with you, GlenD.

I would love to know what prompted the decision to install them. If it was in the early nineties, as you say, I wonder whether it co-incided with either the sudden influx of foreign visitors or the suddenly ramped-up security obsession of locals, or both? Was there perhaps a genuine, pragmatic need for them based on statistics of animals getting into the camps? It surely couldn't be for threat of litigation given that the majority of safari destinations in Africa do not offer high-voltage security to guests.

Whatever, in the course of putting my book of true Kruger tales together, I can categorically state - by way of a ton of submitted stories on the matter - that electric fences don't appear to have done terribly much to keep wildlife out of the camps. Or if they have, then the problems of 'hairy intruders' must have been quite significant before the fences were electrified!


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:07 pm 
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Maybe someone from Sanparks can answer that.
Looking at the Kruger photos from yester years, the fence looked like it used to consist of wooden poles with strands of wire strung between them, the crowd interviewed for that article would probably have a hernia if that was still the case.
My father has told me of a time when his Aunt and Uncle, staying at the old Rabelaise camp many moons ago, had a pride of lions laying around in the camp one night.
The only animals that come into the camp that I know of are hyenas, badgers, some buck and on occassion, leopard. Oh yes and the odd elephant at Tsendze and Malelane.


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:38 pm 
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Dear All,

Electric fences are indeed a standard only since the late nineties and onwards. Although it was experimented much earlier right back to the thirties when Tomlinson tried it at Shingwedzi, which was established in 1933, not very successfully though. Electric fencing was introduced indeed to keep animals out and it was strongly motivated by primate problems (baboons and monkeys) that in many places became a serious problem. Further yes, what I remember is other problems such as elephant at Letaba and leopard at Berg-en-Dal. Now it is a standard for fences in Kruger.

Regarding the article, I agree with previous contributors that the fact that some fences might not work, now posing a safety risk, being rather absurd. On the other hand, the electric infrastructure was installed and it is meant to work, so guests should (justifiably) ask why would they not work. Camp management are responsible to keep the fences operational minimizing the risk that animals enter the camp.

Generally, it is my view, that these electric fences are very maintenance-intensive and if that is neglected they soon lose effectiveness and functionality. This includes trimming of perimeter trees and keep the strands free of undergrowth. The bottom line is that if they are there they must be kept in working condition. This in particular in camp that still have a lot of natural vegetation, eg Tamboti, Mopani, Biyamiti, Talamati, Sirheni and Shimuwini.

Thank you.

JOEP STEVENS

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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:48 pm 
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Thanks Joep! :)

What a tempest in a teapot that article is.

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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:20 pm 
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Thanks Joep :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:29 pm 
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Thank you for your thorough answer as ever, Joep.

It is interesting to note that keeping monkeys and baboons out of the camps was one of the primary motivations for electrifying the fences given how the problem still persists today in most camps. If the fences do indeed hold back some of the primate hordes, so to speak, can you imagine how bad the problem would be right now without the electric fences?


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:56 pm 
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I presumed, given the date of this article, that this was an April fools joke.


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:36 am 
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granny wrote:
I presumed, given the date of this article, that this was an April fools joke.


Yes that is a possibility but knowing News24 penchant for cheap sensationilism I would say it is genuine.
I would suggest to the visitors interviewed in the article that they should restrict any future visits to view
wildlife to Johannesburg Zoo.


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:05 am 
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granny wrote:
I presumed, given the date of this article, that this was an April fools joke.


:thumbs_up:

It is a April fool joke :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:17 am 
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Dear Dabchick,

Irrespective of whether the article was an April Fools joke or not, it didn't put SANParks in a very positive perspective. Having re-read the article I don't get the impression that it's an April Fools?

Kindly.

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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:51 am 
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Joep, I can understand your disgust in this article. I have been going to the Kruger several times a year for many years. Hard on the budget but I would rather do this than anything else.
I read negative comments and just ignore them. Read something the other day that someone was so ashamed that the cushions at P.Kop restaurant were dirty and this seem's to have spoiled her trip the way she went on about it. For goodness sake!!!!!
I go there, take the good with the bad and enjoy every minute. So agree with the zoo comment. :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:15 am 
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Come on, that article is decidedly not an April Fool's joke.

I appreciate that the non-attributed (read: made up by the journalist) quote from the "tourist" at Skukuza was patently ridiculous (“I couldn't hear the machine of the electric fence ticking. In my opinion that electric fence was not on and I got really scared. What if a crocodile or a hippo decided to walk up the river bed and enter the camp?”) but people say stupid stuff every day of the year (I recall being at the N'wanetsi lookout point earlier this year and a woman arrived with a large group of Australian teenagers in tow, pointed to the stagnant pool below and announced, "Behold, the mighty Limpopo!") the article is, I believe, entirely genuine and as Joep says, paints the park in a less than favourable light.

Of far more concern is what I saw on the Orpen web cam in the early hours of last Monday:http://i45.tinypic.com/9st6af.jpg. I hope the electric fences at Orpen, Tamboti and Maroela were ticking away that night...


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 Post subject: Re: When did the rest camp fences become electrified?
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:25 am 
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:D Must have moved that damn Webcam to where I live! Though to be honest there are probably as many of
them cats in Kruger as here in Sumatra!


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