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 Post subject: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:58 am 
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Visitors to the Karoo National Park outside Beaufort West in the Western Cape have an extra treat in store for them since the beginning of December. The predator-proof fence which previously surrounded the rest camp and caravan park has been extended, allowing greater freedom to walk within the rest camp area.

Park Manager, Nico van der Walt, says “The old fence divided the rest camp (chalets) and the caravan park. However, the extended fence now includes the chalets and reception area, caravan park, bird hide, brown hyena cage as well as the Fossil and Bossie trails”.

Historically, the 4.9km Bossie Trail was run as a guided walk only and driving was necessary between most of the facilities and attractions like the bird hide. “Our guests over the years have always requested greater freedom and more space in which to take leisurely strolls, and we’ve now heeded their calls by extending the predator-proof fence, just in time for the December vacation,” says van der Walt.

Visitors can now walk, jog and enjoy all these amenities in a larger area surrounding the rest camp. Existing trails inside the fence boundary will also be extended.

“Visitors are, however, requested not to walk randomly in the fenced area but to stick to the demarcated trails; otherwise new paths will be created which could lead to unnatural soil erosion. Bicycles are only allowed on the tar road,” concludes van der Walt.


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:05 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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:lol: :lol: :lol:
Good news!

Somebody is going to a lot of trouble to make Karoo more user-friendly, and that just means happier tourists and more visitors to keep the park running on a financially stable basis!
You have also gotten lions in to give the park a wilder feeling; then the brown hyenas arrived to make it more special; now two young male lions from Kgalagadi to get new bloodlines...

This does however not solve the basic problem that Karoo has of attracting visitors to stay for more extended periods of time -- lack of sufficient roads! To exacerbate the problem, most of the current roads (especially the tarred section) don't feel wild at all since you can see trucks racing past on the N1 in the background.

A visitor in a sedan can cover all existing roads in the park within a few hours, have a lovely picnic at 2 sites, and swim at one of them. You can then enjoy walking, strolling around the new enlarged predator-proof fence, sit at the bird hide and watch a lonely shell duck or a few bishop birds, and then repeat the same again in the afternoon... and then?

I know it costs money, but get the local municipality to help upgrade some of your 4x4 tracks into better roads, and start a bush camp in the western side of the park for campers only -- make it like the exclusive camps in Kgalagadi (Botswana side) where people camp WITHOUT ANY FENCE AROUND THEM so that they really feel they are in the wilds!

There is also still the small matter of cheetahs that were promised so long ago, but have never materialized "because there are not enough springbok for prey". Surely there are plenty of springbok by now, and cheetahs in the Kgalagadi specialize in smaller prey (like steenbok). The current lion population would also keep the cheetah numbers in check so you need not worry about their impact on antelope numbers...

Keep up the good work!

God bless,

Friedrich von Horsten

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:12 am 
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Thank you for your kind words and words of advice and observations.

From a Marketing perspective, I can advise that we'll be giving quite a bit of thought into attracting more long-stay visitors into the Park going forward.


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 3:17 pm 
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Quote:
A visitor in a sedan can cover all existing roads in the park within a few hours, have a lovely picnic at 2 sites, and swim at one of them. You can then enjoy walking, strolling around the new enlarged predator-proof fence, sit at the bird hide and watch a lonely shell duck or a few bishop birds, and then repeat the same again in the afternoon... and then?


Friedrich, I totally agree with your statements. We've stayed in KaNP for 3 nights - which was at least one too much. Even the night drive was dull. We saw more nocturnal creatures back on our way from the Jeep to our chalet. :hmz:

What we really did not like was that herbizides were sprayed around our house and that a red roman was smashed in the restaurant by an employee.

imho: a park which could perform better...

@Fay: could you please explain why the "predator-proof fence" needs to be that annoying? At the camp gates you use serveral wires which are spanned across the road. Aren't they predator-proof too?


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 6:21 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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mh_baer wrote:
We've stayed in KaNP for 3 nights - which was at least one too much. Even the night drive was dull.

imho: a park which could perform better...


My longest stay was 13 nights - and I could not get enough of the park. Was there again for 10 nights during September 2012 - and loved every moment of it. I think it depends on what you want to experience. I go to Karoo for the absolute tranquility of the place. If I want to see plenty big game or experience the excitement of a night drive, I go to Kruger or Kgalagadi.

In my personal opinion Karoo is one of the best managed national parks in South Africa.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:33 pm 
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You're right - it all depends on what you expect. From Kleinmond you may drive to KaNP every weekend. I totally understand that you enjoy the tranquility and envy you of that possibility (btw: the camp wasn't quiet at all, but we didn't expect that in the holiday season).

Visitors who have to plan in advance because they have longer journeys need to rely on the information that's posted on the SANParks-Website http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/karoo/

Quote:
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges - such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra.

I hope I don't get misunderstood. We're not the Big5-types. We didn't expect to see lions etc. Our highlight in the park was the birdhide, which is excellent. And the hares that visited our chalet and unfortunately ate the plants that were sprayed with herbizides. :slap:

To end with a positive aspect: the gate guards were the friendliest we've met. :gflower:

Quote:
If I want to see plenty big game or experience the excitement of a night drive, I go to Kruger or Kgalagadi.

Our best night drive ever was in Mokala - two years ago, with Nanti. No lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas - but nevertheless wonderful. The quality of a drive does not primarily depend on the animals you see, the commitment of the guide is more important to us. :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 6:53 am 
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mh_baer wrote:
And the hares that visited our chalet and unfortunately ate the plants that were sprayed with herbizides. :slap:

Is your concern the mere fact that a herbicide was used? Or that it maybe toxic to the hares and other animals?

Unfortunately one sometimes have no other option than to use a herbicide on invader and/or alien plants - especially if it is a perennial plant. And I am sure that officials will not use a herbicide which can be harmful to animals. One of the world's most commonly used herbicides (Roundup) contains the active ingredient glyphosate. The latter was originally developed as an industrial soap, and by mere coincidence the systemic herbicidal effects were discovered.

This was most probably the herbicide used in Karoo to get rid of problem alien plants around the chalets. Glyphosate is safer to animals/humans than table salt. The LD50 of glyphosate is 5 600mg/kg compared to table salt's 3 000mg/kg. In other words - you would need to take in 5 600mg of glyphosate per kg of body weight to give you a 50% chance to die. You need less table salt (3 000 mg per kg of body weight) to die.

As I have said to so many people in the past - you can actually wash your whole body with glyphosate - but it is a very expensive "soap". It also has very low mobility in the soil. The chances of affecting other surrounding non-target plants are extremely low if the spray is directed to the target plant only.

I am certain that SANParks will not use a herbicide that is potentially toxic to animals.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:49 am 
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@mh-baer: SANParks is mandated to minimize risks and to ensure the safety of visitors and animals. Therefore it is our responsibility to keep animals out of rest camp areas, especially predators to minimize human/animal conflict and damages.

The grids over the roads in front of the gates are safety measures during the day, so that we can leave some of the gates open during day time (when the safety risk is lower). The primary protection measures are the gates that are being closed at night when predators like lion are more active and the grids will not necessarily stop them.

The grids with gates is standard practice in all dangerous game areas, like Addo and Kruger and even in some private reserves.


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:55 pm 
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mh_baer wrote:
Visitors who have to plan in advance because they have longer journeys need to rely on the information that's posted on the SANParks-Website http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/karoo/

Quote:
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges - such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra.



Such outdated information on the website is indeed misleading. It is quite a considerable time since the lions were released in the park and no mention is made of their relocation. And lately brown hyenas too. And there are no more buffaloes in the park as they were removed before the release of the lions.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2013 2:59 pm 
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Regarding glyphosate: I'm not a toxicologist. But you can find dissenting opinions about its harmfulness, e.g. from Greenpeace. This is the wrong forum for a discussion about that, therefore I just wanted to mention it.

Quote:
I am certain that SANParks will not use a herbicide that is potentially toxic to animals

I just wonder why the guy who sprayed it had to wear a surgical mask. :hmz:

And btw: I would have removed the plants faster than him - with a hoe. I do that in our garden regularly.

Quote:
Such outdated information on the website is indeed misleading. It is quite a considerable time since the lions were released

Imho this would be even more misleeding. Due to the few roads in the park a realistic message would be "The Karoo National Park has lions and black rhinos, but the chance to see them is less than 2%.". Maybe this is not desired - from the marketing point of view. :whistle:


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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:50 am 
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There comes a time that you just keep quiet.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:10 pm 
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I wish a spokesperson for the Karoo National Park, or Frontier Parks, or SANParks can inform us about the latest status regarding the planned release of cheetahs in the park. Can a moderator maybe "press on somebody's button" to give us an answer?

This has been coming on for a number of years now. The park fence has originally been electrified for the release of cheetahs. In the meantime lions and brown hyenas have been released. The speculation about the sustainability of the springbok population (foreseen to be the main prey for cheetahs in the park) has been raised on this forum before. But we never receive a clear and unadulterated reply.

I have once shared what I heard from one of the park's honorary rangers. Another forumite nearly stoned me (with words) and a spokesperson for the Frontier Parks (at that stage) said that it was not the full truth.

Thus - what is the situation regarding the planned release of cheetahs? And if the springbok population plays a role in this decision - what is the reason that their numbers apparently struggle to increase to desired levels?

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 4:30 pm 
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Stoffel, I've send in your question to Lesego.

As soon as we get a reply we'll let you know.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:29 am 
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Really appreciated Lion Queen.

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 Post subject: Re: Predator-proof fence extended in Karoo National Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Oct 19, 2013 5:54 pm 
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Lion Queen and Stoffel, thanks for asking re. cheetahs. Would be so special to have them there!

Re. my previous posting -- I would NOT got to Karoo NP for a "Big 5" experience, and also appreciate the quiet and peace of the Karoo (I lived in Willowmore for 4 years, and loved it).
My concern is that most roads are in view of the N1, and trucks and vehicles don't give the feeling of quiet and peace. I still think the 4x4 routes to the West should be upgraded, and a camp there, away from everything, close to the mountains with the possibility of lions lying in front of your caravan or tent .... now that would FEEL wild to me!

I suppose I have been spoilt by camping at Mana Pools (no fences, camp among buffalo, lions, elephants, hyenas on a river bank...), so by comparison, Karoo is a bit "tame".
I am pleading for access to the wilder parts of Karoo, but only in a very basic camp with basic facilities and minimal impact on the environment.
Is that asking too much?
I can only hope!

God bless,

Friedrich von Hörsten

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