Being an ex-guide in the sabi sands private reserve, I can speak from experience on the difference in attitude between guides there and the guides in the park. Guides in the private reserves are very strictly controlled by rules and codes of conduct. It is much easier to monitor behaviour there because it is a small, closed community of guides - and beleive me the penalties imposed were harsh - fines, bannings from sightings, etc. It worked well. It is a lot more difficult to police the guides in the Park without the assistance of visitors. Nowadays, I am also extremely frustrated with the standards, behaviour and sometimes ethics of guides I see in the Park. Despite what anyone may say, and I am sure the guides would deny this vehemently, but they are gratuity/tip driven. The bigger, better and more frequent the sighting the bigger tip they think they will receive. As a result we see them speeding through the Park to cover large distances, blocking views to ensure thay have the best view, ignoring general courteous behaviour, and often having a rather arrogant attitude towards other visitors.
Recently, I was watching a beautiful female leopard on the h1-1, when two such vehicles came roaring past. They did not even slow down to see what I was watching. The leopard of course disappeared, and I drove on. About 2km down the road was a lion and the same two vehicles were there. I immediately parked next to them and told them about the beautiful leopard they had missed in their haste to get to a lion who was fast asleep and would be there for at least another 3 hours in the heat. Of course their clients were then very upset they had not seen the leopard, and it left the guides feeling very sheepish and embarrassed.
I feel that these safari vehicles should have contact numbers displayed on the vehicle which you can contact to report bad behaviour. This will make it much more accessible to tourists to contact the operatorsw and inform them of what was witnessed.
Interestingly, my experience has shown that the less Big Five sightings guests actually got to see during their stay, the BIGGER was your gratuity at the end of the day - why? Because if guests see that the Big Five are easily tracked and viewed then they think the job of finding them is easy and the Big Five are a dime a dozen. Struggle to find game, and the guests appreciated the effort you put in, despite poor sightings and you are rewarded more handsomely.
Maybe the Kruger Guides should start re-assessing their modus operandi and enjoy EVERYTHING the Park has to offer.
A Leopard in a Fevertree, one day......