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How has the park changed in the last 10 years?

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How has the park changed in the last 10 years?

Unread postby skywalker2251 » Fri Jun 01, 2007 5:36 pm

Is it more or less crowded?
Better or worse facilities?
Road condition?

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Unread postby DinkyBird » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:00 pm

I'd say there are far more visitors to KNP now than 10 years ago.

The facilities on the whole are better - many have been revamped and new facilities added.

Road conditions - on a par?

Other - way more activities offered 8)

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Unread postby Penny » Fri Jun 01, 2007 8:36 pm

There is one major change and that is the virtual lack of friendliness.
The sharing of stories around fires and communal kitchens and the greeting of vehicles on the roads, stopping to tell people of a sighting that might be accessible to them - that is all gone!
To me this is the change that has had the most impact on the old time park goers.
Nothing will ever replace the wonderful camaraderie that existed in camps in the evenings.
Sadly this is a sign of the times and people are now wrapped up in their own little world and have little time for the niceties and etiquette that made Kruger what it was 20 years ago.
Don't get me wrong I still love it to bits but there is no question that it has changed and the changes I speak of are human changes and not material ones and therefore it is questionable whether it could not have been sustained!
Sadly though it is a sign of the times that we live in and the changes I mention have nothing to do with technology or any other kind of advancement other than the fact that we have all become too insular.
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Unread postby Thorsten » Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:35 pm

Even i think,

1) the number of visitors increased
2) the most facilities are better now
3) untarred roads are worse
4) activities are more
5) all is a bit more expensive,

I also think that everybody I meet is much more friendly if I am friendly.
This year I visited KNP in February/March for the shortest visit I ever had (6 days / 5 nights).
But I was invited to 2 braais, got many information's of sightings, had some very good discussions, met wonderful people from (sorry pinky from Olifants, my wife didn't like me to visit you alone :wink: ) but I've seen only one yellow ribbon (my own) :cry: .


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Unread postby Meg » Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:04 am

The facilities and choice of activities have definitely improved over the last 10 years.
It is unfortunate about the friendliness, and the large number of private "safari" vans racing around the South, but as has been said every person can combat the unfriendliness.
We continue to wave people down to tell them about interesting sightings and although a couple will keep driving looking at you is if you're nuts most become very friendly and I'm sure will learn to copy the behaviour.
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Unread postby Albert » Mon Jun 04, 2007 2:48 pm

Facilities have improved somewhat...but I'm not so sure that I share the pessimism over the friendliness that has gone.
We frequently meet people on the road that will stop and tell us of sightings along that road (mostly happens on gravel roads).
I also do not think the gravel roads are worse than ten or even twenty years ago.
Road surfaces tend to vary from year to year.
Last night I finally started the process of sorting out the literally thousands of slides my late father took over his lifetime and I started with the Kruger Park slides...started with June/July of 1971.
What struck me is how similar the park is, in many aspects, now compared to 36 years ago.
I came across slides of large numbers of cars at predator sightings..people parking off the road, in front of other cars, idiots getting out of their cars to take photographs...sounds familiar?
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Unread postby Bennievis » Mon Jun 04, 2007 3:09 pm

I have noticed that

- Its generally easier to make bookings, especially with the aid of the internet.

- Outsourcing of restaurants might be relieving the resources of the Park staff but I miss the "home made" feeling and the service the old system had. But this is just an emotional observation.

- Cars got bigger. A Landy used to turn heads some years ago, but now a-days its a 50:50 ratio between cars and SUV's

- More visitors lose their minds and manners at predator sightings, squeezing and pushing in to get a better view.
But all in all its a GREAT place with great people and even greater animals :lol:
Last edited by Bennievis on Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread postby Bennievis » Mon Jun 04, 2007 7:57 pm

Surely you remember the yellow animal-print curtains
in the huts, as well as the cloth KNP maps?
Not that us men really take notice of curtains but those ones were impossible not to notice and always made one feel like you really are in the game reserve. :lol:
Do they still beat the drums before meals at the restaurants?
I cant recall hearing that the last time I was there.
I used to sit and wait (in the 70's) at the Letaba restaurant for the man to "hit the skins" at supper time.
He was no Ringo Starr but he made my day.

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Unread postby Freda » Mon Jun 04, 2007 8:08 pm

They even used to sell that curtain material in the shops years ago :shock:
I know I am in he park when I see those green bathroom tiles with the odd custos naturi one, sadly they are being replaced at many camps :cry:

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Unread postby Fizzpop » Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:06 am

Interesting topic.. and some thought provoking postings.

I have been visiting KNP, since as a small boy, for nearly 40 yrs now.

There are some things that have changed to the detriment of the Park.
Most revolve around the balance that Park Management try to achieve with Conservation needs on one hand and Political in the other.
A South African reality and we must ensure on our side that Conservation is the winner!
I sincerely believe that we are on the right track.

I can only say that with my recent travels over the past few years to famous parks in Central and East Africa, when I get to Kruger Park, I want to kiss the ground and hug the first Parks employee I see!

So when I consider the changes i have seen these past 10 years in KNP, I notice the upgrades to camps, new facilities, improved roads and lots going on.
I know that it is only for the better, and investment for the future... and my kids and theirs, will still have great experiences and enjoyment in the Years to come in the KNP.
I look forward to the next 10 years!
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How has the park changed in the last 10 years?

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:55 pm

They played the drums at Skuk as well.
I remember the days when locals could take a family of 5 to eat at the restaurant for lunch.
Once everybody downed tools and ran out as a lioness was chasing a bokkie across the river right in front of the Skuk restaurant.
We all watched it get away and resumed our lunch.

I still have a cloth map hanging on the wall.
It does not have camps like B n D, Olifants, Mopani or some roads on it.

I remember buying elephant biltong at R60 a kilo.
I decided that it was 'kosher' after searching my conscience.
With the overpopulation of ellies destroying habitats, I decided to support it.
Best biltong I have ever had.
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Unread postby richardharris » Tue Jun 05, 2007 9:19 pm

I think the saddest thing which is happening is allowing private camps to open within the Park - and to be allowed to develop areas / new roads which the ordinary Park visitors will not be allowed into.
This has already put some of the most stunning scenery in the far north 'off limits' unless you are very wealthy.

I also don't understand why the shops and restaurants were privatized; this may work out over the next few years but I have serious reservations.
Neither are as good as they were 10+ years ago.
OK, they may have more 'tourist tat' for sale - but seem to run out of essentials!
I loved the 5 course menus - plenty of variety as they were different every night.
20 years ago there were problems to of course; if you ordered a bottle of wine you never knew which one you would be given - it was rarely the one ordered!
But it was done with such charm you really didn't mind.

I think it is a shame that the Park staff no longer appear in the restaurants - in the old days they seemed to enjoy talking to the visitors, answering questions etc.
They still will today, but you have to work hard to find them sometimes.

1 happy point; I was seriously concerned that the whole of the Park was about to collapse due to attitude problems, ignorance, unhelpfulness amongst many of the staff - particularly at the end of the phone when trying to book a trip and in camp receptions.
This was at its worst 4 -5 years ago.
BUT the whole place has pulled itself together and I have been really impressed over the last few trips.
Long may things continue to improve.


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Unread postby Mgoddard » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:12 pm

I think we all forget the most important change....THIS FORUM!! Its wonderfull to be able to interact with ppl from all over the world, talking about something we all love :D

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Unread postby Jay » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:31 pm

I have mentioned it before but 3 times even had jeep jockeys flag me down to tell of sightings and countless people doing the same especially if they have seen lion :wink:
Have had good chats with people at picnic spots, oh ja also had a jeep jockey at Mopani come over to our table to tell us where a leopard was.
The staff have always been really helpful, even stood up for me when someone pushed in front of me at the check in counter.

Now a little story from 28 years ago; staying at my grandparents house next to Kruger and I get very ill one night, so parents rush me off to Kruger Gate very early in the morning 'cos grandparents' family doctor is the Skukuza doctor.
My parents had a major battle to get us in the gate.
Eventually after a huge argument they allow us in and we rush off to the doctor.
Anyway after seeing the doctor I start feeling a little better and my parents go to Skukuza for some food, but they go to the office and pay first for being in the park.
They get back to the gate show the receipt to say they have paid and the same man lays verbally into my dad something awful. My dad's very words were "he was disgustingly rude"
In the "modern" Kruger we have NEVER experienced anything like that!

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Unread postby Skillie » Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:26 am

Things have changed in the park.
Gone are the days when one didn't lock a door, in fact in a lot of the camps I don't think doors had locks! When breakfast was made an extra plate was always set aside for the cleaning staff who, in return, left your bungalow immaculate.
Everyone waved at each other, flagged you down re sightings, chatted at lookout points, left belongings sitting in restaurants or picnic spots without fear of anything being stolen.
And no, I'm not talking about fifty years ago (although SO has been going that long) but only ten years ago.

Then, in 2003 SO and I made the decision not to return to Kruger.
This was after experiencing our worst trip ever.
After having visited every year we were so disappointed at what appeared to be such a decline.
May I also say we met many staff who still retained the old values but it was obvious moral was very low.(I must emphasise all these incidents took place in camps in the southern part of the park and I purposely do not mention specifics)

However, once back in Britain common sense and a love of the park prevailed so we decided it deserved one more chance.

To our amazement the following year things appeared to have turned around, it was so different, the staff at the same reception where we had seen such abuse the previous year were pleasant and friendly and, although there were still issues at takeaways the atmosphere was more like the 'old' park.
The quiet well oiled efficiency appeared to be back.

I don't think we just hit Kruger in a bad few weeks, many other family and friends visiting over the same period had similar experiences. I think Kruger went through a very bad patch but I do believe things have improved immensely over the past three years and continue to do so.
Long may this continue! :lol:

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