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 Post subject: Problems with guided safaris
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:19 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:06 pm
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Location: Nelspruit
I have a major bug bear - guides in open vehicles that race at speed through the park in response to sightings they have heard on their radios. These guys are not only inconsiderate around sightings trying to ge the best spot so they can get bigger tips, but they also miss so much in their racing around and chase game off that you are enjoying quietly. Just last weekend, I was watching a leopard near Nkumbe Lookout. A open vehicle came racing past me off to some lions that were sleeping at Muntshe waterhole. I tried to slow him down and inform him about the leopard, but he raced right past. I beleive he would have received a handsome tip had he showed his guests a leopard. Anybody else have similar problems. what can we all do about it?


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 Post subject: problem guides
Unread postPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2005 3:55 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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The Kruger guided tours, I have no problem with - they drive carefully and slowly and are trained to expose guests to all aspexts of nature. It is the private companies that are the culprits - not just one particular company, but most of them. It seems to be a culture amongst the guides to get from one big 5 sighting to the next.


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Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:13 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Nelspruit
I do believe that a system of answerability to transgrsssions must be implemented. If visitors report a guide/ company which transgresses or behaves selfishly it must be logged in a register. after let us say 5 transgressions by a particular guide or company, they must be approached for a 'disciplinary' style hearing. If they continue to receive complaints, the guide or the company must be banned from the park. I believe the honorary rangers can go a long way in being objective watchdogs as well. These guys are spoiling sightings for everyone - they are rude towards other visitors, arrogant, and after money only - there is no passion for everything Kruger has to offer.


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 Post subject: Safari Vehicle Operators
Unread postPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 3:33 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Kleinmond, Western Cape
I know that safari vehicle operators in Kruger are a given fact which will be with us in future years to come. There was, and still is, enough merit in allowing these operators in the park. Passengers (which I believe are mainly foreign visitors) on this vehicles probably experience a much more "hands on" experience if they travel on this open safari vehicles. That was my personal experience too, when I had opportunities to visit some private game lodges and doing game drives on this type of vehicles. But I found a difference in behaviour between the drivers in the private lodges and those operating in Kruger.

When a "special" sighting occurs, the drivers in the private lodges will call their buddies over the radio, but adjust the receiver volume to a level where it will not interfere with nature. When a buddy comes in with his visitors, he will do so very slowly and considerate towards the people being on the scene already. The idea is not to disturb whatever is being watched.

My experience is that this is not the case with most (not all) drivers of open safari vehicles in Kruger. I sometimes get the impression that many of them do not care a damn about other visitors in the park - as long as they can show their customers the maximum in a day's time. Some of them drive like maniacs - even on dirt roads. I think it is just good manners to bear other people in mind, especially when making a lot of dust by driving too fast.

We were returning to Skukuza one day on the H1-1. A few kilometres out of Skukuza we saw some baboons in a big marula tree. One of the big males has just caught a steenbok lamb (which was still alive) and took it up the tree. I was just starting to video the episode, when one of the safari vehicles pulled in and called his buddies on the radio with such a loud voice that all other onlookers could hear every word. The next moment his buddies started calling back to find out his exact position. The baboons took off immediately.

The next day we were travelling on the H4-1 and came upon a group of lions next to the road. Exactly the same thing happened. The lions did not run off, but they got a fright when they heard the big noise over the radio and moved off to a position where we could hardly see them.

I made a decision to report all culprits in future and hopefully the authorities will follow this up with the operating companies who will discipline the guilty drivers.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon May 02, 2005 4:33 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Cambridge, MA (and home from home in Darling, WC)
I'm also with you on this issue. It's important to get plate numbers to help with your report to the camp managers, altho I guess with tour operators, the vehicle is also marked with the name, but plate number will more specifically identify the drivers.

I've had some experiences of noisy or speeding private cars and was encouraged by camp staff to try to get plate numbers and to report anyone causing a disturbance or other nuisance. There's always the risk that to avoid discipline, they'll book under a false name, but staff seemed to want the public's help with anyone causing an offense.

I don't think this sort of action is unfriendly; rather, it helps to improve things for the majority who don't make nuisances of themselves.

cheers, arks


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 8:37 am 
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Location: Born and Bred in SA, Living in NZ
I would suggest taking note of the particular vehicle and the time and report it to the actual tour company as well, preferably the most senior person posible. I find the higher you go, the more lackeys at the bottom that get it. :wink:


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 Post subject: Misbehaving OSV guides
Unread postPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 12:10 pm 
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Location: Skukuza
Hi Forumites

Thank you so much for these comments. You are all 100% right, the proper way to behave in the KNP is to be as quiet as possible so that you don't spoil it for everyone else. And the proper channel to follow if you see anyone behaving contrary to the regulations is to report the person. As said above, get the registration and other details (time, date etc) and report it to us.

You can also report it to the relevant company - the logos are normally on the front doors of the vehicles - and to the various associations dealing with such operations. The South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA) is a good starting point but you can also approach the Field Guide Association of South Africa (FGASA). I believe that most of these organisations have a Code of Conduct for their members.

It would be interesting to hear the comments of other forum members - particularly guides like fevertree etc - on this issue.

Kind regards
KNP Spokesman


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:16 pm 
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all of the jeep jockeys are supposed to have THETA accreditation and DEAT licenses in order to act as guides. If their companies are not willing to act against them, THETA and DEAT may be possible avenues. Is FGASA really acting as a Guides Association these days or are they now merely also a training provider churning out jeep jockeys?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 1:27 pm 
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Location: Born and Bred in SA, Living in NZ
Both. DEAT used to accept FGASA guides on principle as fully qualified guides, this was before the government wanted put put their finger in the pie as well. Not that I'm complaining, it's helped to keep guide standards higher (Still not high enough though).

Now you have to pass DEAT testing to be a legally registered guide. FGASA is no longer a prerequisite but definately adds to your qualifications. At the end of the day it boils down to a lot of money and you still get some pretty questionable guides making through.


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 Post subject: guides
Unread postPosted: Wed May 04, 2005 2:11 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Nelspruit
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......


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 1:23 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Location: Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, SA
We have noticed that the behaviour of the jeep jockeys has got progressively worse over the years. When they overstep the mark and find themselves in hot water they become arrogant and rude. We have been reliably informed that a number of these companies have been told that they are no longer allowed into the park as a result of the constant barrage of complaints against them. All they do is adopt a knew name, repaint their vehicles with it and off they go again. Next time you see these vehicles in the park have a careful look at how many of them have very clearly had name changes repainted on the sides of the doors. We even recognise some of the drivers - but very conveniently the name of the company has been changed. Makes one think. I would love to know from Kruger Admin. what these companies pay for the privelege (certainly not a right) to be in the park. I now see that they are even doing night drives in certain areas.

_________________
NO BAIL - JAIL AND NO TRADE IN RHINO HORN EVER!
NO TO BUILDING OF HOTELS IN THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
26.09.14 - 03.10.14 Burchells Bush Lodge
03.10.14 - 10.10.14 Ngwenya Lodge
The addiction is fed once again


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 2:56 pm 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Nelspruit
I had a distressing interaction with a guide in a Safaris Direct vehicle this past weekend. I did initially e-mail them directly, but they have not had the decency to reposnd. I assume that they therefore condone the behaviour of their guide.
Below is the letter I sent to them regarding their guides behaviour:

Dear Francois,

I had the privilege of spending this last weekend in the Kruger Park. I do however wish to bring to your attention the conduct of a guide in one of your vehicles (CWX 069 MP) - see attached photograph.
I came across this guide on the H 10 at Loskop Waterhole opposite Muntshe Koppie at 07h10.
He was coming from the north, and am not sure if he had come from Orpen/Satara or round from Skukuza, but either way, to have got to that point only 90 minutes after the gates had opened to me was incredible for a start. I then realised how he had got that far that quickly - speeding! When I addressed him and informed him that the speed limit was 50 km, he shouted something at me and sped past again - this was extremely rude and I am sure very unpleasant for his guests. In fact, some other people who were watching elephants with me also commented on how fast he was going and how inconsiderate he was to his guests. He literally stopped for 30 seconds with a beautiful herd of elephants with one of the most impressive elephant cows I have seen in a while (attached). It did not stop there - about 5 km further down the road was an impressive male lion, close to the road. Again he stopped for literally 30 seconds and then sped off again.
I feel this kind of behaviour damages the reputation of all guides in the Park, not to mention that of your own company.
Please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter.

_________________
A Leopard in a Fevertree, one day......


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 4:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2005 1:29 pm
Posts: 880
Location: Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal, SA
It saddens me to once again hear reports emerging regarding the ongoing behaviour of jeep jockeys. We have recently returned from two weeks in the park and were shocked by the speed that they travelled as well as their rudeness. On one occasion we were making our way along the Sand River Road (H1-2) and when we came to the T Junction where the H12 joins the H1-2 we were practically wiped out by a female jeep jockey who took the corner at around 80 kms an hour and belted up the H1-2. Ironically we turned in to the N'wattadlapfu water hole and the jeep jockey sped on up the road. We found out later when we turned into Olifantdrinkgat the reason why - there was a dead hippo near the drinking trough with hyaenas and vultures together with several lion in attendance. The very best part was that after turning in the the fN'wattadlapfu water hole we had the fortune to see a leopard who was most accommodating and allowed us three clear views of her sitting before disappearing briefly only to emerge and cross the road right next to our vehicle. The last laugh was on the jeep jockey but there could so easily have been a major accident at that intersection.

When are the SanParks authorities going to do something about the situation. Forget about all the pettiness at the reception desks at there perception that the majority of us are trying to enter the park on illegal wild cards - rather address the major problems actually taking place within the park on its roads!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

_________________
NO BAIL - JAIL AND NO TRADE IN RHINO HORN EVER!
NO TO BUILDING OF HOTELS IN THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
26.09.14 - 03.10.14 Burchells Bush Lodge
03.10.14 - 10.10.14 Ngwenya Lodge
The addiction is fed once again


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2005 11:57 pm
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Location: Saffa in the Caribbean
A horrible problem - prevalent everywhere in Africa.

Essentially, the companies and thier guides don't care. If they show their tourists half of what they want to see, then the tourists are happy, and none-the-wiser. If the tourist isn't happy, what does the safari company care - they've got the money, and they no that there isn't likely to be a return visit anyway.

What about this:
Instead of vetting safari companies, SANParks could vet safari guides - three strikes against your name, whatever company you're with, and you're out. End of story. It will only take it happening a couple of times for them to understand it's not worth it. Post signs at gates and camps encouraging visitors (self-drive & safari guest alike) to take photos of these people and report them, even if there are no photos - like incident reports.

Secondly, what about a safari company/guide shame gallery on this website. Hopefully people who book a trip will do their research first, and find this site (I found it through googling Kruger Park), and see who they shouldn't be booking with. I don't think it would libellous - we're just posting a pic in a "Safari Company Vehicle Photos" section - others can draw what conclusions they will.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:47 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Nelspruit
I have received the following reply from Safaris Direct. I am very pleased with there response - not defensive and aggressive as I expected, but extremely co-operative and grateful - lets hope it results in something positive.:- -

"Thanks for the mail 18.10.2005. It is only with mails like yours that I have some sort of idea what really goes on out there. Obviously I have my suspicions, and my fears which I have mentioned to all my guides, but have also told them that due to their denials around every corner, the day that I get an official "complaint" in writing I will come down on them like a ton of bricks.

This has now happened. I also unfortunatley have to go the route of putting in GPS - computer systems which record their every move every 5 minutes, which will give me detail like km's travelled, speed when where and how etc. Sad but true.

We generally work on 25km/h, and in this case it is possible via shortest route to be there at the time said, BUT as I said to my guide, "Are you trying to tell me that you didn't a single animal all the way there??" What kind of product are we then putting out there.

Anyway internal politics aside, thanks once again for the input."

"

_________________
A Leopard in a Fevertree, one day......


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