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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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Location: Nelspruit
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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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:13 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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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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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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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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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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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.

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


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:05 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 11:06 am 
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Virtual Ranger
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Location: Nelspruit
I think it is okay to highlight problems guides/companies, as long as it does not become a witch hunt.There is also a problem of being judge and jury at the same time. We may think that a guide is behaving unethically or irresponsibly, but I believe we should post this only if we have documented evidence (photos for example) or if we have witnesses who can back the accusations up.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:31 pm 
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You are all probably going to accuse me of wearing blinkers, but the last three trips to Kruger I only had positive experiences with private tour companies, from stopping me to tell me about game up ahead, to aproaching me at breakfast to say where to look out for a resident leopard. On the other hand poeple in their motor cars behaved shockingly on more than one occasion. This is not the place to expand on that though.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:35 pm 
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I have been quiet on this topic and been following with interest, but I agree with Jay, I have been very fortunate with my experiences with them so far.

We need to be careful to not paint all of them with the same brush, and not turn this into a witch hunt. Critisize when needed, but pass compliments when earned as well

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2005 11:53 am 
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Distinguished Virtual Ranger
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Wild@Heart wrote:
I agree with lam ...

Get their Company name ... vehicle Reg nr ... date of offence and if possible a photo ... put it in Gallery of Shame and we can post companies NOT to use in here ... free market ... get some of them to improve their service and think about other people.


Again i must point out that these "crimes" imo must first be brought to the attention of the company and KNP. Might be that the guide has instructions to be back time etc. Might work on a very tight schedule to fit in a morning and afternoon drive. etc.etc. Please remember that these guys arnt tourists but must earn their visit in the park. The gallery of shame could cost somebody his or her job :!:

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 Post subject: Private Tour Operators.. What Rules
Unread postPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2005 4:27 pm 
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Location: On the Congo River estuary...
Please can someone tell me what rules apply to these operators ...open, canvas roof - vehicles??? when they are in the park KNP!?

I believe, being a true South African cynic, that they casually ignored and excused their transgressions, due to the income and extended revenue streams they bring into the park. I dare anyone in the forum to actually tell a positive story about their experiences with these operators in the Park?
Dare i mention:Excessive speeding, outrageous noise levels from the clients and the GUIDES!, and manners a MiniBus taxi driver would aspire to!

I really enjoy summer time as the camp gate are open earlier than access gates into the Park.. so you have about one hours hassle free game viewing...

I challenge the Park Authorities to catch these guys, like the Traffic Police do the Tow Truckers... give a 'false sighting report from say Croc Bridge Gate, at point X on WXYZ road. Calculate how long it will take at reasonable, lawful speeds, then sit at point X and set the stopwatch... I reckon we will be shocked(but not surprised) at how fast these guys get there! And you will hear their clients voices and the radio jabbering at top volume, long before the engine noise is evident.
My suggestion: Ban these guys from the Dirt Roads... please!.

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KNP: 03 Jan to 12 Jan 14 (Berg n Dal, PKop, Croc Bridge)
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