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 Post subject: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 7:54 pm 
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Saw this article and addo tourism does not need bad publicity if these statements are false - maybe you can post on the weekend post comments field below to dispute the article or agree if true

http://www.weekendpost.co.za/opinion/ar ... ?id=500847" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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IT IS of great concern that so many complaints have been seen in the papers recently about the state of the Addo Park and the environment around the park.
Tourism is such a big drawcard to the park and the surrounds, and yet complaints are being made daily, and it seems nothing has been done or is being done to sort out some of the most unacceptable problems.

The restaurant is an absolute put-off. Visitors are unhappy about the food, the pricing, the ambiance and the service.

Read More click on the link


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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:18 pm 
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Evening kilos, I've had a look at the article and this single phrase surprised me a little as service and standards in KNP have been under heavy fire by a few visitors.

"We have had people informing us that they would not return to The Addo Elephant National Park because it had not lived up to the high standard they were used to, for instance in the Kruger National Park and others."

I suppose a lot of people will never be fully satisfied or there is a generalised problem in all parks.

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Sat Nov 21, 2009 8:34 pm 
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This is very sad.
When we were there in May we were impressed at how clean the place was and how little litter there was compared to Kruger. We also found the food at the restaurant well presented and fine value for money. The staff were great.
I suppose where-ever one goes different people have different experiences and I hope the bad experience of the writer of the artical and others that were sited doesnt put others off who could have a wonderful experience like we did


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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:27 pm 
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We are regular visitors to Addo - going for the day as well as spending a night on occasions. We have never had a problem with the food or service at the restaurant, but we do just stick to basic foods off the menu and they make a very nice chicken hamburger!! :) However, we have found cleanliness at the toilets at Spekboom hide to be a bit of a problem and have on our last 3 trips avoided going there, and rather using the restroom at the new camping area. It is usually early in the day as we enter the park at opening time at the Colchester gate, but I still feel that if the facilities are going to be open to the public from whatever time, they should be clean and ready for visitors. Really love Addo, so it has been sad to see the reports in the newspaper :(

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Thats what I thought as if their are any negative comments, they would be voiced on this forum, thats why the comments on the Weekend Post article is important to rebuff such negative atmosphere about Addo.
No comments or replies on the newspaper article.

http://www.weekendpost.co.za/opinion/ar ... ?id=500847
Many thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:09 am 
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Kilos, it is indeed a very worrying article. I have never been to Addo, but had I seen such an article and not experienced the forum, I would have wiped it off my list.

I can only go by the trip reports that I read from Addo. They have usually been extremely complimentary.

I do hope that there is some response. Thank you for bringing it to the attention of the forum.

I must also comment at this point that the negativity regarding Kruger has at times been so alarming, dropping standards, crowds and... and... and that some people have been put off visiting the Park. There are some who will find fault with everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 10:45 am 
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Ach ja, one needs feedback and even more so if things are not the way they're supposed to be so that one can improve things.

But this article? Really...

Look I just been to Addo for 2 nights. I have close to no complaints about the facilities. At the gate, a girl told me I could proceed to the reception in a friendly and correct way. At the reception: staff was very friendly and helpful. Forest cabins: more than OK, especially given the rate, less than 500 ZAR. The restaurant: quick service, some very tasty meat, decent service (yes, friendly). The soup was a bit bland, ja, thoug not bad. The toilets weren't as clean as the ones at the reception area of the Cape Grace hotel but dirty? Not at all... Maybe standards in Belgium are too low and we are too quickly satisfied...Maybe people expect Shamwari or Gorah elephant camp value for Addo NP rates...I don't know.

What I DO know is that you can even be put of from eating at the best restaurant in the world if you have to believe other people's comments sometimes. So to anyone who wants to go: GO and make up your own mind.

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:52 pm 
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Maybe the specifics should be looked at and fixed if problematic.

I was there 2 years ago, the cheescake in the restaurant was very moreish, and a pair of red winged starlings was building a nest in the rafters inside, necessitating a new seating arrangement.

I don't think there is much in the article that cannot be put right without a little effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:54 pm 
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I must say I'm a bit bemused by the weekend post letter... the only thing I can relate to is that the toilets at Spekboom hide are sometimes a bit messy.

When we've visited the park over the years, the staff have invariably been helpful and welcoming. The accommodation has also been of a decent clean standard, yet at a price which is truly affordable. The restaurant serves nice food, and isn't nearly as expensive as it could be.

As for the comments about the lack of signs in the southern area... they have been busy putting new loop roads in that area and so some of the marker blocks are waiting for their signs to be mounted. It's not as if they're missing/old/fallen off!... it's all just so new that some of it hasn't been finished yet.

I have heard of people complaining that the new picnic spot has been closed without notice, but is that really true? The entrance to it has a massive sliding gate which opens automatically when your car gets near it. Sometimes it takes a few attempts for it to register that you're there, so perhaps the gate simply misbehaved for some unlucky people and they were left thinking the whole thing was shut?

Addo has come a long way over the years and although it's not nearly as large and grand as KNP/KTP it still has a lot to offer. They seem to be continually developing the park to make it more attractive to visitors and I just hope that one or two people's bad experiences don't put the majority off making a trip there!

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 Post subject: Addo Press
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Addo has been getting bad press lately; unfortunately not totally undeserved! Has the management been monitoring these and what is their response.

Plse direct me if this topic has been addressed as I have not visited the forum for some time!

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 Post subject: Re: Addo Press
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 6:51 pm 
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Hi antone, can you give a little more info on the bad press, and where you read it? We are only aware of one article in a local newspaper.

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 Post subject: Re: Addo Press
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:25 pm 
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Hi DinkyBird

There have been two letters in the Weekend Post and one in the Herald in recent times. I cannot give dates except that the latest I have read was in the Weekend Post of last Saturday.

I, too, have had bad experiences at the picnic spot, viz being unable to enter and almost being written off by a Parks' vehicle which came speeding and cutting the corner at the entrance to the picnic area.

The toilets at Spekboom also were not operational the last time we were there and I have previously found them in a bad state.

I have also had bad experiences at the restaurant and do not make use of it anymore.

The above is meant to be positive criticism as the Addo Park is my second home and I am personally affronted when I read and hear of criticism. I am always very supportive when the park is unfairly criticised but honestly believe there has been a decline in standards.

Kind Regards

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 Post subject: Re: Addo Press
Unread postPosted: Thu Nov 26, 2009 7:50 pm 
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Thanks antone.

Megan, who usually responds here on behalf of Addo is away at the moment. We will attempt to source a response from the Park :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Addo Press
Unread postPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2009 11:53 am 
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Hi all,

I too have noticed all the bad press lately, and have wanted to post them for a while. Im no PC boff, so dont know how to link to articles, so I did a search on The Herald/Weekend Post website and found the following articles, which I have copied:

First one I noticed:

"Disgusted at state of Addo Park facilities

2009/11/09

I VISITED Addo Elephant National Park on Monday, November 2, and am disgusted and embarrassed the management can run a national park in such a way. I am visiting South Africa from Scotland for the fourth holiday and planned on spending the day in the park.
I have previously been to Pilanesberg and Kruger parks, and have thoroughly enjoyed the amazing experience. Addo was a completely different story and I think the management team must be reviewed.
We arrived with our picnic at the new picnic spot, only to find that the gate was closed. This was at lunchtime.
I had been recommended to visit the beautiful picnic spots for some lovely photographs to take back to Scotland. Surely if there was any problem, there would have been advice given at the main gate on entry or at the very least a sign to explain why it was closed.
We also planned on using the toilet facilities, but were unable to do so. We then drove to another lookout at a waterhole called Spekboom and have never been so appalled at the conditions we found.
The toilets were absolutely filthy and I was sickened to my stomach. The seats were covered in excrement, and there was no toilet paper, soap or hand towels.
The sinks were also filthy and did not look like they have been cleaned in a long time. I am shocked the management does not control the cleaning staff at the facilities.
If the park is charging people to enter at a certain time, they must make sure everything is clean and suitable for fee paying guests. So after not being able to use the toilets at either of the picnic spots, we then had to urinate in the bush which is not safe, as we are not supposed to leave our vehicles unless in a designated area and it is very degrading!
Unfortunately this was an emergency and we had no choice.
We then had to eat our picnic in our car which did not make for a memorable experience. The one good point was that we saw a lot of animals, but I will never recommend the Addo Park to any of my friends.
I did not see the point of complaining at the reception as I would not know if the complaint was dealt with.
The Soccer World Cup will be in your country next year and if you treat tourists like this they will certainly never come back. – Jennifer ONiell, Dundee, Scotland"

Reply from Addo (Megan in fact), with another letter attached from a reader who enjoyed the park:

"Apology for dirty Addo Elephant Park toilets after visitor’s bad experience

2009/11/13

IN response to “Disgusted at state of Addo Park facilities” (The Herald, November 6), Addo Elephant National Park management would like to assure Jennifer O’Neill, and all our visitors, that the state of the Spekboom Hide toilets as O’Neill encountered them is totally unacceptable and certainly not the normal standard of the facilities in the park.
We would like to apologise for the inconvenience this caused to O’Neill and family during their visit.
The problem with the cleaning action on that day has been taken up with the staff concerned so it does not occur again.
The picnic site in the park’s main game area has an automatic entrance gate which is triggered by a sensor plate. It seems the O’Neill family did not drive close enough to the gate to trigger this opening mechanism.
Since we have had a few reports of visitors struggling to trigger the gate-opening mechanism due to not driving over the sensor plate, we are changing the system so the gate can be opened by a visitor-operated button.
We urge all visitors to report problems to the park reception or staff as soon as they occur so these can be rectified immediately.
We hope a once-off problem does not deter visitors from experiencing the wonderful diversity and unique experience Addo Elephant National Park has to offer. – Megan Taplin, regional communications manager, SANParks
*******
I FEEL very sorry for those who have experienced a bad side to Addo Elephant National Park.
My father and I have been visiting Addo Elephant National Park regularly for the past four years to view its magnificent animals and for photography purposes. We know the park like the back of our hands and are never disappointed!
In response to the picnic site’s gate being closed, one has to drive on to the cement block in front of the gate to have it automatically open which is a safety feature, just like the ones we use in the cities in front of townhouse complexes.
The toilet at the Spekboom hide was possibly not in good working order. However toilets at the restaurant and picnic area are not in this state and we have always found them spotless!
I trust the general public and tourists will not be put off by one person’s bad experience of Addo Elephant National Park. I encourage the public and tourists to visit the Addo Elephant National Park to experience our beautiful heritage and landscapes.
Thumbs up to South African National Parks management and staff for delivering great service to all visitors and keeping the park in such great condition! – Michelle de Lange, Port Elizabeth"

An article that appeared earlier this week:

"Rundown park no pleasure

2009/11/24

IT IS of great concern that so many complaints have been seen in the papers recently about the state of the Addo Park and the environment around the park.
Tourism is such a big drawcard to the park and the surrounds, and yet complaints are being made daily, and it seems nothing has been done or is being done to sort out some of the most unacceptable problems.
The park is in decay, the gardens are not cleaned or taken care of, the walkways are unkempt at the main area, there is debris everywhere and the area is really looking rundown.
Not to talk about the 10 plus dead birds lying at the huge windows of the new building in the main area. They obviously fly into these high windows and get killed. Please put some blinds or cover inside, so that the birds cannot see the reflection of the forest in the windows and subsequently fly into the reflections with terrible results. Nine mouse birds and a beautiful turtle dove were counted, and this on only one day.
The staff at the gates are not friendly or helpful, although the reception staff usually are. The toilets in the park at the Spekboom lookout are in a terrible state and can at times not be used by guests or tourists as they are smeared with faeces, not cleaned and smelly. Obviously this is not getting looked at daily.
The new picnic spot has been closed at times, even as early as noon. Should the little delicatessen (?) at this picnic spot not be open for business? A big, beautiful building with no use whatsoever? The picnic spot is a welcome treat but surely could be more user-friendly.
Some of the directional markers (blocks) are not marked, especially when you come from the southern part of the park (Camp Matyholweni) area. Once you have passed the Spekboom area you would not know about the lookout point, as it is not marked on the block – and by then you have driven past and would not know to turn back.
The restaurant is an absolute put-off. Visitors are unhappy about the food, the pricing, the ambiance and the service.
We feel that management should take a hard look at their service to visitors as they are complaining to B&B owners and to other guests, and lots of negative vibes are going back with them.
We have had people informing us that they would not return to The Addo Elephant National Park because it had not lived up to the high standard they were used to, for instance in the Kruger National Park and others.
The curios in the shop are mainly stuff which is not made locally and therefore our own products, made by our own people, are not sold. People do not want to buy stuff from Nigeria, Zimbabwe, China, Japan or the like, so why not rather sell arts and craft made by South Africans and only sell SA products? This will surely mean that the park is supporting SA.
Lots of money is being spent on animals and infrastructure, but it seems that no money is being put back into the product itself for uplifting the quality.
It is time to start looking at this seriously. What will happen next year? Are we going to have a lot of dissatisfied, high-paying visitors with unhappy feelings about their visit to the park and then, of course, to PE and SA as a whole? This will ripple out to all product holders in the tourism industry and surely won't be good for any of them.
Please, Addo Elephant National Park's management and staff, have a meeting, get things sorted and make us proud again of this wonderful product. Make it something we can shout out about all the time and advertise with positive and happy feelings. Not many people, locals or visitors, are proud of the park at the moment.
Hope this is read by, and finds its way to, the right people at SANparks."

Im not going to comment, as I have not experienced any problems myself, just thought Id help by finding the articles that were mentioned.

Kind regards,
Pat

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 Post subject: Re: Disturbing Weekend Post newspaper article about Addo Park
Unread postPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:13 am 
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i visit addo very often. this article is completely off the point. the person who wrote it, must have been on drugs.

yes, maybe there is the odd day where there is some litter around or a garden looks neglected. but to generalise? i am sure this person's view is based only on a very critical addo visit.

i will go back again and again and again. i love addo and the staff :thumbs_up:

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