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Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by bert » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:29 am

Understand that the waterholes are created for the animals
Understand that bush and trees provide cover for those coming to drink or wanting to hunt.
But werent some waterholes created next to roads for tourist as well?

But cutting away high grass at some waterholes next to the road next to the parking does makes sense to me

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Exbrakpanite » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:34 pm

Okie a couple of points:-

You say the Kruger is not a wildlife park and then supply a text with title "Object of a park"

Trying to understand that text makes it easier to understand why not many people understand what the objects of a park are!!! What a lot of jargon was used in the old days.

But what I can understand that it is for scientific and educational purposes and also benefit and enjoyment of visitors. Now we all know the animals come first but science, education, and enjoyment all require that we see, hear, smell, and think about the animals.

Visitors must be able to calmly sit at beautiful natural spots away from the tarred roads and petrol fumes and watch this magnificent park show of its great wonders. I just cant undersdtand what the attraction is for queing up on "natural" tarred roads with 10 or more other cars often with all having their engines and airco's running.

We all love the park and clearly enjoy this paradise in many different and individual ways.

It is time for the management to tell us clearly what the future holds for those blocked views. We can then quickly move on instead of running around with silly arguments

Discussions about viewpoints being just litter bins is a wide step off the mark

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:11 pm

okie wrote:
ruud wrote: ..........something else than a viewpoint in a wildlifepark like Kruger. And also something different than viewpoint near waterholes.

Ruud , perhaps we should also get this in perspective . Kruger is not a wildlife park . It is a nature reserve - and the main purpose thereof is to conserve nature - . The main purpose therefore is not tourism . :whistle:

Here is an extract from the National Parks Act - act 57 of 1976 :

4. Object of a park
The object of the constitution of a park is the establishment, preservation and
study therein of wild animal, marine and plant life and objects of geological,
archaeological, historical, ethnological, oceanographic, educational and other
scientific interest and objects relating to the said life of the first-mentioned objects
or to events in or the history of the park, in such a manner that the area which
constitutes the park shall, as far as may be and for the benefit and enjoyment of
visitors, be retained in its natural state.

Hi Okie,

maybe it is because english is not my first language and would it be easier for me to express myself in dutch :wink: , but let me try again:
In the first place I really love to come to Kruger as soon as possible and we stay as long as possible with much pleasure!!
But of course you're right that we have to be very very careful with environments like Kruger nature reserve :wink: but I cannot find a reason why it is such a big problem to improve the visibility at many waterholes.
I don't think it has anything to do with the preservation of the heritage.
When waterholes are closed, OK no problem but than they have to take everything away so that there is no waterhole anymore.
But I hope you agree with me that for instance Renosterpan was! a nice place to park, wait and relax till lions, leopard, zebras wildbeast or whatever comes for a drink.
But now it is just impossible to have a look on the waterhole.
Only in the corner of the 'parking place' some-one with a 4x4 or bakkie started to drive 'through the bush and when 1 starts with doing so, many people follows.
IMHO it's no problem at all to cut the bushes down to the ground so that every-one has a good view.
And like Renosterpan I can find many other places like that.
Littering is definitely another discussion and has nothing to do with visibility.
And I must say that we are very happy not to drive in a economy size vehicle while we have our own 4x4.
But when I see several Sanparks-workers throughout the park cutting the grass and small bushes away close to 'No entry' signs, because than everybody can see that you are not allowed to drive that way, it also must be possible to do the same at some waterholes.
And maybe our expectations are too high or am I looking to this 'problem' in a 'European way'.
And maybe people in SA are having a different view because they can visit Kruger more or easier than 'we from Europe', but when I visit Kruger and see on a map that somewhere is a waterhole close to the road, I have a expectation to see at least something and no sometimes you can't even see anything.
I think more than 95% of Kruger visitors comes to Kruger to enjoy the wildlife and they doesn't come to look to grass, bushes or whatever at waterholes
And again you're right that tourism is not the main purpose but should there be a Kruger without tourism....? I don't think so. Saying this I have to doubt about it.

And I am told that less than 4 % of Kruger is 'open' for us tourist... so it must be possible to find a good balance in that.
I hope you do understand my point of view (due to my 'bad' english :doh: ) but you don't have to agree with me :thumbs_up: and maybe I park my 4x4 next to you're Landy sometimes :wink:

Nice discussion!!

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by picnic » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:10 pm

Ruud, it all makes good sense. :) Just a little bit of TLC at waterholes and view points. :thumbs_up:

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by okie » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:20 pm

Ruud , You are right . The English is not a problem either . Some places can certainly have BETTER viewing , with less obstruction . But we must also understand that it is not an easy task to keep ALL of those viewing places in tip-top condition specifically for viewing , mere because of the vast number that are there . For instance , just a short drive down along the Sabie river have many many drive-ins and loops and just to keep them trimmed etc , would be a task requiring many many man-hours .

But in the end - yes , we all agree , the park is there for our enjoyment , as long as we can maintain it in as natural state as possible .
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Lesego » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:09 am

I forwarded this to the Kruger Management and they have acknowledged this suggestion. :)

KNP will certainly take this up with relevant managers at the regions (Technical Services and maybe rangers as well) for them to look at the possibility of clearing.
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by forestgump » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:22 am

Some of that vegetation , creates great cover for predators ambushing at waterholes....or to scare tourists at viewpoints.
I remember they cleared the reeds in front of Skukuza last year. It was an eyesore to see a patch of reeds slashed on the riverbed.
Let the bush be.
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Sat Apr 28, 2012 2:29 pm

bushbuck87 wrote:Arn`t we, conservationists first and then view then Photograph the natrual splenders we find in the bush? :big_eyes: :doh:
If the vegetation is cleared from these areas, maybe a whole little eco-system could be destoyed forever. Or a sapling of a future Baobab, Natal Mahogany etc could never get the chance to life. Dosen`t the bush have write to survive as any other animal in the Parks. :gflower:
To me it looks like the same old story man come first with his greed and then our fragile eco-system come last. :sniper: :wall:

do you ever visit any of the birdhides in Kruger??


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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by bushbuck87 » Mon Apr 30, 2012 12:35 pm

ruud, Yes i do visit hides and if the vegetation is overgrown i accept it as part of the system.
A hide is a place of concealment for observing wildlife, so the more camouflaged it is with vegetation the better.
I would suggest building a few observation towers in remote parts of the park then no bush needs to be cleared, they work well in other game reserves

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by King_Of_The_Hill » Wed May 02, 2012 2:17 pm

KNP is such a special place and provides its visitors an unforgettable experience. However, it's easy to forget that conservation comes first. I for one can't stand the sight of a manicured area if not within camps or picnic spots - so I'm ok with "overgrown" view points.

The animals are everywhere, and spotting them is simply the "luck of the draw", however clear or overgrown the viewpoints are. We must remember we aren't "entitled" to sightings nor are we guaranteed them.

Also remember that in the drier periods these view points should be less overgrown anyway, so the experience isn't totally lost.
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Thu May 03, 2012 9:14 am

Exbrakpanite wrote:King of the Hill, I completely agree with you about needing luck. We have spent 4-6 months a year for the last 6 years in parks throughout Africa. We dont want manicuring. We live in our roof top tent above our Landcruiser, and are out at first light and only return to our base camp as the sunsets. Yes, like you, we want to be in the wild. I can agree entirely with a philosophy let the KNP be wild. But then explain to me the need for tarred roads and fancy camps. In other words there are compromises and the preservation of our heritage will need increasing finance including that gained by attracting tourists to this paradise.

But that means being able to see, listen, and smell the game, and thus feel deeply what this paradise means. If you go back to the photo on this topic with the martial eagle behind the reeds, you will agree it won't excite many of the new or regular visitors unless you sit and wait until he soars up into the sky. No give me a fair chance as we sit up to eight hours a day waiting for a bird to fly, a leopard to yawn, a springbok to pronk, a cheetah to chase, or a butterfly to flutter gently by. But enough of words, our different opinions are healthy and will persist. I think my wife and I can best express our love for the wonderful opportunities and experiences the parks of Africa have given us much more eloquently through our photographs :cam:

I wonder how many of the different opinions are related to either being a spotter that can remove the foregrounds in their minds versus the photographers who spend hours trying to find optimal fore and backgrounds to create the optimal bokeh at the view site, and then more hours with post production work. At all times of course being honest with depicting the true raw Africa

Hi Exbrakpanite!! :wink:

I couldn't explain it better :thumbs_up:

You know us, and like you and you're wife we try to be as long as possible in 'the bush' exploring at least 9 or 10 hours each day beautifull places like Kruger. And trying to find the best location to make 'wildlifephotos'. This discussion has nothing to do with an 'manmade landscape' but has everything to do with the expectations of Krugervisitors. "let the bush be the bush'?????? and what about controlled veldfires??? what about building birdhides (IMHO nothing wrong with that!! :lol: ) and what about building a new hotel in Kruger. Offcourse conservation is 1 of the most important things, but you cannot see one thing without the other. It is important to find the right balance between conservation and the expectations of the visitors. And I think improving the visibilty of some waterholes/viewpoints has no impact on the totall environment of Kruger. About 96% of Kruger is 'wild' and visitors of Kruger has no entry to that area. The other 4% of open for visitors. ´clear´ some waterholes or viewpoints (and I don´t mean chop everything away but just make viewing a little easier or pleasant) is really now problem at all. And it provides things like what happens at for instance at Renosterpan, driving with your 4x4 through the bush and ´make´ your own viewpoint. Or people hanging out their car or roof as far as possible to have a better view on whatever there is at that moment. Isn´t it a little strange that the best place for the waterhole at the fence of Talamati is just outside the gate and not from the birdhide in the camp. :hmz:
So just cut some small bushes down to the ground and you don´t need to sit in your car outside the fence the get some good shots but relax at the birdhide.
And another strange suggestion: ´let the bush be the bush´? let´s get all the tar out of Kruger :mrgreen:
I like the dirtroads and maybe speeding will be more difficult.... 8)

Last edited by ruud on Thu May 03, 2012 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Fri May 04, 2012 11:21 am

bushbuck87 wrote:It sounds like some of you bush cutters put photography first and the bush second for that award winning shot which would not be natural after all. :cam:
It sounds like some of you could be professional photographers and in that case i can understand your reasons.
I would suggest you check under Sanparks Policies "Filming and Phototography" but i`m sure you are already aware of this. :hmz:
So all i can say is leave the bush for the animals to trim and shape it. :thumbs_up:

Hi Bushbuck87,

cutting some bushes doesn't mean photography comes first. And no I am not a professional photographer.
I wish it was true :mrgreen: . I have to work hard in Holland to be able to visit Kruger.I think I pay a lot off money to visit Kruger. But that's not the issue. Just a few!!!! places in Kruger where tourist like I am can come with a little more visibility..... :hmz:
Does that mean photography comes first???? No not at all, and I still haven't heard any good reason not to do so.
And offcourse the bush is for the animals but like always..... find the good balance. The bush is not the bush only for animals. Why are people building camps, hotels roads and so on through Kruger. Yes, to make it possible for visitors to visit this beautifull place, or is Kruger going to be closed...!? I don't hope so :thumbs_up:

So let's make a viewpoint a point with VIEW!
And I don't think any animal will think; 'Hey what are these guys doing with those bushes!!!??? :wink:


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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Fri May 04, 2012 10:41 pm

bushbuck87 wrote:Hi ruud, thats why we have ended up with game reserves like Kruger,because man has cut a little bush here and there, build here and there and pushed wildlife in to places they had no say about.
Leave the bush as is no cut cut here and no cut cut there. :mrgreen:

Hi Bushbuck, I respect the way you look at it. But I don't agree with you. :naughty:
I still haven't heard any good reason what the problem is to improve visibility at some places. Just say 'dont do it' is too easy. Improving visibility doesn't push wildlife into places they had no say about , as you say to me.
I hope some one can tell me why it shouldn't be done.... I can't find them

Last edited by ruud on Sat May 05, 2012 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by johanrebel » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:27 pm

Once upon a time, SANParks in their wisdom decided it would be good idea to drill a bunch of boreholes and provide artificial drinking points all over the place. They may regret it now, but have nevertheless decided to keep a number of these waterholes open, especially along tourist roads. Some of these waterholes even have special viewing loops for the benefit of those who want to watch the animals drink. These waterholes are unnatural, and have a major impact on the surrounding environment. The (link)roads are also unnatural, and also have an impact on the environment. Compared to that, the environmental impact of judiciously removing a bush or two between road and waterhole is not even trivial, it is negligible.

Offical viewpoints should either be properly maintained, and that includes bush clearing to ensure a proper view, or else closed. That means removing signs, taking them off maps and closing any loops.


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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by pops » Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:59 am

Greetings to all forumites.I have read through the various points made and must confess that I agree with some and disagree with others.

I agree that viewpoints should be kept as viewpoints and the offending bush or grass should be cut down to a reasonable height. (OK OK what is a reasonable height I hear you shouting and I would say about half a metre). Cutting the encroaching bush down to that height will certainly retard growth for some time so maintenance would be relatively low. I am sure that this would be considered user friendly and would be acceptable to all as it has a low impact on the vegetation and habitat and it will over time recover.

However when it comes to cutting swathes of bush and grass between roads and rivers then I feel that we are putting the vegetation and habitat under extreme pressure and it should be discouraged.

BUT until such time as SANParks gives us an indication of which they are going we will have to wait. But we don't want to be kept waiting too long as forumites have a habit of jumping to erroneous conclusions. So SANParks if you intend keeping the viewpoints tell us so and tell us how you intend to make them user friendly. If you do not intend keeping them then say so and back up your decision by blocking loops/roads to these viewpoints and force cartographers to remove them from maps. I can't, in my opinion, see SANParks doing away with viewpoints but they have to put some effort in with regard to bush encroachment and clearing the mess others leave behind. Remember they, the ones not respecting the property, are in the minority and in all probability are not true nature lovers or respecters of other peoples property.

Let us not reach boiling point but calm down and wait and see what SANParks proposes in connection with this problem. BUT please SANParks don't keep us waiting too long. Remember that most of the time we are on your side and reading from the same hymn sheet.

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