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SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

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Elsa
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SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Elsa » Sat Mar 11, 2017 6:06 pm

Following a host of complaints by guests on various social media platforms in relation to the quality of service experienced by guests at Letaba, Satara and Olifants restaurants in Kruger National Park, South African National Parks would like to put it on record that it is in dispute with the operator of former Mugg & Bean outlets at the above mentioned rest camps.

According to SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa, SANParks is currently embarking on an arbitration process with the operator in question and is unable to confirm how long will the process take. “But arbitration proceeding are underway.”

He said in an effort to address this challenge and improve service standards for the comfort of our guests booked at the affected rest camp, “SANParks will endeavour to put temporary substitutes particularly during peak times.”

“SANParks management sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience and hopes that your stay in the park will be a memorable one as always,” concluded Mabasa.

Issued by:
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel 012 426 5170

Media Enquiries:
William Mabasa
Acting Head of Communications, SANParks
Tel: 013 735 4363; Cell: 082 807 3919
E-mail: william.mabasa@sanparks.org

Reynold “ReyT” Thakhuli
GM: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, SANParks
Tel: 012 426 5203; Cell: 073 373 4999
E-mail: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org
Kruger - 16th Feb to 8th March 2017

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by trishoz1 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:44 pm

Hi Elsa
Does this mean we should be bringing food in with us? Are there any shops to buy snacks etc or should we be bringing them with us as well?
Thanks
Trisha

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Elsa » Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:35 pm

Trish, the restaurants are offering some food off a limited menu plus the shops are mostly very well stocked nowadays so I'm sure you will find enough to eat. :thumbs_up:
Enjoy your trip. 8)
Kruger - 16th Feb to 8th March 2017

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by trishoz1 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:41 am

Thanks Elsa. Really looking forward to our trip to Kruger as this is our first time!

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:52 am

I am rather surprised to see Olifants on the list. I had a marvelous experience there. It was a tremendous improvement on previous years. I was also there at the high of the holiday season.
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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by cheetahlady » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:10 am

MM, I think the same group ran all 3 and M&B cancelled their agreement with the operator :(

Trish, not sure where you are travelling from. We bring a small picnic set from the US. We always self cater (bbq) and like to cook breakfast at the picnic sites (gas skottles are available for hire). The shops have a decent range of food items. Skukuza, Letaba and Lower Sabie have the biggest range. I know not everyone wants to cook, but the option is there, so you wont go hungry. The shops do sell paper plates etc, so you could always go that route.

I do suggest that you bring a thermos and travel mugs. Lovely to have tea or coffee on the road in the morning. There is boiling water available at the communal kitchens or you will have a kettle if your accomodation has its own kitchen.

Have a wonderful trip.
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KNP June 2017 Mopani, Shingwedzi, Letaba, Satara, Pretoriuskop, Berg-en-Dal

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Yoda » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:44 am

That's a shame.
We always found that the M & B at Olifants was very good.
Well run with attentive staff, and excellent food
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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by trishoz1 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:06 pm

Thanks Cheetahlady. We are coming from Australia but will be in CT prior to flying into Skukuza. Our accommodation has a kitchen so will bring a cooler bag and ice brick with some food from CT. I like the idea of a BBQ. We will be at Lower Sabie for one night and Satara for 3 nights. Great idea re: thermos flasks as we will probably take a picnic lunch out whilst we explore!
Very excited.

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by dellac » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:29 pm

We in Oliphants restaurant at the moment and I must congratulate the Parks for the way they have taken over and dealt with the problem.. you can still have food, maybe not the full menu but a good simple range ....
berg-en-dal17/2 ... Biyamati 18/19 .. Satara 20/2 .. Shimuwini 21/22 .. Satara 23/24 ..berg-en-dal 25/02
Addo 3/4 March
LS 10/11/03 .. Satara 12/13/.. Letaba 14th .. Talamati 15/16 . Berg-en-dal 17th..:

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by carolv » Tue Mar 21, 2017 3:29 pm

We are just back from a Kruger trip (literally landed this morning) and only heard bits and pieces whilst in the Park about this problem. At Letaba people were eating in the restaurant but Tindlovu also had a sort of Pop-Up cafe near the Elephant Museum. At Olifants, also saw plenty of people eating at M & B. Stopped a couple of times at the Lower Sabie Mugg & Bean - service slow, food and drinks served ages apart but experienced worse in November. The one which caused us most concern was at Satara where the staff seemed uninterested in anything or anybody and just trying to get a takeaway (we usually self cater for all meals but had been out for a very long time and just wanted a quick something) proved an experience we would not wish to repeat. We were also shocked at how few customers they had. After all the original enthusiasm when the franchises were awarded, it is sad that it has taken such a short time to be in trouble.

On the plus side - Cattle Baron at Skukuza were great (food and service) and Tindlovu are working very hard at Afsaal to keep customers satisfied and, when they have had problems, dealt with them as quickly as possible. Tshokwane was also very good.
My Trip Report for Dec 2015 and Jan 2016:
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=91702

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Rooies » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:30 pm

When are we going to see some stability in the catering business in Kruger. How many times have ownership of the restaurants and eateries at the picnic sites changed over the past few years? It is announced with big fanfare that ABC or XYZ has taken over a restaurant only to hear a couple of months later that it is closing down. Why can't they give it to someone with a proven track record in the restaurant business? I hear that the franchisee of the Mugg and Beans was the owner of a now defunct soccer club who once competed in the PSL. If you cannot run a soccer club, how will you be able to handle a restaurant? Kruger is surely not a training ground for aspirant restauranteurs.

Our distinguished guests from other countries must be laughing at our inability to do things right the first time.

And while I have the microphone, why was the old system with in house caterers abolished? You did not get fancy food but good home made food at a reasonable price.
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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by granjan » Tue Mar 21, 2017 11:28 pm

We too were in Kruger in November and had an appalling experience in Oliphants Mugg and Bean with very rude staff and non appearance of our order after more than an hour. We left hungry and when we asked to speak to a manager on our way out were completely ignored.
In contrast, we had a good experience at Satara. A very pleasant waitress apologised at the outset that certain items weren't available but the meals we ordered came reasonably quickly and the staff were very pleasant.

Having said that, we too can recall great homely food and good service twenty or so years ago from in house caterers.

Is it a sign of getting old when we want things to be like they used to be?

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:42 am

I had mixed experiences from 'Mug n Bean'. It does seem the The Cattle Baron has hit the right button.

I do think that such a large menu from 'Mug n Bean' was a bit ambitious. The logistics of keeping enough food in stock in heat that reaches over 40 degrees in the height of holiday season is close to impossible. I saw that many items could not be served, as they had run out of stock. My advice would be to 'keep it simple'.

It is when people's expectations are too high that discontent happens. A large menu takes too much time and the facilities are inadequate for this purpose.

As far as staff training goes, Cattle Baron seems to have hit the right button. Skukuza is closer to suppliers, so they do not have the same logistical problems. I think that they seems to have worked out a very good system though.

I do believe that it is important to keep an open mind. As long as folk are willing to work on a problem, solutions can be found. This is very normal in business. We live in a fast changing world where instant gratification has become the norm. It is difficult to slow down.

Rooies, I observed overseas visitors taking things in their stride. The rudeness that I witnessed was only from South African visitors. Quite honestly, that embarrassed me more than any slow service.
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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by Elsa » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:48 am

I think its a great pity that problems has arisen with the 3 Mugg & Beans of late due possibly to one franchsee and we must remember that in general visitors have been very happy with the food and the service since they opened in 2014 but no matter what or who and whichever chain is opened or type of food that is offered, there will always be some that are happy and some that are not, just a fact of life.
In the past years SANParks received great and many complaints re the in house food and eventually decided to ask us the visitors in a survey what we wanted and it was overwhelmly voted for a change and for one of the fast food chains like M & B .
I'm quite sure this "hiccup" will be soon be sorted out and all will be back to normal business again. :thumbs_up:
The thing to remember is as much as we may want to, we can't go back to the "old days" of the park and have to accept that as in life there will always be change and progression, ups and downs.
At least we can still enjoy the animals, fauna and flora of our beautiful and iconic park, may that never change!
Kruger - 16th Feb to 8th March 2017

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Re: SANParks in dispute with Restaurant operator at Satara, Olifants and Letaba Camps in the Kruger National Park

Unread post by George_Brits » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:41 am

I agree with most of you, I had mixed experiences with the restaurant operator at Olifants too, but, I can only commend the quality of food and service that one can get from the restaurant operators at Shingwedzi and Mopani...


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