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Kruger Self Drive under Review

Discuss current issues and events happening in the parks.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by G@mespotter » Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:04 pm

I for example would like to see a complete ban on radio's in OSV, as well as all electronic sightings applicatons. The disadvantages can be more than the advantages. OSV's won't be able to communicate via radio then making logistics a little harder, however sightings will be less crowded as people are bound to find their own sightings.

I would also plead for additional picnic spots, especially for areas far from the camps, a sample being the s26 - H5 area. Not many people would go there as there are no toiletfacilities in that area, making it harder to visit remote area's. SANParks can promote drives to remote areas by adding a few extra picnicsports, like somewhere along the s26 / H5, or perhapds the s37 (Tshokwane / Sweni raod).
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by squirrel_asc » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:30 pm

I am very highly in favour of putting a tracking device on every vehicle that enters. This will empower SANParks to do so much!

  • Detect speeding
  • Detect people driving on no-access roads
  • Detect people not leaving the park when they should (so it helps the anti-poaching effort too 8) )
  • Detect people who have not moved for a very long time, and may be in trouble. This would be especially applicable in the North, where you don't have cellphone reception between camps. (see, it works in the visitor's favour as well!)

And of course, this would only work if offenders are required to pay at the exit.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by gbird » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:02 am

I am all for a total ban on radios and sightings apps but how do you enforce it?
Let's leave the S26/H5/S37 areas as is - a few places where you can get away from the masses.
I understand the business needs of the OSVs but when you are stuck behind four or five of them you have zero chance of seeing anything, the H3 being particularly bad. I would like to see overnight visitors having a clear hour start by ensuring that camp gates always open one hour before OSVs are allowed in at the entrance gates. (Or entrance gates opening one hour after camp gates)

Tracking devices - couldn't agree more. But the entry / exit permit system needs to be improved first by ensuring that at every camp you are either given a permit which allows you to exit the park (at a specific gate) or to travel to the next camp. Non-arrivals and deviations need to be followed up. At present there is no continuity if you have a series of separate reservations and you are free to move in the park without sufficient supervision.

I would also like to see a lower speed limit before sunrise and a total ban on the use of spotlights other than from Sanparks vehicles.

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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:31 am

I so agree on the ban on sightings apps. I have seen such an increase in bad behavior and speeding. I is not impossible to put a stop to it, as there is one app in particular causing most of the problems.

There should also be a time limit on the amount of time OSV's (any tourists really) are allowed to stay at sightings. I also agree about the ban of two way radios for OSV's.

Most of us have cell phones and are able to take pictures of people and vehicles. I would like to see the introduction of a dedicated and centralized line where tourists can report offenders. There is a line for emergencies, but this should not be used for the purpose of reporting bad behavior. Perhaps the Honarary Rangers could get involved with this kind of initiative.

Sanparks needs to introduce clear consequences to the breaking of rules and the consequences need to be immediate.

Some roads are more sensitive than others. Certain gravel roads should be open only to 4X4. Mapungubwe has roads only open to 4X4's.

Of course, a very radical solution, would be to have the camp drives available for free and those wanting to use the roads to pay a fee, and have tracker on the vehicle. Any speeding would result in a fine as well as the privilege of self driving taken away.

All delivery vehicles need speeding trackers and any infringement meets with serious, serious penalties. Perhaps even the cancelling of contracts.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by salamanda » Tue Dec 05, 2017 6:20 am

I too have completed the questionnaire. I thought it was a good one. There were many suggestions which gave pause for thought, and some good ideas.

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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by Merlin11 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:20 am

This maybe off topic but not sure where else to post this question :hmz:

Is the communication ban on rhino sightings not relevant to OSV’s? Can poachers not pick up and listen to the OSV broadcasts?

My questions come from our experience a few weeks ago, we were travelling down a little used gravel road, (I say little used it was the previous days we had used it), we were being passed by OSV’s, we came across a rhino sighting (a number of rhinos), just us and 9 OSV’s :hmz:
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:20 am

Merlin11 wrote:This maybe off topic but not sure where else to post this question :hmz:

Is the communication ban on rhino sightings not relevant to OSV’s? Can poachers not pick up and listen to the OSV broadcasts?

My questions come from our experience a few weeks ago, we were travelling down a little used gravel road, (I say little used it was the previous days we had used it), we were being passed by OSV’s, we came across a rhino sighting (a number of rhinos), just us and 9 OSV’s :hmz:


Thank you Merlin. I think that you have brought up a very important point.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:01 am

Yes a very good point indeed Merlin 11 and MM 8) I even believe that all necessary precaution should be taken against any form of poaching, whether it is poaching rhino, elephant, pangolin or whatever. There is always the possibility of a few 'corrupted' individuals who will make use of the radio system to radio in Rhino sightings. It's easy to switch channels and make use of coded language to radio these sightings through, with coordinates.

Banning radiotraffic
As I see it making use of radio's in Kruger has the disadvantage of 1) abuse of radio-ing sightings 2) leading to more frequesnt traffic congestions at a faster pace. Therefore banning all radio activity (except for maybe section rangers) will be a good start of taking these issues seriously. The radioban should not be limited to OSV but to all visitors. This is even more so as most of the rhino's are in the south, making them even more prone to radio abuse as the border with populated areas where poaching teams might be waiting is never far

Limited datarage (banning sightingsapps)
Secondly, with regards to the banning of sightings app, SANParks can think of way to curb this issue, for instance by requesting the telecommunication service provider to limit the data supply range to camps only. Normal phoning and sms can stay, for the emergency cases. I'm not a telecommunniction specialist, but I believe with technology and computers it should be possible to switch off data supply to most Kruger regions, only making it possible to have data for example in the camps. I'll introduce this measure as the camp datarangelimit. This will also help the fight against against poaching in the same way I have pleaded for an all over radio ban. Secondly visitors will then also not be able to use Whatsapp (only a camps) as this app also works with data. It will force visitors to find their own sightings. So too it will make the poaching more difficult as they will not be able to comunicate via radio and whatsapp. If they still use radio's it might be intercepted with a scanner, and whatsapp cannot be used, therefore they are forced to use other communication systems, making it more difficult to execute and easier to trace.

Picnicspots
:pray: gbird, I have to disagree with you. There should be an extra picnicspot along the s26/H5/s102 route. One CANNOT make the choice of adding 400+ beds to the South Kruger on the one hand, and on the other hand leave the whole of central Kruger mostly unused due to the absence of a picnic spot there. I'm thinking of a low impact picnicspot like Mudzandzeni, just a loo or two and a place to stretch one's legs. I do agree, I too would love to see less congested roads in the South, but we all know SANParks is currently busy with an unprecedented expansion...We need practical solutions more than some ideal sutuation, as SANParks themselves are taking a lead in the 'zoofication' of Southern Kruger. Not my first choice either! It is their choice, if it were mine I would not approve the 400+ beds and concentrate on the North and make the Limpopo National Park (Moz) side more attractive. However, sinve they made the choice to add a possible +150 cars for those extra beds, they should make the said region around Mpondodam more accessible, or possibly the s37. With the one choice inevitably comes the other, there is just no other way to spread the traffic at this moment, considering the current road availibility. Unless you want half these cars in the s25 or H3, and a more crowded Afsaal.. It's a choice between bad or worst, I choose bad.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:04 am

By the way, just had to fill in round two of the questionnaire with 'solutions' to the four biggest problems, being 1). Traffic congestions 2) Visitor behaviour at animal sightings 3) Congestions at the gates. If :roll: forgot the fourth category, think it was enforcement of transgressions or something similar. Banning radio and sightings app were not proposed solutions :o
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by salamanda » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:57 pm

I have also filled in the second survey. I think speeding may have been the fourth one ? I commented on the sightings apps problem being ignored as if it is left I think it will impact adversely on many of the other suggestions.

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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by G@mespotter » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:08 pm

salamanda wrote:I think speeding may have been the fourth one ? I commented on the sightings apps problem being ignored as if it is left I think it will impact adversely on many of the other suggestions.


Yes speeding was the fourth issue. Thanks, I did the same with regards to the app, really feels like this slips through, but it is a major contributor to congestions :thumbs_up:
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by salamanda » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:09 am

G@mespotter wrote:
Yes speeding was the fourth issue. Thanks, I did the same with regards to the app, really feels like this slips through, but it is a major contributor to congestions :thumbs_up:


I suspect the App problem is permitted to slip thorough because they don't really know what to do about it. . . .

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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by Grantmissy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:42 am

I have also completed the two surveys and noticed that the App issue is not there. According to my observation the App is one of, if not , the major contributor to serious congestions and overcrowding at animal sightings, speeding, killing of animals and inconsiderate behaviour. During October we were at Tshokwane and just about three kilometres on the Tshokwane road towards Lower-Sabie there was a leopard with a porcupine kill and a frenzy was started by cell phone users who most probably got informed on the App of the leopard with its kill at the side of the road. Most did not get anywhere near the sighting though as cars were lined-up from Tshokwane and from Lower-Sabie. The road to Skukuza was quiet though until the lion sightings on both of the Skukuza/Lower-Sabie roads were broadcasted. Fortunately for us we got past the lions in one piece before the real rush from the Skukuza side started. We stopped counting how many vehicles sped past us. I really do not know what they have seen as the lions were encircled by vehicles and within minutes traffic got grid-locked and no one could get past and more vehicles came rushing with excited drivers and passengers but they came to a grinding halt very far from the where the lions actually were.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:58 am

I wonder why the app issue is not there. :hmz:

I would put that as number one. It is the main reason why I am not venturing south for my next visit.
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Re: Kruger Self Drive under Review

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:55 am

Having been 'out of the loop' in Kruger the past weeks, this topic is really interesting - thank you for the discussions, input and effort here guys!
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