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Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

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Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Exbrakpanite » Sat Mar 24, 2012 9:11 am

First to get the balance of this point right, I want to clearly state how much pleasure we have had in our numerous visits to the park, and also our appreciation of a superb booking system and the friendly and wonderful camping facilities (compare the camps in Serengeti if you survive!).

However there can be improvements, as with everything.
My comment relates to the viewing points.
I know how busy the parks personnel must be, but surely maintenance of the viewing points must become a priority.
The viewing points in so many places along the rivers from north to south no longer offer any view.
This seriously limits sightings and wonderful photographic opportunities.
Granted my wife and I are camera mad but these problems have important general effects.

Photography is an exponentially growing hobby due to the digital era and keeping the viewing points open would allow the KNP to climb this specific league table.
Furthermore traffic congestion along the roads would be less if cars could be enticed to spend more time at the many viewpoints all over the KNP.
At the moment it is drive in and drive away as you find the view has disappeared in the last years, even though an entrance is present!!

To balance my criticism, thousands do like us, enjoy the pleasures, of the most beautifully varied of all the parks in Africa.
Further Shem Campion in his recent book rates the KNP very high for wildlife photography.
All I am humbly suggesting is that with a bit of gardening it could be so much better.

To end with an example, turn off at the first viewpoint after turning right to head for Bateleur camp on the S52 after crossing the Shingwedzi causeway.
A few years ago, we saw a fish eagle swoop down on 2 Saddle bill storks to try and steal their barbel, followed by a leopard 5 minutes later on the rocks.
Thus we return to that site again and again.
Unfortunately it is now so overgrown you cant even see the rocks.
I do of course have my memories and overexposed white eagles wings (dammit)!!!
Last edited by Exbrakpanite on Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Lesego » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:12 am

Hi Exbrakpanite;

Thank you for this and I will forward it to our KNP management and hear what they say. :thumbs_up:

Have a lovely day ahead.
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:26 am

I agree with you for 200%.
Not just your constructive criticism of the viewing points and waterholes!! don't forget it, but also the pleasure we have when we are in Kruger.
We can't wait for the next time.
But we are just back from a 2 weeks stay in Kruger and also waterholes has very bad views.
Try to have a view at Renosterpan...... it's almost invisible.
The best view on the waterhole at the Talamati fence is not out of the hide but right outside the gate.
The road to Muhlambamadvude is closed for at least 3 years I think.... for what reason???
It was a really good places to take good photo's :hmz:
The waterhole Shishangani (along the tar to Nwanetsi)
I have even never seen that waterhole...??
Waterhole Welverdiend.....bushes bushes bushes.
And so on.
7 km's north of Satara on the west side of the road, far in the field there is a waterhole, I think Witpens. Every time I pass that waterhole I see lots and lots of animals, Rhino, zebra's ,giraffe, wildebeest, warthogs. But it is so far away that even with binoculars it is too far.
It should be great if there was a 'dirt road' to that waterhole.
It shouldn't be a problem I think.

There must be a way to improve the visibility with a minimal effect on the environment.


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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Elsa » Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:12 pm

To add another dimension, as was our experience last month, it can lead to protruding, we popped into Mestel Dam near Pretoriuskop where we hadn't been for ages only to find the grass so high it was virtually impossible to see anything.
Parked there was a car with some French speaking tourists who were both outside the car, one person completely outside standing up, next to the long grass! and the other, standing on the door sill and looking over the top of the car.
We pulled up next to them and tried to explain to them that it not only was it very dangerous but also breaking the rules of the park.
Their reply in very broken English was that they couldn't see the water and they wanted to take some photos.
We were quite concerned as there was an Ellie who looked as if he was about to come down the little road leading to the dam and with both their backs turned away from it, could have led to a nasty situation.
I am sure the grass will be down in winter but others with bushes not so much.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Mant » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:10 am

Some of the viewpoints are absolutely shocking.
With trees and bushes in the way that you can hardly see anything.

Especially the viewpoint by Orpen.
You can't see zilch there.
That is where they told us that you could see a leopard with her cubs, because apparently she has got a den there, but how the heck are you supposed to see anything. :wall: with all the trees in the way.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by DinkyBird » Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:49 am

The thing is this is a nature area where nature is being conserved. Should it be tampered with so we humans can have a good view .... don't we tamper with enough of the globe as it is :whistle:
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by kite » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:26 am

If it is a designated viewpoint, then it could be opened up.
After all we do want good visibility at a viewpoint.
The whole park is a managed area with humans visiting and living there.
There are wilderness areas that we cannot access and these can be in a natural state.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Exbrakpanite » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:36 am

I find your point a very important one. However when I drive along the tar roads, which I dislike intensely, i wonder what is interference, what is conservation, and the right balance. If we take your viewpoint, thats fine, but then close up those viewpoints that are overgrown.

Its all a matter of balance. This balance can be judged by people much more experienced and capable that I am. However sometimes it seems that the viewpoints have deteriorated out of forgotten neglect or financial restrictions rather than a nature conservation policy. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If we can entice people to sit and stare and dream as they gaze over wonderful scenes I feel nature is benefitting not losing out.

So we always interfere. we must however find the right recipe so that wildlife benefit from our intrusions. Allowing people a clear view of the wonderful events that occur in the KNP will aid conservation not disturb it.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Safari Gal » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:10 am

I love those river views roads you turn off to between Orpen and Satara - they are wonderful and one can sit there for ages. Amazing what does just happen to pass by in the dry river bed below. Views of dry river beds hold a certain fascination and I agree that a little bit of TLC would be great.
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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by bushbuck87 » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:49 am

I say leave the bush as is and don't do any clearing and leave it to take care of its self naturally.
If visitors find the bush to thick they can book their next visit in the drier months when the bush and grass has died back.
This is actually the best time to visit these spots because water is limited and large amounts of different species gather to drink and interact offering better viewing and photographic opportunity. :cam: :cam: :thumbs_up:

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by threedogs » Fri Mar 30, 2012 11:50 am

I think designated areas which have been utilised as viewpoints for some time should be maintained.
I do think it is important to afford a good view for visitors at these places.
Maybe it could even go a little way to deter the temptation of some in pulling off onto the road verge in other areas to get a better look.
The thing with maintenance, is that it should be done little and often.
Left for any time the job soon becomes a big one requiring more manpower and time and equipment.
I think the Sanparks managers whom this sort of job falls to in each area should try to draw up a maintenance schedule for this work once a year

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by barryels » Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:46 pm

This is quite an important topic and I think that Lesego's referral to KNP management is the correct step.
We all should remember that the planning and construction of these view points were done a long time ago and decisions then made should therefore be revisited.
It is the same with waterholes that are closing down for conservation purposes.
I also personally encountered view points that is actually not suppose to be open anymore.
The environment changed to such an extent that these view points can be closed instead of opened up again. Some examples can be found on the S100 for instance.
I also agree that some view points can be modified without tampering to much with nature.
Always be humble and understanding.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by ruud » Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:44 pm

3chordmonty wrote:This is really ridiculous to expect, from a simple logistics position, clearing that amount of bush, let alone asking management to have it done in the first place or blaming them for not maintaining the place?
2 Rifles required to guard the people working. Say a team of 10 people can clear 1km/day (highly unlikely), 5 days a week, 2000km of road. 400 days and they now in Pafuri and have to go back to Croc bridge and start again cause summer has destroyed their work since the were last there!

Its an ecosystem not a theme park, it is rightly so, kept, as is.
The camps and designated tourist sites are kept clear for obvious safety reasons, not so that it can be more easily accessible for photo taking or viewing, that is a perk, not necessity.

An EIS is required when wanting to clear a measly 20m of bush........what would be required to clear nearly 800000m2 of verges and lookout points?

Roads maintained and facilities kept clean and tidy, that is what I expect and demand, the rest is just a bonus.

It may be clear that I don't agree with you.
Why are viewpoints or hides made for.... why do I get the advice: 'drive to a waterhole, wait relax and enjoy the wildlife and maybe take some good photo's' , while it is impossible to have a good view on the waterhole.
In Etosha they know how to do it. almost every waterhole has a good view!!
I don't think it takes 12 man to clear the view at some waterholes.
People visiting Kruger for the wildlife IMHO, so what is problem to make some better views.
Only 4% of the park is 'open' for visitors so 96% can stay really 'wild' .
I don't see the problem.
Roads Maintained....?? that's not the reason for most people to visit Kruger, they do come for something else, like birds, ellies, buffs, lions, leopards and so on....... :cam: :thumbs_up:


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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by Exbrakpanite » Sat Mar 31, 2012 8:33 am

As expected there are views that are poles apart.
I am pleased that the upkeep of this magnificent park and the work done by the hard working staff has been so fervently debated.

The animals are the priority.
They must be protected but this will require the continuing interest of people all over the world, and as a consequence their financial input.
On the one hand the less visible the animals become, the more peaceful their life will be and the less attractive the KNP will become for some visitors.
On the other hand a godsend with less traffic jams but this is a non viable dream.

I stated in the very beginning that this criticism is meant to be constructive and the question remains what is the best balance for the animals of the KNP, or any other of the great parks of SA, and Africa.
Others will decide this.

If you believe in less interference and want less upkeep, I can accept that.
But then close those selected viewpoints down and not let unsuspecting visitors wander into blind green alleys spewing out more pollution as the turn around or try to reverse out. ( bit dramatic this last bit I know, but trying to make my point!!).
Further publish this new policy so that visitors know what the management has decided for the future.
On the other hand the park is to attract viewers to make them aware of our glorious, but threatened heritage.
Then this will requires improvement with places for people to relax and stare, dream and be aware of what a wonderful world we live in.
A place next to a river, under the shade of a giant tree, and animals in the distance, and running engines and moving wheels even further away.
Who then needs to try to get into heaven anywhere else!

Two last practical points.
There are complaints about the traffic jams in the park.
We no longer stay in the magnificent Skukuza area, but after visiting to Lake Panic head north east or west as soon as very slowly is possible. (I hate tar!!).
An analysis of the effect of opening up all the non used but already present and now overgrown viewpoints may show that less congestion of the roads and less release of contaminating exhaust fumes may result.

Photography is not not the just taking pictures.
Staring for hours, up to 10 hours a day from first light to dusk, waiting for decisive moments, month after month brings so many opportunities to view and learn about the little big things in nature.
Photography is a tool that we must use to protect our wildlife.
Let the people see the magnificent animals through viewfinders and not rifle sites.

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Re: Contructive criticism of the viewing points in KNP

Unread post by 3chordmonty » Tue Apr 03, 2012 10:59 pm

I am afraid just cause you do not agree with my statements, does not meant that they are wrong.
It took 10 of us half a day to clear a perimeter fence in a camp in a work party during January. That fence was only probably a couple of hundred meters all the way round and we had cleared it the year before so it was easier than the previous year which took 1 ½ days initially. The bush grows and it would be an impossible fight to win, but I digress.

Etosha? Really?
Etosha is classified as an Arid region, what exactly are they having to clear and if so, nowhere in the amount of Kruger? Not really a fair comparison. I have been there and it was less maintained than Kruger is on less of a budget, so not sure when you went or where, but when I was there, can't say it was all roses.

We tamper with the bush, we get the people wanting to chain themselves to trees and protest till it stops........we leave the bush alone and people want an airstrip size viewing area just to not impeded themselves while looking for animals or views. The policy to not interfere seems to be the way SANParks are going, I suppose evident by the closing on most non natural waterholes, boreholes etc.
Like I said, as long as the facilities are kept clean and usable, i.e. Roads and camps, I like THAT Kruger.

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