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Safari Vehicle Operators

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Riverrat » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:20 am

This complaint is an old one..for years there have been complaints about the OSV's obstructing the views and creeping well off the roads to afford a better view of an animal... probably in many cases to ensure a better tip for the driver at the end of the day.
One only has to do a search under Jeep Jockeys / speeding / obstruction to find some of the objections. They certainly do NOT control their passengers and disturbance of wildlife occurs at almost every single sighting!!!

I must admit that the vast majority of OSV guides are respectable, well behaved and quite helpful to other parks visitors, but the inconsiderate minority are giving them a shocking reputation.
This bunch certainly seem to act as if they have the authority and rights of a parks ranger, which they do not.
The fact that they have done guiding courses gives them knowledge, not the right to be a "hero".

I frequently listen in on their frequencies and the comms are not really about "rushing to a scene"..many of them just keep it in mind and divert that way if they are in the area.
I also often read between the lines where some guides prefer not to pass information on to others (probably because they know the latter will spoil a sighting).
I take my hat off to the responsible guys and ladies.

The responsibility also falls upon the more experienced and wiser guys on the road and VHF channels to guide or even reprimand their colleagues who behave in such irresponsible ways.
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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Bat » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:46 am

On our visit in September, we stopped at a Leopard sighting on the Pkop road where an OSV stopped and in their quest to get the best view, simply reversed (without looking I presume!) into the car behind and smashed their headlight! I have to agree that there are some really polite operators and it is unfortunate that there are those few that give the industry a bad name! Almost like tow truck drivers!!!

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Joep Stevens » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:20 am

Dear All,

Yes, as mentioned, this is not a new issue and one of the best ways to ensure compliance to the terms of the agreement and KNP rules and regulations is indeed to take and report details. Pics always make it easier to prove an offence or poor behavior. Please use the 24 hours number in Skukuza and provide time, place and details of behavior.

Thank you.

General Manager: Tourism Operations

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Goggo EJ » Fri Jan 14, 2011 10:05 am

Thanks Joep!

Am I right that the use of radios is banned on the OSVs? It seems that many are using them now. If they are banned maybe the companies need a gentle (or not so gentle???) reminder.
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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Dirk.V.E. Neethling » Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:56 pm

Banning radios in OSV is not going to help solve the problem..... It is going to make it worst.
Read under the OSV operators Fred my reply I posted last month.

What is going solve this if people start taking number plates, time, date location and if possible a photo of the bad behavior.
All I am asking is make sure that it is the vault of the OSV blocking a sighting.
It is always easy to see the OSV first when approaching a sighting and always want to blame them.
Do a test the next time you get to a sighting.
Which vehicle do you fist notice?
Why is there 5 OSV's on the sighting?
Do you only see the 5 OSV?
What about the 15 normal cars at the sighting?
These vehicles are big and are intimidating.
People always see the first before realizing the other vehicle.
Believe me I had to take many beating from the mouth of other park user as they all want to blame the OSV for just being there.
I had a lion sighting on Elloff once where I had to wait 45min in a queue just to get through the sighting not even stopping to see it as there was only one spot directly in line with it to see it.
This idiot driving a land cruiser came past everybody, stop next to me and say that I must move as I am blocking the road.
I was waiting to go through the sighting not even looking at the animal and this oak goes of on me.......
And please I am not saying you are the same but there is 1.6 million people coming to Kruger in a year and we have many with that mind set in the park….

Yes I am 100% with those that are there that do spoil it, but please people don’t always blame a radio for a congested sighting.
These guys can travel in a group and same times use 5 to as much as 25 OSV for one group.
No we do try and split it up, but have you ever had 45 Germans on one group with 1 OSV seeing lions and the others not.
Believe me the wonderful people you had before breakfast is now little monsters on your truck.
You can be the best guide on the planet and now all the tales of the plants, birds and smaller things around, 60% of these tourist don’t give a damn.
They have 8 hours in Kruger in there life time and they want to see the big stuff.
Believe me I had passing birds and impalas, but same tourist is not interested in that.
They want to see big 5.
And those that think that showing the big 5 10 times over is going to earn you the big tip…..
News flash now it does not work like that.
90% of these groups have been told about tipping and the average tips excepted to give the guys.
You will not get a cent more if they know that, does end matter how good you are or how much you show them.
You can get less if you don’t get lion and the others in you group did see them.

And really people it is not just the OSV that are out of control.
It seems that the whole park is going down the drain with stupid people.
At the look of things OSV is about 1% of the current bad behavior by follow park users.
Watch the news papers and wall of shame.
Sorry I am not naive but this is a far bigger problem than just OSV behaving badly.
This can be stopped.
Get the details and contact the company.
If you have access to this website you have access to Google.
You can get all the details there and if you do not get the satisfaction reply from the Operator you can even contact Sanparks.
But please this will not go away by bitching on a forum.
The people been doing that since 2005 on here.
Take action and report it to the right channels.
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Been More than 3000+ Days in Kruger and counting!!
Have slept more than 350+ night in Kruger and more coming!!

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Weltenman » Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:59 pm

Well said Dirk, whilst I am not absolving the OSV of any blame, we must realise there are a lot of rule breaking by regular guests as well.
If you do see rule breaking by an OSV, please document and report.
This is one area where action can and will be taken by Sanparks as the companies have a agreement on behaviour that they need to comply with.
Study the past, if you would divine the future.

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Bundi » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:39 pm

This same topic was discussed in length last year and is not a new problem.

Personally I have never had any bad experiences with the OSVs and find them to be very helpful and friendly at times.

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Re: Jeep jockeys out of control!

Unread post by Mgoddard » Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:09 pm

Nothing you say or do will ever change this...
I think its time for Sanparks to take note of the companies that are this case...look at the first post!
I cant believe they are still allowed to operate in the Park after an incident I reported some time ago :shock:
Also, I would like to caution those who have replied to this your almost landed me up in Jail :shock:
and resulted in my post on Day 114 to be removed from the blog as I made that same mistake!! :( and a very credible company had to take the brunt for that :evil:
Most of the JJ's I have met during my time in Kruger were decent, nature loving ppl, but its that 1% that make us all believe they are bad....
I feel for the good ones, and I'm sorry that they all get treated with the same tarred brush...but....I agree...enough is enough.....
Ban those companies who are only in it for the money and let more of those in who are there for the right reasons!!!

Now I feel better :D

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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by DinkyBird » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:15 pm

Stopping modern technology is not going to be easy, but I do think it is only going to add more and more pressure at sightings, with everyone in the group, not only OSV rushing to the sighting.

I cannot recall the name, but a OSV definitely used a radio at the cheetah sighting we were at near Satara in November to inform of the sighting.
- Dalene

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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by Joep Stevens » Thu Dec 15, 2011 8:38 pm

Dear All,

Yes, this is an old topic and the image problems have been around as long as the OSV have been allowed to operate. I agree that there are a few that taint the whole OSV business, of which majority behave themselves well in the park. In terms of the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with SANParks, OSV, may use radios, but may not use radios to call other vehicles or operators to sightings. Difficult to control, I agree, but not impossible, and SANParks will need to make the effort to identify the transgressors. I agree with Bert's suggestion, namely to note the details of such an incident, namely Operators name, Vehicle Registration number, time and place and then details of the transgression (hopefully substantiated with a pic or two), and report to nearest camp and also copy me ( By the way this applies to all transgressors, not only OSV operators.

With kind regards.

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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by Groovy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:52 pm

One of the pain in the preverbial here. I have read this thread with interest and have noted what has been said. Some rather odd, others expected.

I have also noticed the literally hundred of tourists that have been assisted through the years by these self same "jeep jockeys" sadly dont post on the forum, I am not reffering to assisting with sightings in a friendly manner, but here I refer to assisting with flat tyres to broken down cars being towed to the nearest camp to wait for assistance, the "radio-ing" our offices to get hold (telephone calls etc) of the emergency services to come assist etc etc

Amogst the more responsible operators and we consider ourselves one of them, we take any complaint about a nature guide very seriously. As is always the case there are always 3 sides to a story, and we try and stay away from he says she says arguments as they always end up messy.

Furthermore there are quite a number of guides out there that are members of this forum.

If there is a guide that consistently gets reported for bad behaviour, the following happens, in our case, the guide gets called in, if we have a complaint in writing then it becomes a formal disciplinary. The guide has the oppurtunity to respond in writing which they have to have according to the law. Based on the severity of the "charge" action is taken. In the past we have "fired" guides, because if we get a complaint in writing 3 times or more for the same offence sorry but youre out. Basic laws of employment apply here aswell unfortunately.

There is also a thin line here, employed guides as apposed to free-lance guides. Employed guides (those who are taxed have pensoin funds etc etc) have to be managed according to the labour laws of the country, free-lance guides, believe me word gets around if you have a guide that continuously "stuffs up" and he very quickly gets weeded out of the system and gets put right at the bottom of the pecking order list, and wont be used. I know of several guides that have been weeded out in this way.

I will ask SANPARKS if I can publish all operators contact details on the forum. I will however need their assitance here as I do not have all the operators details. Joep?

Those that are SATSA members wont be a problem as we have there details.

I hope this puts a little perspective on the subject, and doesn't become a bunfight again, because I wont be part of it. Any meaningful debate yes please..............

Have a cracker of a festive season out there.


Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by Joao » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:05 pm

Groovy it is nice to read the other side of the story as well.

It is concerning however that this situation is something that more and more tourists to KNP feel is getting out of hand.

I realize that you and other operators are in it for business and that you pride yourself by the number and quality of the sightings that you give your clients.

I don't think that this is the problem however. It is merely the manner in which they conduct themselves in the hunt for sightings that will satisfy the clients.

Most of the self drive visitors to KNP merely want a peaceful holiday for the money that they pay. They don't want to get confronted by sighting hunting operators who will stop at nothing to get the best view.

The park is there for the enjoyment of all and if everyone conducts themselves in a decent and polite manner then this problem will not occur.

I am sure the people who you assist during break dons etc are very pleased and all of us appreciate it as well but that is not a remedy for selfish behavior.

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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by JenB » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:11 am

Nice seeing you around Groovy! :thumbs_up:

I think the answer lies and it is also our responsibility to report rule breaking and bad behavior as requested by Joep and by Groovy. Even a lack of common courtesy should be brought to the attention of the operator in question. These guys are not doing the industry or Kruger any good. I don't believe a blanket ban on all OSV's is practical or fair, it's just a small minority who spoil it for everyone.

Groovy wrote:Furthermore there are quite a number of guides out there that are members of this forum.

Yes and these members have been very helpful and informative even here on forum. :wink:
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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by Groovy » Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:49 pm

Just a couple of comments:

Behaviour is people related, whether you behave badly as a normal tourist or as a guide, it should not happen. The same goes for game viewing etiquette!!

The more people that enter the park the more incidents you will have.

Very noisy and smelly fumes, show me a vehicle that isn't!

Tipping is a place in China, believe me you will only get a gratuity if you perform above expectations. Sightings dont bring tips, knowledge, passion and commitment to the causehowever does. I remember one of the best gartuities I ever received was on a windy day, saw in 3 hours 4 impala and a giraffe long distance, but man did the guests know a lot about animal droppings after that, purely talking s...! so to say.

Have a great week ahead, and hope the next long weekend I will be able to spend some quality time in the wild!! Hey thats in 5 days!!!

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Re: Safari operators - pain in the proverbial...

Unread post by SilverSpur » Mon Dec 19, 2011 2:05 pm

The Safari operators use VHF radio's with repeaters. If they are licensed by ICASA then they are legal and cannot be stopped from using them.

I have not heard 29Mhz activity for a long time inland. Not even 4x4 people on trails.



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