Do You Still Believe in the Kruger?

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

I have not visited the Kruger National Park for a long, long time and this weekend, after a brief visit, a part of me wishes that I didn’t.

Driving through the Park I was haunted by amazing childhood memories of a very different Kruger.  Sure, in time our memories filters out the bad and leave us with a slightly exaggerated, possibly even romantic account of things we have done and places we have visited but I just could not get myself to reconcile the two versions of Kruger I was faced with.

The landscapes were exactly as I remembered – beautiful.  The SanParks staff at the gates and rest camps were helpful, very friendly and truly professional.  The facilities were all clean and well maintained.  The Kruger itself was, by all accounts, perfect.  There was something else that was wrong. Something that felt wrong.

I would like to believe that I entered the Kruger without any preconceived ideas and sitting here now, between Lower Sabie and the Crocodile Bridge Gate, I am still trying to convince myself that I am wrong.  I am trying to convince myself that the way I feel is a result of too many stories about bad behavior and lack of respect for the wildlife and fellow visitors to the Park.  I am trying but it’s not working.

After entering the Kruger Gate and leaving the friendly SanParks staff behind, it only took an hour for my childhood memories to be dashed and the stories I have only heard about to become a sad reality.  It took me only 60 minutes – 60 minutes! – to see two people sitting on top of their vehicle in an elephant sighting, another guy walking nonchalantly around his car to get a better photo of some kudu, people having a full go at each other through their car windows while trying to get into a better position to see an elephant which was about 300 meters from the road and for numerous cars to overtake me, and I was driving at the given speed limit, and disappear down the road.  Oh, and I almost forgot about the guy in his Land Rover Discovery that decided off road to get closer to a herd of… impala.

Another thing that I noticed, but perhaps this is the result of my old school memories of visits to the Kruger, was that very few of the people actually greeted me back.  I recall sitting next to my Dad as a young, wide-eyed kid and waving at every car we passed.   I recall that, almost without fail, every time we would get a wave back and quite often people would stop to say hi and share sightings.  I thought then, and still do now, that this was how things were done.  Based on what I experienced this last weekend, I guess it’s not the case.

People seemed rushed to get around.  So rushed that there is no time to greet someone else back or make way for someone else in a sighting – and with this rush came an underlying tension on the roads and at the rest camps.  Serious faces everywhere, rushing to be first in line, no consideration for the experience of others.

Now I am not a real stickler for the rules and believe that rules should be challenged at times but there is a line.  There is a line which, in a place like the Kruger National Park where they are there for the greater good of the environment and the very things we go there to see, we should not cross.  The rules need to be followed, end of discussion.

Etiquette on the other hand is something I believe in completely and a lack of the customary code of polite behavior is something that, based on what I saw in the Kruger, is going to create an exceedingly unpleasant environment, which is not conducive to the very reason we feel the need to visit the Kruger.

Am I being over sensitive here?  I don’t think so as I was very much looking forward to getting back to the Kruger.  Sure, I guess I could just have had seriously bad luck and somehow ended up with a whole bunch of assholes who make things very unpleasant for everybody around them with no regard for rules or etiquette, but based on the few articles I have seen online, I don’t think so.  If not, is this the new status quo in the park and the Kruger I remember is now something I can only reminisce on and tell my kids about one day?

I refuse to believe it.

Gerry van der Walt - Kruger National Park

The Kruger is too special to be degraded to this. It is one of Africa’s original wildlife and conservation destinations and that it is worth fighting for.  The memories I have of years gone by, and I am sure I am not the only one, is worth fighting for.

I am in the fortunate position to be able to visit and work in private reserves and yes, the game viewing and experience is spectacular but even after seeing and experiencing the dark side of the Kruger I will go back, I want to go back, even if just to prove to myself that the Kruger I remember still exists.

Our memories are independent of our will and my memories of the Kruger is strong enough, vivid enough, to make me want to go and make some new ones.

I still believe in the Kruger.

Do you?

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 0

  1. Morkel Erasmus

    Sobering and thought-provoking post, Gerry.
    I think most of us go back and want to relive some of those memories. Behaviour is certainly going downhill and was doing so even during my last visit which was in 2012. I would encourage you to head north. I avoid the south like the plague these days. Satara is about as far south as I go, and even there it’s bustling. Try a stint in Shingwedzi and Punda Maria next time. Sightings can actually come close to equalling the South, and you may just be alone at the sighting 🙂

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      Definitely heading North next time Morkel. Haven’t been there since childhood so hope I can find the Kruger I remember up there. 🙂 Just hope that the circus that is the South does not spread and that somehow SanParks can find a way to get a handle on some of the behaviour issues.

  2. Dee Roelofsz

    I agree 100% Gerry the behaviour & lack of etiquette seems to diminish more & more with each visit. We go to Kruger every year for at least two weeks & the odd long weekend here & there as we can. We have just returned a couple of weeks ago & during our time there besides the noraml disrespect for other tourists & the wildlife by hanging out of vehicles, making a racket, hogging a viewpoint etc etc, we even saw people get out the vehicle at a leopard sighting!

    Like Morkel, we also never go further south than Satara for our long stays & we have always been very fortunate with an abundance of sightings, often on our own & if not then shared with just a couple of other vehicles. I don’t know if it is just my imagination but I find even the attitude of the people we encounter up North is quite different.

    We have been in via Malelane & Phabeni & Paul Kruger gates on occasion just for day visits & every time this affirms our decision to stay North as it is a circus in the South.

    As irritating & upsetting all of this is to us, we never hesitate to go back & we really look forward to each visit with the view of making the most of it no matter what who who we encounter as in our opinion Kruger never fails to deliver 🙂

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      Thanks for the comment Dee. Like you I will definitely be going back and look forward to reaffirming my belief in one of Africa’s icons!

  3. Mike

    Some of my most treasured memories as a child are from trips to the Kruger. My dad and I used to go out and drive for hours, searching for sightings. We had a reward system involving sweets and ice creams to motivate us to look out for the rarer sightings. We too are fans of the North, not venturing south of Satara. But in the last few years I tend to agree with you Gerry. The park is full. I wonder if perhaps Sanparks are letting more people in than before? There is a commercialism to the park that wasn’t there when I was a kid, and yes, the behaviour of the visitors leaves much to be desired.

    I wonder if we have been spoilt by places like Madikwe and the Timbavati? Maybe. However, I do still believe in the Kruger. There is no place like it and I think that we have to make peace with the fact that it is a (reasonably) accessible was for a lot of our population and visitors to experience the bush and our abundance of wildlife. Not many people are in the position to afford private lodge prices. I’m not sure what the solution is though. Better policing? Better education? Or maybe we need to lead by example.

    I will still greet/wave at every vehicle, and will share sightings. All it takes for bad to flourish is for good people to do nothing. We are heading up there end of July/Early august. Will let you know how it goes…

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  4. Carol Bell

    I live in Marloth Park and spend a lot of early mornings/ late afternoons in Kruger. Do day loop roads (all dirt) as far as Lower Sabie. Usually its nice everyone waves at each other.. see lots of cars together I know there is a leopard/lion sighting and dont even bother to look, just try get out the traffic jam. BUT come holidays I dont go into the park. Holiday makers are horrid and rude. Marloth is just the same… Locals say “holiday people leave their manners at home”

    If I see people “miss behaving I take photos of them and car registration and email photos to Parks board..

    Gerry I first saw Kruger in 1961 with my family. Very special memories. Sadly things do change and I dont know if we can control people.

    PS : Its not at bad come December.. people dont like the heat!

  5. Jacques Blignaut

    Wow Gerry, it felt like I wrote this article. This is my exact feelings as well. I grew up going to the Kruger as a little boy. Our family would sit around the table to discuss the next holiday. This discussion was over in 10 seconds – Kruger. I remember those days where some of the gravel roads were only two spoor. The times where there was only 12 camps (including N’wanetsi Camp – remember it). My dad use to photograph these wonderful animals and I got hooked on photography as well.
    I have been to the Kruger more that I can count and has become very busy in recent times. I love camping but it is getting so bad that you share a tent pens with you neighbours. We were the one year at Satara and found this nice spot against the fence. We gave some space between us and the neighbours. This guy came with his bakkie camper, reversed right between us, sat in his car with the doors open, on speaker phone at 20h00 at night and having a conversation with his daughter about the day’s activities at his farm. After 15min we decided to quite him down and he was very rude and uttered a couple of unwanted words. Don’t even want to talk about the time we camped in the middle of a family reunion. Why in the Kruger? Drinking until the early hours of the morning. It creates unnecessary tension.
    We were in the Kruger in Dec and on our way to Lower Sabie when we arrived at a leopard kill. It took us over an hour to get through the traffic. It would have still be ok if we saw the animal but sitting there in that traffic and all you get to see is the car’s number plates in front of you. Felt like I was on William Nicol in peak time traffic. That is exactly why I go to Kruger to escape that. We decided 2 years ago to start to venture to our neighbouring countries and what an experience. One camp site we went to our closets neighbour was 15km.
    Being a photographer, this is most frustrating. You sitting busy photographing a Burchell Coucal on this quite little gravel road and a car past you at high speed and you just see birds fly and dust for the next 5 min. Clearly not doint 40km/h. No consideration at all. If I see a car stationery, I approach slowly and if there is a camera, even if someone uses his cell phone, I will stop until he is finished. Doesn’t matter if he is taking a picture of an ant.
    My problem is that my kids are in school now and the only time to go is in school holidays. But will I stop going? Never. I have scaled down to only one trip a year but will always go. The Kruger has changed but I am not going to allow the changes to spoil it for me. Unfortunately I have to adapt to these changes like going to the north. I love Satara but even Satara is becoming a mini Skukuza. But I will never stop going. There are too many memories.

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  6. Brad Leontsinis

    I was also in the Kruger last week Gerry, and although it did not fail to deliver on some great diversity, the overall experience was equally woeful for the same reasons as you have described. I have concluded that trips to the park during peak seasons like school holidays are to be avoided at all costs. What you also did not bring up in your post, is the wildlife sighting misery, which is created by big noisy trucks, lorries and staff vehicles hurtling at break neck speeds through the park endangering everyone, not least the wildlife.

    It seems any kind of culture of etiquette, amongst visitors, has completely fallen away in what has become the ultimate wildlife bun fight. Very sad indeed for an area which is truly spectacular! Hopefully enough like minded supporters of the park can change this.

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  7. Jackie

    Hey Gerry

    I must say, regardless of the negativity that many people have about Kruger it still remains a special place to me.
    I think the lack of perceived friendliness and blatant lack of respect to the rules can – to an extent – be attributed to a mix of cultures and a lack of education from Sanparks’ side? Go to another country where there’s a diverse mix of cultures – one immediately feels alienated and misses the friendliness and openness that South Africans radiate. Other cultures may not feel they need to wave to every passer-by (although yes, like you, I also wave at every single person that drives by).
    Does Sanparks do enough to explain the rules and etiquette and the potential dangers to tourists? I’m not sure. (Perhaps it’s time they translate the rules into other languages and have multilingual staff – this is one of our Top tourist destinations after all). I have seen the same in North West parks though – there it seems that rules are non-existent.
    All of that said and forgetting about the annoying music coming from each staff camp each night (and all the other people-related problems), Kruger remains special. One only needs to take a drive along the Timbavati River west of Satara, or take a walk along the Letaba, or even just have a braai with your family along a prized spot on the camp fenceline – it is pure magic!

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  8. Peter Connan

    Sad. But what’s even sadder is that this problem is not limited to the Kruger, but is evident throughout our society.

    We seem to have lost our respect for each other and our ability to do unto others as we would like them to do unto us…

  9. Marc

    Hi Gerry

    My memories of Kruger are the same as yours. For that reason it will be the first place we take our kids on safari when they are old enough (youngest 5 weeks, so in about 18 months) for that very reason.

    Whilst we will inevitably start our adventures in the south I look forward to disappearing to the centre and north, which I remember as mysterious and wild, where few (especially those in a hurry!!) ventured.

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      Thanks for the comment Marc. The common theme seems to be that we head North so definitely doing that next time. Good luck and hope your kids enjoy the Kruger experience we all remember. 🙂

  10. Anita Baert

    I too visited Kruger as a child many years and still today at every visit I have that childlike wonder… I only stay in the south Lower Sabie to be exact and 3 times a year…I glory in the sounds at night and battle to fall asleep speculating on what I am missing and wake every time a lion roars…I am up very early to be first at the gate listening to the birds and hippos, the resident leopard harassing the baboons and watch the sky change colour, I experience an adrenalin rush at the thought of what the day holds, the smells, sounds and sights of all the wildlife that live here…I do not allow humans to destroy my peace of mind in Kruger…I smile and wave and if I havnt seen a leopard and there is a sighting with 50 cars I will stop and have a look take my pic and move on happy that at least I saw this beautiful cat…Kruger for me is all about the wildlife and its surrounds and I will never allow anyone to take that away from me…

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      Love the view you have Anita and that’s what I remember from years ago. If you can shut out the, let’s call it the ‘human element’ that’s great! If we can all get back to what the Kruger really is about that’s a great way to create new memories of an amazing destination.

  11. Corlette Wessels

    HI Gerry, I have to agree with you. I have for the first time in 4 years went back to Kruger this year for a week as I wanted to let my kids see and experience what I did as a kid with my parents & grandparents. Stop at picnic sites have a bite to eat and enjoy nature. Luckily I stayed in Olifants which was not too busy. I must say the 2 days I drove south towards Satara was a disaster. I did not even stop at lion sighting and when I drove on one of the side roads and saw a eagle on the ground and just got ready to photograph him a combi came speeding down the road and chased it. The guys stopped and asked what I saw and said there are lions, I made it clear that we not here to race from lion to lion but to enjoy all of nature. I found that people speed from sighting to sighting and not “working” for their sightings and do not want to take the time to look and drive slowly. Those sightings should be removed and so should this Kruger Sightings tweets as it just makes people lazy to take the time and LOOK for animals and enjoy the nature. I also remember as a young girl my granddad stopping and chatting to people and greeting people, this no longer exist sadly. Why go to the Kruger if you do not want to drive slowly, sit 2-3 hours at a dam and just listen to nature, the birds, zebra’s etc. I will not go south Kruger but have booked to go back to Olifants and more north as I am not scared to drive slow, sit for hours at a dam and drive slowly. The Kruger is amazing but we need to get people to respect. Especially the contractors as many of them drive like they on the N1. Have to agree with Lorinda to stick more to north if you prepared to “work” for your sightings and was to experience more nature at it best. The Kruger landscapes are of the best in the world, so many rivers, it is truly a special place that we have to protect!

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      Thanks so much for your thoughts Corlette. Working for sightings is such an important thing and enhances the entire experience as you will no doubt see incredible things during the journey. The ‘stay North of Satara’ theme seems the answer as you also mention this. I hope it stays like this and that the southern circus does not spill over up there. Good luck and hope you get some more amazing Kruger images in future! 🙂

  12. Jakes De Wet

    We regularly visit Kruger travelling from Cape Town or flying and renting a car, so it is an expensive trip. I love photography and the serenity that the bush brings. But on our last two trips especially June 2014 I made the decision that the South will not see me soon. Especially Holidays and Sundays. On the S100 at a lion sighting close to the road, people drove off road around the lions, one person was making all kinds of sounds to attract their attention, needless to say, they all got up and left to spoil a great sighting. At a Leopard sighting close to Crocodile Bridge it was absolute mayhem.

    I would rather go north, see less and enjoy the true nature of the park and what it offers. Even the animals South have become so accustomed to the traffic that their behaviour becomes unnatural.
    For us, Etosha is the same distance, the park is more expensive but the wildlife is fantastic, There are less chances of being hijacked on route to the gates.

    Yes, We love KNP and I will return as long as I can, I will stay north of Satara, book outside of holidays and Sundays, I will find a secluded spot and avoid the busy roads.

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  13. Adam Kotze

    Wow good read Gerry thanks!!
    When I was a kid I visited Kruger a lot with my Grandfather and sister and over the last few years have started visiting Kruger a lot again with Sam and the one thing I miss is how friendly strangers were in the old days stopping each other about sightings they had had etc… Even if just simply to say good morning! That’s why we love driving past elderly people in the part because they always say hi and share sightings.


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  14. Darell

    Hi all I echo many of the thoughts and wonderfull memories that you all have shared, but would like to point out that its not the kruger thats the problem, it is the people that are the issue here and in other parks. There is a reason that South Africans are not appreciated in Botswana and other places. There is a total disrespect of those around us and a sense of entitlement exhibited which is frankly disgusting. The kruger would be perfect without people in it!
    We are leaving on Sunday for a week in the park.

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      Welcome to the blog Darell and thanks a lot for your thoughts. Yeah, agreed. If people can sort out the people the Park would be awesome! Have a great trip next week!

  15. Eleanor

    Unfortunately, as the government has decreed that national parks have to pay their own way, considerations such as occupancy rates outweigh all other factors. The financial contribution made by day visitors is more important than any unpleasantness caused by over crowding and so day visitor quotas are set too high in peak periods. Hopefully our government will one day realize the value of conservation for conservation’s sake. Unless/until it does, the Kruger experience is going to become less and less like the one we so fondly remember.

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  16. Mariselle Stolz

    Well guys very sad to read your comments, I´ve been to Kruger about 8 years ago and it was still very nice -we were up North…maybe that´s the reason 😉
    StillI do think if people all over the world tend to loose their manners and respect for nature, it´s also a job for Sanpark to look into dont´you think??? Stronger rules and controle to keep the animals safe and assure agood viewing atmosphere…you either keep toothe rules or fly home…and it won´t be a lose on the long run Kruger could just win.

    🙂 I lived in Skukuza as a little kid, miss it so much…hope it will all still be there if we get a oppertunity to visit with our kids from Germany.

    Be Blessed.

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  17. Chantelle Hederman

    Hi Gerry. Wow, you summed up what my husband and I have been feeling about the park for awhile now. My husband didn’t go to the park as a child but I did and everytime we drive past another car I tell him to say hi and his reply is “but they don’t say hi back”. I keep telling him that it doesnt matter, it is what you do, it is just the “Kruger way”. But I agree the ” Kruger way” has been lost somewhere along the years and it is sad.

    The bush is a place to relax, slow down but it is race to get to the next sighting. I dont think social media has helped much with us all having access to sigtings and GPS loctations. We seem to have lost the love to look around and see nature and pay attention to the small things. We try to do walks in the park whenever we go just so that we get off the roads, it is a special way to experience the bush. We will continue to go the Kruger because it is so special but there are amazing hidden treasures all over that (especially north) that still have the ” Kruger way” 59 more days for us!

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      I love it – the Kruger Way!! Thanks a lot Chantelle. Even though it definitely has been lost but hopefully the people who care will not give up on it! Enjoy your next trip! 🙂

  18. Patrick Frayne

    Gerry thank you for your very thought provoking blog. I spend many happy times in the Kruger back in the 1960’s and 70’s but have not been back since then. In my heart I want to believe the Kruger is still that same happy place but sadly with the massive changes to the infrastructure and the hug influx of people into the park its become to commercial for my liking and I believe what you experienced is not the Kruger Park but what our lives are turning into. One big rush and a lack of compassion and care for things around us. The Kruger still has a massive part to play in the conservation of our South African heritage and sadly we can not do without these crazy people visiting the park as the park needs every cent it can get. We can only hope that the Kruger will go on as the Kruger has for years to come doing its best to satisfy tourist and and manage the preservation of all those beautiful animals that make the Kruger their home.

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      The Kruger definitely still has a huge role to play and I believe that it is, and always will be, one of the original wildlife destinations in Africa! Thanks for your thoughts Patrick.

  19. Fraser

    A client of mine has a policy that as a visitor you cannot enter their building without watching a video covering their health and safety, their corporate values and the way they do business. How about Sanparks doing a similar thing at each entrance gate? A five minute video teaching you basic Kruger etiquette – how to get the best out of a game drive without upsetting the animals, respecting other cars, not damaging the environment etc. It might also help the foreigners take ear flapping elephants seriously.

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      Great idea Fraser. And with everyone being so ‘plugged into’ technology all the time I don’t see it being a huge thing for people. Both from an etiquette and safety point of view it is a great idea!

  20. Timothy Griesel

    Hey Gerry

    Great read and good points raised.

    Kruger will always be etched in my memory from watching my first lion kill to impala births, it has shown me some really amazing sightings and not much beats it.

    I seem to only visit during off peak periods and it is far better in these periods then what you must of experienced last week.

    I visit the south often and although the main roads are busy, people driving passed are generally courteous and friendly, I haven’t noticed much bad behavior, perhaps I tend not to notice the bad in people and try see the good, but Kruger still is an amazing wildlife destination.

    Perhaps it could just be that seeing as I am quite young I have never experienced Kruger as anything but quite busy and bustling with activity?

    I don’t think we should be discouraged by the boom in Kruger Visitors, it means more and more people are becoming interested in our beautiful wildlife.

    But yeah, if you wish for the trip to be quieter head up North, haven’t been North in years (other then a quick half day pass through Letaba two weeks ago) but would love to visit this region more often.

  21. Roelof

    Gerry, I have to agree with your view on this, but delving a little deeper, I do wonder if it has really changed.

    I still try and visit at least twice a year and vary between all the areas in the park, but I have learned to put my perceived view, based on my memories, a bit aside and see the park through my 7 year old daughter’s eyes. If I do this, I see all the wonderment and excitement that I also experienced as a child. I can see that she is building the same memories as I did. However I can also see that she, and most of the other kids that I observe in the park, are oblivious to the bad manners of others. To them it is just pure wonder and enjoyment. Yes, they do comment on people hanging out of windows, but then if memory serves so did we do in the 80s.

    Then having a chat to my dad, who started visiting the park in the 60s, he has many stories of misbehaving people, and all the same things we complain about today, speeding, rudeness, selfishness… And yes, I do believe society has become far more self-centered, but much of the human psyche has been with us for centuries.

    As youngsters our parents absorbed all these behaviors, and we as youngsters built our memories without this baggage, as I now do the same for my daughter. Sadly I do believe that today I absorb more than my father did, but then having come to this realization, I also enter the park with a view not to let it upset me, unless it directly affects me. Doing this, and living the park through my childs eyes have brought back much of the magic of my memories.

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      Thanks a lot for your thoughts Roelof. Yeah, I agree that the same things might have been issues way back then as well and it’s definitely something I’ve thought of. I recall my excitement as a child, much like your daughter’s, and being fixed on the bush looking for animals but more often than not the kids of today have some kind of electronic device to keep them occupied in between sightings. To me that misses the point but then again that is where society is moving towards. Perhaps they are all plugged into something like the Latest Kruger Sightings app looking for animals on their route? Either way I am sure that many years form now things will change again and the kids of today will probably have similar feelings to how things have changed since they were young. I am so glad to hear that you have found the Kruger magic through your child’s eyes and cannot wait to do the same! 🙂

  22. Helen

    Hi. I do agree with a lot of your comments, but must add that we’ve had very few really negative experiences. We try to be considerate whenever we are in Kruger (we try for once a year or so). We also like the dirt roads which carry less traffic.
    The type of behaviour you describe occurs throughout society. (Drop off a kid at a primary school in Pretoria East and you’ll see a lot of similarities!) It is sad that people’s bad manners and lack of consideration for others spoil Kruger for a lot of people.
    We’ll keep going back because we love Kruger and also cannot afford to stay at a private reserve.

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      I’m with you when you say you will keep going back Helen. Based on what everybody has said there are definite ways to get around the issues that currently exist and it is great to see that there are so many people that still believe in the Kruger! Thanks a lot for your thoughts! 🙂

  23. Roelof

    Helen, Thanks for making my day! I never realised how similar the school drop off is to navigating a leopard sighting.

    Gerry, maybe I am so well trained with the school run, that I am now ignorant of bad behaviour at a major sighting 🙂

  24. Clare

    HI Gerry

    I too grew up visiting Kruger many times a year and share wonderful memories with all of you. I live in Namibia and exactly the same thing has happened to Etosha. Overseas visitors are the worst culprits. They live in their own little bubbles and do not make eye contact with anyone, and treat the staff as if they are invisible, which understandably makes them grumpy. Just chat to the staff in Afrikaans to show that you are a local and everything lightens up! Tourists also fail to inform themselves of the necessary rules and regulations and appropriate behaviour in a game park. They are terribly arrogant – this is just Darkest Africa to them after all. But the magic remains and the good memories and the ones still to be made will always be worth the trip.

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  25. Roy

    The kruger is still unique but what a pity the inconsiderate, aggressive and rude are spoiling viewing experiences. The traffic jams can be both horrendous and dangerous, particularly if elephants are involved, The entry permit clearly states you may only stop on the side of the road where the sightings have been made but this is ignored with impunity. Surely some traffic management is required as selfish, arrogant behaviour does leave a sour taste.

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  26. Steve Glasgow

    My wife and I are from Australia and have done a few trips to both ZA and Namibia and the rudeness is unfortunately not limited to the Kruger. We have seen this in Pilansberg and Sabi & to a lesser extent in Etosha. Maybe because Etosha is less well known (at least from an international tourist perspective) there are generally less people.
    The funny thing is that we find both countries extraordinarily friendly and outstanding tourist destinations.
    We generally travel in the off season, meaning that the parks and lodges are emptier. You still see idiots who do not understand animal behavior or the need not to hog sightings but less people means less hassle.
    Both countries are still fantastic destinations, I like the advice about staying further north, seems like a very sensible idea.
    All the best

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      Welcome to the blog Steve and thanks for your comment! Agreed, this is something that is more widespread than just the Kruger. Off season and keep north seems to be the answer for visits to the Kruger and I am sure each destination will have it’s own secrets. Thanks and travel safe!

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