Cape Town - The congestion in SANParkas has been a sore topic for a while, but are they responsible for the traffic caused by too many visitors and open safari vehicles?
There have been many reports of heavy congestion in the Kruger National Park, the most popular national park in South Africa. Whenever a big cat, elephant or rhino make an appearance near a road it causes huge traffic jams from private vehicles as well as big open safari vehicles (OSV), with many blaming the other side, as well as SANParks for their mismanagement.
A video went viral of heavy congestion on a Kruger road, mainly caused by many OSV's not giving people a chance to pass and blocking the sighting. In July a business man from Mbombela posted photos of heavy congestion of around a lion sighting, where visitors where getting out of their vehicles to take photos.
WATCH: Worse than a Sandton traffic jam!? Congestion on Kruger Park roads
The congestion also affects the animals that causes them, though some just wade through and ignore gawking humans, like these two no-nonsense lions.
SANParks has rules in place that should guide visitors on the do's and don'ts, but many believe the conservation authority isn't doing enough to enforce these rules in Kruger.
On a Kruger Facebook group, many had various opinions regarding what to do about this perceived problem. Some believed OSV's are the main problem.
WATCH: Two lions brazenly navigate Kruger traffic jam
"All these tour drivers need to do a course in park etiquette when they qualify to drive visitors around a park, it is shocking!" says Bridget Huinink.
"They're absolute pests and have NO manners - far worse than Joburg taxi drivers," says Adele Vincent.
Eric Brown commented, "I stopped visiting the Park long ago. You can't stop for one second and the next thing there's a million cars all around you. That's NOT what I go there for."
Some said the tour operators aren't all bad.
"There won't be a public outcry if these guys operate professionally. Again, not all of them are behaving that way," says Johann van der Watt.
"Agree but often the guide feels pressured to show the Big 5, personally I put it down to lack of confidence and knowledge to be able to conduct a drive without the Big 5 and still make it memorable for guests," says fellow guide Darran Myers. He continued in another comment, "Have a look and move on???? What about the interpretation aspect of guiding. I would rather sit in one sighting for an hour giving my guests the most amazing experience than zooming around the place. This is what is lacking in today's guides; it's all about the zoom and tick and zoom."
Others commenting on the video shared thought that private vehicles were also to blame for the traffic problems.
"The guy taking the video is doing exactly what the OSVs are doing, so don't forget to include him in your criticism as well," said Iwan Danger Hattingh.
SEE: Respect our Parks: Kruger rules visitors need to know
Janine Noble also commented, "The behaviour is no different than that I saw in June from private visitors. Hogging sightings, blocking roads, being rude... The worst behaviour I encountered was from private vehicles. Had no issues with the OSV's. It is just easier to blame them."
One commenter put the blame on SANParks, and that they should ban radio contact among the drivers.
"People misbehave and break rules. Some of them are OSV drivers and others in private vehicles. Some of the biggest offenders are SANParks staff and contractors when it comes to speeding. SANParks were keen to stop the latest sighting app but not the radio contact. I think both should be banned - not sure if they can do so legally with the app," says Mohammed Jinnah.
He continues. "I have not seen an OSV driver or his passengers get out of the vehicle, cannot say the same about some people in private vehicles. I gave the OSV self policing concept a chance, it seems is not working. Any guide worth his salt should not have to rely on radio contact to find nice sightings for his clients. We have been promised time and again that SANParks are putting in measures to control this. maybe it will happen one day."
WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Herd devastated as speeding car kills baby elephant
Need a refresher on the rules of national parks? Check out this video.
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