The wreckage of the Volkswagen Polo that was destroyed by an elephant in the Kruger National Park. Picture: Courtesy of Gesels Versekering
The wreckage of the Volkswagen Polo that was destroyed by an elephant in the Kruger National Park. Picture: Courtesy of Gesels Versekering

Kruger to tourists: Do crime, pay fine

By LALI VAN ZUYDAM Time of article published Jan 23, 2014

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Pretoria - Idiotic game park visitors have lost close to R500 000 at the Kruger National Park alone for stunts like driving too close to agitated elephants or letting their children hang out of car windows to look at lions on the prowl.

The R500 000 comprises about 850 fines visitors have had to pay – and that was during the festive season alone.

Following the posting of a video in which an elephant is seen overturning a car several times, injuring the driver, another has been posted showing children hanging out of the window of a car that has stopped alongside a male lion and lioness in the road, startling the male.

But, says Reynold Thakhuli, acting head of communications for South African National Parks (SANParks), such scenes are not unusual. Just recently, he said, rangers caught a man in the Kruger Park who was outside his vehicle, filming. He was slapped with a R3 500 fine.

Thakhuli, like other SANParks officials, has appealed to those who see and take video footage of visitors behaving irresponsibly, to release the proof to parks officials to assist their investigations, before they leave.

“The rules clearly state people are not allowed to lean out of windows. Unfortunately some people do not obey the rules until something happens,” said Thakhuli.

After rolling a couple’s car, an “aggressive” elephant was shot by rangers, a move that outraged many who believed the tourists had been reckless.

While many visitors love and respect South Africa’s wildlife, inappropriate behaviour leads to fines being issued.

 

Among the reasons for fines are speeding, drinking and driving, feeding animals, littering, public indecency, driving on restricted roads, unlawful camping and fishing, bringing pets into parks and taking animals or plants from the parks. Thakhuli said someone had even landed a small plane illegally in the Kruger Park.

According to the City of Tshwane’s Selby Bokaba, people are just as likely to misbehave in smaller parks. Apart from getting out of their cars to take “selfies” near animals, visitors had been found speeding and feeding animals in parks such as Rietvlei. - Pretoria News

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