'Kruger's Skukuza a mini Sandton'

2013-07-29 09:49
The commercialisation of the Kruger National Park has always been a contentious issue. As one of South Africa's most famous tourist destinations, the proposed Kruger Park hotels set to be built in the reserve have nature-lovers upset as they believe the park deserves to be revamped - but not in this way.

International hotel group, Rezidor and SANParks are behind the two new ventures. Once completed, the two hotels will be known as Rezidor's Radisson Blu Safari Resort and SANParks' Skukuza Conference Lodge. News24 Travel readers emailed in these views...

As a regular visitor to South Africa's Kruger National Park, News24 Travel reader Geoff Long, shares his view

"As a regular visitor to the KNP two to three times a year as a day visitor, lodger and Wild Card holder, I wish to lodge in the strongest terms my absolute horror on the decision to build two Hotels within the boundaries of the KNP.

Why must they build extra accommodation in the KNP when they are already limiting day visitors into the Park? So in fact there will be even less day visitors allowed into the Park, because of the extra people in the two new Hotels.

If they need to spend money then they should spend it on upgrading some of their Camps, Satara is a good example. It is looking tired and old, and their food in most Camps leaves a lot to be desired with poor service.

The whole idea of the KNP was for the people of this country and visitors to experience the bush environment by staying in Rondawels, Tents and Chalets etc as accommodation, and for the management of the KNP to preserve what we have there for future generations.

Why do you think our local  and overseas visitors visit the Park?

Do you really believe that they want to stay in in upmarket hotels in the KNP? No,  they want to experience the bush and the ambiance of the wild.

Skukuza, already looks like a mini Sandton City, can you imagine what it will look like if a hotel is built there?

It is absurd that they intend to build a Hotel on the Crocodile River near Malelane Gate. This is pristine viewing area with unbelievable animal and bird life, that will be disturbed and destroyed forever. The river road from Malelane to Crocodile Bridge is probably second only to the S100 as the best viewing road in the Park and they want to destroy it.

Lastly the Powers-that-be in the park are busy destroying the KNP. Lately, there have even been traffic police in the Park, directing cars when there is a good sighting (and telling you where to park).

How ridiculous is that?"

News24 Travel reader David Sherring had the following to share...

"The present Park is already in urgent need of a make over. Money needs to be spent on...

a)    Tarring some of the popular dirt roads needs to be done. Car and tourist vehicle numbers are increasing every year and the dirt roads are under pressure – especially in the Lower Sabie/Skakuza/Berg-en-Dal triangle
b)    New roads need to be built eg along rivers courses,
c)    Improving look-out points along the roads and at watering holes and dams needs to be done urgently
d)    Restaurant food is not acceptable – hence the lack of patronage in the camps.

To now think of building expensive hotels in the Park and hope this will generate more money while all the above (and more) needs attention will not solve the Park’s problems in the long run. The Park is poorly managed and sooner rather than later the new high paying hotel guests will realize the Park is not worth the cost of a visit."

Other comments posted on News24 Travel:

Lynette Brunt - As 'n person going to Kruger at least 3 times a year I know Kruger needs to generate their own income and as long as it's not an intrusive structure I can not see why this should not happen. If they are not pro-active there will be now Kruger to go to.

Werner Du Plessis -  Oh, what a disgrace! The last outpost of Nature to be destroyed by people who has no clue of what it is meant to be. Can't we still stop this?

Neil Alan White - Sanparks aren't even covering costs OSCAP. They need to do something to keep afloat. Do some research

Vanessa Butland Gueli - The Kruger Park is an iconic natural treasure. It is a nature reserve where people can enjoy getting away from the city and into the peace and quiet of the bush. It was never intended to be a holiday resort with hotels, spas, golf courses and who knows what else. If people want luxury accommodation there are plenty of luxury private game reserves and lodges in the area already, which run at something like 30% capacity. What SANParks should be doing is upgrading their current accommodation, some of which is in a shocking condition, especially considering the prices they charge!

Already, the south of the park is flooded with tourists, and adding two hotels will just add to that pressure. I think Stevenson-Hamilton is turning over in his grave at what SANParks are considering for his beloved park!! It is a disgrace!

Russell Robinson - There is a group of people on SAGR.co.za who have been fighting this for years. The EIA done by SANParks is flawed and most likely fraudulent. Please help us stop this rape of our national and natural heritage.

Kruger national park is already overutilised and this can be seen by the traffic jams (gridlock) at any large cat sighting. Dr Mabunda is trying to turn our wilderness into a resort. This is contrary to wildlife conservation. It is nothing short of insanity.

Have you been to the Kruger Park lately, what was your experience like? Email info@news24travel.com to share your story.

You might also want to watch this Idiot's guide to the Kruger Park, as posted by Krugerparkbookings.com.

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