German tourist shooting: SANParks fears holiday cancellations by local, international visitors

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Broken glass is visible at the scene of an attempted hijacking which saw a German national murdered in Mpumalanga on 4 October 2022.
Broken glass is visible at the scene of an attempted hijacking which saw a German national murdered in Mpumalanga on 4 October 2022.
PHOTO: Yeshiel Panchia/News24
  • SANParks says the recent murder of a German tourist in Mpumalanga could threaten bookings from local and international visitors.
  • The 67-year-old man was shot dead by unknown assailants at the Kruger National Park's Numbi Gate on Monday.
  • SANParks acting CEO Hapiloe Sello described Numbi Gate as "problematic" and said tourists should consider using other entry points into the park.

South African National Parks (SANParks) says the murder of a German tourist in Mpumalanga could result in holiday cancellations by local and international visitors.

SANParks acting CEO Hapiloe Sello urged tourists to use alternative routes amid concerns about attacks on tourists at the Kruger National Park's Numbi Gate.

The 67-year-old German tourist was gunned down at Numbi Gate after three armed men ambushed him and three others, including his wife.

Sello said tourists had access via several entry points north and south of the Kruger National Park.

She said tourists travelling from Mozambique also had direct access to the Giriyondo Border Post, which allowed direct access to the park.

READ | German tourist murder: Three 'people of interest' identified, as Cele admits area has crime 'problem'

"We fully appreciate that this incident has brought a lot of apprehension to many of our loyal local and international visitors, which could result in cancellations for planned visits to the park and surrounding areas," said Sello.

"It is thus important for us to remind our loyal visitors that Kruger has a total of 10 gates which tourists can safely enter from," said Sello.

At a media briefing on Wednesday, Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said she and tourism stakeholders had met the surviving tourists before they flew back to Germany from OR Tambo International Airport.

According to the minister, there hadn't been trip cancellations from German tourists after the incident. She assured travellers they would enjoy maximum protection.

She claimed that it was an isolated incident and had been the third in South Africa in 27 years.

But a News24 fact check revealed that Sisulu's statement was entirely false, as there were multiple stories about tourists who had died in South Africa.

Fannie Masemola and Bheki Cele visit the crime scene
National police commissioner Fannie Masemola and Minister Bheki Cele visited the scene where a German tourist was shot dead.
Photo by Bulelwa Ginindza

Sisulu said South Africa had a positive tourist safety track record.

Also at the briefing was German Ambassador Andreas Peschke, who said he was encouraged by the government's response and effort to ensure continued tourist safety.

He said Germany was one of South Africa's biggest tourism markets, and efforts to attract more visitors from that country would continue.

"[Germany] is the third largest tourism market for South Africa... We still plan to bring a direct flight from Germany to Mbombela (in Mpumalanga) to increase the possibilities of exploring this beautiful country...

"We have the impression that the government is fully aware of the situation and is taking the necessary steps. We are ready to cooperate," he said.

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