Kruger’s Stance on Overtourism in 2020

Tourism in the Kruger National Park is set for a shakeup, as park officials are in the process of considering new rules. In the past few years, the Kruger has seen an explosion of tourism and along with that, a greater exposure on social media platforms as those tourists visiting the park snap photos and instantly upload them to the web, along with their location.

Park apps are popular among those looking for sightings, but they allegedly come with one major setback: speeding.

Last year, the Kruger National Park received an astounding 1.8 million tourists and although this is fantastic statistic for conservation and park growth, it has become increasingly difficult to police so many visitors. Since the parks inception, road rules have taken precedent and most visitors to the park have simply taken it as a given that you do not break the speeding rules. But this is a different era, and instead of enjoying the sights as they come, tourists and tour companies are more eager than ever before to speed from animal sighting to animal sighting in the hopes of taking that prized photo and make that valued memory.

But when a tourist and a giraffe were killed in a speeding accident last year, park officials decided that the problem had got out of hand and the issue had to be dealt with.

Enter the app issue.

Since these days we have instant access to everything, those visiting the park can instantly upload images and locations to apps such as Latest Sightings. This allows those in the area to quickly make their way to the location and as a result some are accusing the app of being a part of the speeding problem.

Although the app creators have denied that they play a role in this speeding problem as they actively encourage park visitors to abide by the rules, sadly not all visitors heed the warning.

The app also takes extra steps to encourage slower driving by not sharing the times of the sightings. This way, chances are good that the animal is no longer in the area when app users arrive.

But the app is not the only issue attached to speeding in the park. The death of the tourist and the giraffe in the park last year was linked to taxis using the park as a shortcut. They are allegedly notorious for going over the speed limit and following the accident there were calls for the taxis to be banned. With the outcry over taxis, park officials stated that banning the taxis would be unfair, as there might be tourists in those taxis. As the issue of that taxis stands, nothing has been decided on.

Going forward

When it comes to technology in the Kruger, park officials are considering the role it plays, and there have been talks of restricting access to these apps or removing signal from the park completely. As of yet nothing has been decided and park officials are in talks with industry experts to try to determine the best way forward.

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