Don’t Screw Around In Kruger National Park

None of that namby-pamby “educational approach to law enforcement” in South Africa, nossir!

Kruger Park launches ‘Sledgehammer’ operation

IOL.com, December 5, 2007:

In an attempt to ensure the smooth running of the Kruger National Park during the festive season, the park launched a “zero tolerance” campaign on Wednesday.

Running until January 2 “Operation Sledgehammer” will see park personnel and the police working together to ensure that “law breakers” were brought to book.

“We have received many complaints from staff members, guests and through feedback via our website about people breaking park rules.

“We now have a strategy for the festive season which we hope will make a difference,” said the park’s manager Bandile Mkhize.

Roadblocks will be held at various points around the park and those trying to enter the park illegally will be stopped.

Driver’s licences, roadworthiness, vehicle ownership and blood-alcohol levels will also be checked.

Mkhize urged visitors to plan their journey and game drives carefully, leaving enough time to arrive at camps or entrance gates and to adhere to the gate times as recorded on maps, permits and on signs at the camps.

Traffic officers will be on patrol and will show no mercy to anyone not obeying the speed limits, said Mkhize.

Visitors caught feeding animals, littering, or driving through off-limit areas will also be fined.

“Noise is another concern that has been highlighted on numerous occasions and park’s law enforcement officers and camp officials will pay particular attention to those people who insist on making excessive noise, be it with their vehicles’ sound systems or other sources,” said Mkhize.

Wow.

Sounds awfully extreme to an American parkie, but Lord knows what they’re dealing with over there. Rangers in many African countries have it really rough, as in “shootouts with heavily armed poachers” rough and “it was a good operation, we only lost two rangers” rough.

At least in this park, they don’t seem to be handicapped by wishy-washy management.

Still think I’ll stay away ’til things settle down, though.

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