I often think that the blogs I’ve written for Wilkinsonsworld make me sound a bit like Pollyanna – always enthusing about the fabulous times that we’ve had and the wonderful birds and animals we’ve seen. I do see our adventures like this, but today I’m going to remove my Pollyanna cap and have a gripe about the manners of some folks in game reserves. As I said in my previous post, we have recently visited Kruger National Park where we had the good fortune to come across a brilliant leopard sighting. Sadly, the selfishness and bad manners of some people was evident here.
We happened to drive up to an area where a tour guide in a safari vehicle had taken up pole position (on the wrong side of the road) in front of a leopard. We have no problem with that at all. Other vehicles had also driven up to the site from both directions. The tour guide had three guests in his vehicle who spent over forty minutes photographing and videoing the animal. Cars were backing up and still the guide did not move off giving everyone else a chance to see the prized animal. He was not parked in and could easily have reversed away. Eventually someone else had the foresight to make a bit of space so that four vehicles ahead of us could edge forward slowly, take some photos and move on.
After a long wait we got in front of the leopard and were then totally parked in so that we didn’t have the option to either move forward or backwards to allow others to enjoy the spectacle as well. The safari vehicle remained put blocking our way. Eventually the driver reversed, turned his vehicle around and proceeded to block the road again as he pulled up alongside a colleague in another vehicle and showed off his photographs with no thought to anyone behind him trying to get past.
I wonder if there are any unwritten rules of etiquette in game reserves whereby people look at animals for a reasonable time, take their photos and then move on to allow others the same privilege. A “stuff you” attitude is really not in the spirit of the game, as everyone there is dying to see something special.
There is a 50km speed limit in the park and we often found that when tour guides got radio tip offs about where game is, they drove off at break-neck speed. We thought we would follow one, but had to give up as he was going at over 70km and we weren’t prepared to drive that fast to keep up with him.
Another problem that we often experience (and here I am not referring only to safari vehicles), especially as Rob is a photographer, is that he can be photographing a particular scene, like a mother bird with eight chicks crossing the road, and someone will ride up and pass without any thought that they are going to scare the birds off while someone is in the middle of taking photographs. This applies to pictures or sightings of animals as well. It is really inconsiderate.
Here’s an interesting video on a safari guide being attacked by a leopard in Kruger National Park. The poor animal lost its life because of him.
Is this just me, or do other people have the same frustrations in the game reserves?