In addition to conservation management, the Kruger National Park authorities also have a lot of human management to worry about. Roads, rest camps, electricity, sewerage and water supplies have to be maintained, and well over a million visitors must be fed and housed every year.
The Kruger National Park is also the single largest employer in the area, with a staff of thousands. All in all, it’s a mammoth enterprise, especially when you consider that the Kruger National Park covers a vast expanse of wilderness, with few links to the outside world. Speaking to one Krugerite about the complexity of running such an enormous reserve.
Her reply was, “It’s even worse than that… OK. The Kruger National Park is the size of a small country. Now, imagine if every single person in that country had to be fed by the same company. And all the accommodation had to be organised by that same company too. It’s huge.”
To help them cope, SANParks has outsourced several aspects of the park’s tourism activities. Shops are stocked by an external supplier and the restaurants are run on a concession basis. At one time, the rest camps were also outsourced, but SANParks has resumed control of this lucrative part of the business.
When you take into account all the challenges, you’ve got to admit that they do a helluva job. The park generally runs smoothly and its visitors want for nothing. All right, the catering is a bit unpredictable (especially when restaurant franchisees go rogue) and some of the rondawels are in need of an upgrade. But this is all part of the wilderness experience.By David Fleminger