Kruger National Park officials are looking to rethink park related apps and technology in an effort to combat speeding. As the Kruger continues to see more and more tourists entering the park in search of wildlife, more and more visitors are using social media to share their sightings by snapping photos and uploading them, sometimes with their location tagged.
Apps are a popular way to share animal sightings and although they are both fun and helpful, they have a drawback, which is that they have been blamed for encouraging speeding.
In the last year, the Kruger National Park played host to 1.8 million tourists, which while it is fantastic for the growth of the park and the efforts being made towards conservation, it has presented a problem in that policing traffic has become problematic. From the earliest days of the park, the rules of the road have become some of the most important as they protect both visitors and animals.
But while in the past guests respectfully stuck to the traffic rules, things are different these days and tourists have been known to break the road rules in the past. Once news gets out that an animal has been spotted, some guests and a few safari companies tend to rush to the sighting in the hopes of seeing the animal before it moves off. This leads to speeding and in some cases, accidents.
The Issue of the App
With instant access to the internet allowing guests to upload everything they see the moment they see it, and apps like Latest Sightings being more popular than ever before, sightings and locations can be shared in real time. This means guests can quickly make their way to the location, and in some cases, they tend to speed.
When the issue of the app has been brought up, app creators have denied that they are responsible for the speeding problem. Firstly, their app does not shared sighting locations and secondly, they make it very clear that guests should obey the rules of the road and never speed while in the park. Besides, once a sighting has been shared chances are good that the animal has long since gone.
Following the death of a tourist and a giraffe in the park, the questions of whether or not taxis should be allowed into the park also arose. It has been alleged that taxis use the park as a shortcut and tend to speed. Calls for taxis to be banned were met with disapproval from park officials as they said it would be unfair.
Apps and the Future
Park officials are considering the role of technology in the park, 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.
There are talks of apps and cell signal being banned from the park in an effort to curb over tourism and speeding. Although it is still early days, and park officials are only debating the issue with experts, should this change happen, it could alter the way guests experience the Kruger.
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