1967 to much later Part 3
Many graduate and post graduate scientific studies were carried out by local and overseas scientists e.g. on Zebra, Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Roan antelope, Kudu, Giraffe, Buffalo, Steenbok, Impala, Hippopotamus, Elephant, Black and White Rhinoceros, Leopard, Brown Hyaena, Spotted Hyaena and Wild Dog to mention a few. Other fields included Fish, Crustaceans, Spiders, Birds and many others all in very many diverse fields.
Certain guiding principles were set regarding the balance between Conservation and Tourism Dr. Knobel stated during 1975: the responsible authority has two main functions.
The authority is to limit the number of visitors to the National Park, the interference caused to nature by a tourist camp or any large gathering of people for whatever purpose must be kept to the minimum. Visitor’s accommodation areas must be so sited as to cause the least interference with wildlife or do least damage to the natural beauty of the area.
He also had strong views for control by the authority over conservation and tourism: “this will avoid the erection of buildings that are too large but allow the greater profits as a result of lower unit costs on overheads. Such structures, however; destroy the atmosphere in a Park”.
The authority had full control over the road network in the National Park, he believed that: “the guiding principle must be the conservation of nature and not the principles generally governing the construction of roads, such as cost, safety, etc. He was particularly concerned that roads would upset the movement of animals and cause disturbance around drinking sites. It is not possible to plan roads in such a way that they do not interfere with game movement at all. Therefore interference should be limited; and routes encircling an area especially favoured by game, should be avoided. It is essential to have areas where wildlife can exist completely undisturbed. Any Park or Reserve should have wilderness areas where no visitors are allowed.
The provision of accommodation: visitor accommodation should in no way detract from nature, and certainly should not try to compete with nature as a draw card for any National Park or Reserve. Visitor accommodation should be simple and not luxurious. Any form of accommodation also should conform to the highest standard of hygiene.
Knobel also was adamant that it was a superficial view to assume that visitors to a National Park were only interested in game viewing, scenic beauty, aesthetic values and relaxation. National parks not only provided recreational facilities but offered the deeper experience of spiritual, intellectual and physical renewal.
High priority was placed on interpretive services. Sensitivity towards conservation issues could be instilled in visitors.
Camps or visitor’s areas afford excellent opportunity for showing visitors the beauty of indigenous trees and shrubs, specimens should therefore be marked for easy identification.
National Parks are created to preserve outstanding scenic displays for the enjoyment of this and future generations.
He also stated that when visitors start demanding entertainment in visitors’ accommodation areas, it is a sure sign that the concentration is too large and that city-like conditions have been created. Such conditions call for entertainment to allow an escape from reality.
He concluded that “one thing we must never try and do is to combine National Parks and Nature reserves with pleasure resorts. Both will be the loser”.
Conservationists must tackle their assignment with all means and knowledge at their disposal, as the destruction of any species of animal, tree, shrub or any natural beauty or phenomenon is final and irreparable. If we are to err in the use of our Parks, let us err on the Conservation side; man cannot create, man cannot even recreate that which he has destroyed in nature; man can only conserve and this is the task of the Conservationist and of every single Employee in, and Visitor to, our Parks.
Later Berg en Dal and Mopani Rest Camps were developed as medium sized camps. With Boulders and Roodewal and Jock of the Bushveld as exclusive private camps. The smaller Bushveld Camps being Shireni, Bateleur, Shimuwini, Talamati, Jakkalsbessie, Biyamithi.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 141 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.