Kruger National Park inundated with tourists, hopes for rebound

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The Kruger National Park has been inundated with tourists and has reached the maximum number of visitors allowed for the long weekend. Boasted by local tourism, it is expected to recover some of the 2020 losses.

The influx of tourists has seen long queues with people waiting to enter the park. Inside the park, there is bumper-to-bumper traffic. However, visitors were rewarded with great sightings. “We saw lions, giraffes, and elephants,” says one of the visitors.

With regulations fully in place, some businesses are struggling to stay afloat. “Because of the regulations, we had to cut down the number of people in our vehicles and also reduce the price,” says game driver, Romeo Mkhwanazi.

The Kruger National Park says adherence to the coronavirus regulations is non-negotiable and a limited number of visitors are allowed. “Last year we took a huge knock financially, but since yesterday we have seen a huge number of tourists, and we have reached our quarter. We are allowing cars according to the number leaving the park, so we don’t reach capacity at our rest camps, picnic spots, and on the road,” says the park’s Nhlanhla Themba.

More visitors are expected to visit the park in the coming days, especially during the school holidays. This is expected to improve the financial situation of the park, which also took a knock due to the pandemic.

The Kruger National Park says local tourism has shown resilience, the park is expected to be full this long weekend and the upcoming school holidays.

Tourism Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology Unathi Henama explains the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the tourism sector: