The SANParks Honorary Rangers West Rand Branch have decided to stage a bicycle tour from Unions End to the Nossob Rest Camp in the Kalahari Transfrontier Park a distance of approximately 155 km during September 2013.
It is stated that an entrance fee of R4000.00 per participant is charged and the number of participants will be restricted to 50 and that this will raise R200 000.00 for conservation.
It springs to my mind that a few years ago the Honorary Rangers Lowveld (Phalaborwa) Branch arranged a sponsored fishing competition in the Reënvoël Dam south of Masorini in the Kruger National Park also to raise funds. The funds were used to repair the roof of the lapa in the Letaba rest camp staff village. Just more than 100 persons participated, my opinion about this is that it was just an outing for a selected few.
The Kalahari Transfrontier National Park is an arid park which is vulnerable to destruction and overutilisation. The roads in the KTP are terrible; not due to lack of effort by SANParks to maintain them but due to overuse. The roads are said to be graded regularly and dragged weekly, but due to the nature of the surface (loose sand) the many vehicles traversing them soon return them into the original very poor state. The Nossob Rest Camp is already short of potable water, suitable water has to be brought in by tanker.
SANParks also have plans to do even further developments in this gem, and now a bicycle tour in a conservation area – this cannot be allowed to happen. My reason for saying this is this: imagine the number of support vehicles in this convoy transporting seconders and camping gear and medics and whoever else is required to make this idea take place.
I do not know what the costs in Rand value will be, but it should be quite hefty. Unfortunately the damage to the area cannot be determined no matter what the defenders of this venture will be saying. It is also stated that this is a once off event. If so, why at all?
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Convenor of the AIKONA GROUP