More visitors, more poachers in Kruger Park

25 May 2015 - 18:13 By RDM News Wire

A total number of 1‚659‚793 visitors passed through the gates of the Kruger National Park in the 2014/15 financial year‚ compared to 1‚556‚916 the previous financial year‚ according to SANParks and the Department of Environmental Affairs. Of this 1‚277‚397 were day visitors and 382‚396 were overnight guests. Between the 2012/13 and 2014/15 financial years‚ the number of day visitors entering the Kruger National Park grew by an additional 239‚817‚ the department and SANParks said in a statement.A total of 382‚396 overnight guests spent a night or more inside the national park generating R321‚482 million in accommodation fees for SANParks.Of the 25 SANParks operated camping facilities inside the Kruger park‚ the majority overnighted at the popular Skukuza camp.Visitor numbers for the 2015/16 financial year look similarly promising‚ the statement read. “Day visitor numbers through April 2015 are 108‚284 and 35‚093 overnight guests.”“These figures are pleasing not just for SANParks but for the country in general: evidence that our abundant wildlife continues to attract our citizens and foreign visitors‚ and in particular‚ more visitors from the continent” says SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.Minister of Environmental Affairs‚ Edna Molewa‚ said: “That increased numbers are visiting one of our country’s major attractions furthermore indicates that government’s National Tourism Sector Strategy is well on track‚ and working”.This is despite massive poaching inside the park‚ home to the Big Five. By the end of April‚ 393 rhinos had been killed in the country‚ with 290 of these occurring in the Kruger – an increase on last year. Between January and April‚ there were 900 “incursions” into the Kruger by poachers.-RDM News Wire..

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