Since it was opened in about 2011, Jack’s Picnic Site in the Addo Elephant National Park has proved to be a popular spot for picnics at any time of the day – and especially over lunch time, which could be anytime between eleven in the morning and three in the afternoon. It is situated inside a 500 hectare Botanical Reserve which is a protected area put aside to monitor the impact of mega-herbivores, particularly elephants, on the subtropical ticket vegetation.
As you can see from the image below, the site is named after a black rhino called Jack:
It is a fenced off area with beautifully constructed picnic sites surrounded by natural vegetation to ensure one’s privacy.
What has always been striking about this site is the deliberate absence of rubbish bins – working on the principle that what visitors bring in they should be prepared to take out. Over the past year in particular I have been struck by the number of visitors asking the caretaker where the bins are – despite the signs explaining why there are no bins.
Of even more concern is that on more than one occasion I have seen the caretaker actually producing a large black bin bag for visitors to deposit their rubbish in. Why couldn’t they take it home? Yesterday I saw the disturbing sight of a black bin bag tied to the Spekboom hedge outside the ablution block.
Not only was it filled with rubbish, but there was another one filled with rubbish behind the hedge.
The caretaker told me that this is done because tourists keep asking for rubbish bins/bags or – and this is the really shocking part – they dispose of their picnic rubbish by hiding it in the bushes and shrubs surrounding their picnic site “and this makes it difficult for us to clean”, he said.
This is a fine example of how good intentions on the part of the National Parks Board go awry because of the self-centredness and laziness of the public. It is a shame that tourists should flout what is a good idea simply because they do not wish to deal with the rubbish of their own making.