I wonder how many tourists give a thought to the multitude of jobs that happen behind the scenes in a game reserve that are ultimately for their benefit. The people one sees daily are those who clean the ablution blocks, who keep the chalets or camping areas clean; those who tend the gardens perhaps as well as those who work in the shop. Then there are the people who keep the restaurant going and the gatekeeper who checks one’s permit before one can enter the game viewing area – and those who operate the entrance/exit gates … I suspect their contributions are largely taken for granted.
What about the man with the back pack, a rifle and an Alsatian we sometimes saw around the car park and the day visitor picnic area – he says he is on the lookout for clues relating to rhino poachers. There are people who are involved with game management from the air.
Then there is the management team that has had to consider the impact of herds of elephants dominating the waterholes, preventing other animals from having access to water; that came up with the idea of partial exclusion waterholes.
As there are no rivers running through the Addo Elephant National Park, there are no natural open water sources, except when hollows fill with water after a particularly good rain. All the waterholes have been artificially created with water that has to be pumped from boreholes. These waterholes have to be managed. When you look at this view of the popular Hapoor waterhole and see the impact the gathering of large herds of elephants (and other animals) has had on the veld you can appreciate why some waterholes have had to be protected.
We noticed a borehole rig operating below that dam wall at Domkrag.
That they had struck water became obvious the following day.
On our last morning in the Addo Elephant National Park we came across a group of men patching potholes in the tar road in the Woodlands area.
These, and so many other ‘invisible’ people help to ensure that tourists have a good time when visiting game reserves all over the country. Give them a thought and a nod of appreciation when next you ‘head out for the wild’.