The Kruger National Park is experiencing something like a crime wave this month, as international tourists are being targeted by robbers. As Tourism Update has revealed, six visitors to the Kruger Lowveld have been ambushed within the last 10 days.
Kruger Park robberies: How the criminals are operating
The underhand tactics of these thieves should put all visitors on alert going forward. It’s understood that two men in hi-vis jackets have been masquerading as park officials, and directing traffic in an unofficial capacity. They strike by telling certain vehicles to pull over, and then demand that tourists hand over their possessions.
The two suspects are operating between Graskop and Sabie, a route that travellers often frequent to go from their accommodation and onto the safari. Although no-one is being targeted at their camps, the criminals are taking advantage of the slow speed limits and remote locations.
What authorities plan to do to protect tourists
Oupa Pilane is the President of Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism. The MEC has acknowledged the spate of robberies that have taken place since the beginning of last week and promised visitors that the department is doing “everything in their power” to bring these crooks to justice.
“Tourism safety is our absolute highest priority. We are doing everything in our power to ensure that there is no repeat of these unfortunate incidents and authorities are acting swiftly to bring this lawlessness to an end.”
As well as the Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business, the regional government is also set to deploy members of the house to help with the investigation. SAPS are prioritising the situation, and have already put interventions in place to help guarantee the safety of everyone currently in the Kruger.
On Tuesday, a report from StatsSA found that tourism was on the decline in South Africa for the peak season of 2019. One expert concluded that “crime against foreign travellers” was a reason for this dip, and incidents like this surely won’t be helping those figures make a recovery.