Tourism Development Part 6.
Facilities for Indians.
The Department for Indian Affairs submitted a letter to the Board in November 1974, lamenting the inadequacy of facilities for Indians in the Kruger Park. It was pointed out that the accommodation at Skukuza was cut off from the rest of the camp, and its conveniences after the camp gates closed at night. It was also pointed out that: no toilets or other amenities are provided for Indians at other rest camps and that they are forced to use the toilets of the Bantu servants there, which are invariably of an unsatisfactory condition. The only other rest camp that is reserved for “non whites” only is Balule.
As Indians experience difficulty in obtaining reservations, representation should be made for the erection of additional cottages for Indians as the existing accommodation was totally inadequate, and also for the provision of better facilities such as kitchen and dining room facilities.
Subsequently the Board decided that:
“An opening is made in the fence at Skukuza rest camp so that everyone could have access to the shop in the European rest camp after the gates had been closed for the night.
The following facilities be erected for other race groups.
A picnic place with the necessary ablution facilities at Satara.
6 Huts at Letaba and 3 at Skukuza.
Ablution facilities at Tshokwane, Shingwedzi, Punda Maria and Pafuri.”
The following facilities were provided:
Tshokwane – provided an ablution block.
Pafuri – ablution facilities provided.
Skukuza - 3 huts with conveniences added to the existing 4.
Letaba – 6 huts with conveniences completed.
Punda Maria- toilets completed.
Skukuza – work on ding hall completed in 1977.
Satara - Picnic site and ablution facilities completed.
Skukuza – 4 older huts provided with conveniences.
Lower Sabie – 2 huts with conveniences added to the existing 4.
Satara – 4 huts with conveniences completed.
Shingwedzi – ablution facilities completed.
Due to increased demand for facilities for other races groups other than white, the following the following was recommended to the Board in September 1980.
National parks were created for the use of all race groups and not exclusively for whites. It should be accepted that nature conservation, like sport, did not belong in the political arena.
“All rest camps where there were sufficient facilities (restaurants and huts with conveniences), be declared ‘international rest camps’ These were Skukuza, Pretoriuskop, Lower Sabie, Satara, Olifants, Letaba, Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.
That facilities be provided within the five year plan where these facilities did not exist, the camps involved were Crocodile Bridge, Orpen and Malelane. All huts were to be provided with conveniences including cooking facilities, where they did not exist.
All signs concerning and differentiating between race groups were to be removed.
Signs indicating a reservation of entrance would be erected at entrances, reception offices, restaurants and swimming pools would be erected to maintain good order.
Camping and caravan sites allocated to other race groups would be provided with separate ablution facilities.
Heavily utilised picnic spots such as Tshokwane and Nkuhlu would be provided with alternative ablution facilities.
Black staff, who wished to do so could eat in the restaurants, provided the booked in advance.
Suitable facilities such as community halls and kiosks should be provided in all the larger staff quarters for races other than white.
The new rules in connection with the facilities and care of other race groups who visit the KNP should be clearly stated and announced by means of an appropriate country-wide information campaign, but not with any unnecessary fanfare”.
The Board’s response was:
Members of other race groups who book in advance are to be treated as in the past.
Visitors of other race groups who book in groups should be accommodated to the best of the responsible officer’s ability, and ablution facilities as soon as possible where provided.
A submission had to be made to the Board of the present and the expected numbers of visitors from the different groups.
The submission to the Board in November 1980 indicated that bed occupancy increased from 6783 in 1976 to 7371 in 1980 and entrance fees paid increased from 14733 to 18967 for the same period.
The resolutions passed in September and November 1980 were aimed at alleviating the most urgent needs at that time. Clarity was required regarding the sharing of accommodation, ablution and restaurant facilities between race groups.
The following resolutions were passed in June 1981.
“International huts” should be allocated or constructed in more camps at the discretion of the Chief Director.
Restaurants should be opened to all races.
Equal facilities should be erected for different race groups wherever possible.
The principle of separation be adhered to, in order to prevent unnecessary friction.
Special facilities should be provided for bus groups and limitations on these groups should be strictly adhered to.
Any problems should be brought to the attention of the Board and reports on the progress made be submitted at each meeting.
In a report by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in March 1986 submitted to the Board and accepted, it was mentioned that:
Because of their privileged status and greater financial resources whites have traditionally and from the earliest times been, and still are, the greatest supporters of the National parks. Contributions from them have, in various ways led to the expansion and development of the National parks as we know them today. It is felt by the Board, from letters received, opinion polls and personal discussions with members of the public, that there is a large percentage of whites who have a serious fear that they may be swamped by Non-Europeans.
With the above in mind, it must be accepted that the implementation of the Board’s policy regarding to the provision of facilities for people of colour in National Parks will be done with a large measure of circumspection, discretion, positive attitude and honesty.
It must be realised that the process is evolutionary by nature and that it will be adapted according to the needs of all race groups without flavouring or prejudicing the needs of one at the cost of the other.
The use of private camps were open to all.
The number of “international huts” had to be increased in line with demand.
No distinction by colour would be made as far as day visitors were concerned.
Swimming pools were open to all overnight visitors.
The evolutionary process rapidly developed into the opening of all facilities to all race groups and by the late 1980s the concept of “international huts” was abandoned. The restaurant/conference complex built at Skukuza in 1969 to cater for visitors, especially dignitaries, of race groups other than white referred to as the “Dip. Camp” was thereafter used for a variety of small or semi-private functions. The similar complex at Olifants was converted to the Nshawu guest cottage in 1991.
THESE POSTS ABOUT THE FACILITIES FOR OTHER RACE GROUPS CONTAIN MANY EXTRACTS FROM “THE KRUGER NATIONAL PARK A HISTORY” , authored by Dr. Salomon Joubert.
I participate because I care - CUSTOS NATURAE
Convenor of the AIKONA Group.
No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 141 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.