Original Research

Tourists’ feelings and behaviours in crowded areas of the Kruger National Park’s southern section

Peet van der Merwe
Koedoe | Vol 65, No 1 | a1762 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v65i1.1762 | © 2023 Peet van der Merwe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 February 2023 | Published: 16 October 2023

About the author(s)

Peet van der Merwe, School of Tourism Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

The Kruger National Park (KNP), South Africa, has reached a stage where crowding has become a challenge and feasible solutions must be found. Previous research found that visitors believe that the park’s southern section tends to experience crowding in specific areas, for example, at wildlife sightings, day visitor areas and picnic sites as well as eating and drinking areas (restaurants). This research aimed to determine the feelings and behaviours of tourists in these crowded areas in the southern section of the KNP. Qualitative research was conducted during the school holidays in December 2022 and the Christmas peak period. The sample population comprised overnight and day visitors (older than 18 years) to the park. Twenty-three interviews were conducted at various places. The research found that tourists experiencing crowding in the park have multiple feelings and behaviours. Some may feel overwhelmed or frustrated by the crowds, whereas others may be excited, anticipating something interesting to see.

Contribution to conservation: Visitors might be negatively impacted at crowded places in the park, resulting in negative perceptions among tourists and perhaps fewer visitors. This could have indirect implications for conservation efforts, as fewer tourists to the park will result in less funding for the park’s management.


Keywords

crowded areas; wildlife tourism; behaviour; Kruger National Park; natural area tourism; tourists behaviour

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