South Africa: Attacks force game lodges to close
You must know crime is bad in South Africa when two successful game lodges, the Blue Mountain Lodge and Tulani Safari Lodge are forced to close due to a crime wave being committed on visitors and staff at the resorts. The marketing manager of the resorts, Mr Christo Wagenaar, has decided to call it a day after the resorts experienced three attacks by armed robbers in the past month. As all South Africans know, once you’re targeted then it’s only a matter of time before people end up murdered and it’s just not worth it. So, these two resorts will close in August and the local Blacks will lose their jobs – all so that a few criminals can get their jollies by terrorising innocent people. Tourism has fallen in the areas – apparently due to the poorly maintained roads and other infrastructure. That may be a contributing factor, but the more feasible reason would be that tourism has fallen due to the high crime rates experienced in South Africa, with more than 50 murders per day. I don’t know about you, but even myself, an experienced ex-South African, have no desire to return to my homeland. My kids are still traumatised and when given the option to return for a visit later this year, answered with: “Why? We’re not safe there and we’d rather go to Disney”. Out of the mouth of babes…..and Disney it is.
Hat tip: Julian B
The Blue Mountain Lodge in Hazyview and Tulani Safari Lodge near Phalaborwa have been forced to close due to criminal attacks on staff and patrons.
Christo Wagenaar, marketing manager for Forever Resorts (the owners of the lodges) told News24 there had been three attacks by armed robbers in the past month.
“We’ve had guests being tied up and gagged while the criminals stole precious items such as jewellery, wallets and ipods,” Wagenaar said. “We decided to beef up our security by installing extra lights and security cameras, but this wasn’t enough.”
On Wednesday13 July, after the extra security measures had been but in place, another group of men entered Blue Mountain. After being spotted the men fled.
“We’re grateful that no serious incidents have taken place yet, but we need to look after our clients. So we’ve decided to close these resorts,” Wagenaar said.
He attributes the rise in crime to the decline in tourism in the area. Towns such as Graskop, Sabie and Hazyview are apparently experiencing low tourist activities due to deterioration of roads and other infrastructure.
There are talks of local farmers having an interest in the properties, and Wagenaar said the Forever group is considering selling it. The personnel at Blue Mountain and Tulani will be redeployed at other lodges, or given the option of taking a severance package.
Reservations made until the end of August will still be honoured, after which the properties will be taken out of commission.
“We’d rather take precautions than risk lives,” Wagenaar concluded.