Everybody knows: a national park is not a zoo. Furthermore, at all entrances gates the Rules of Conduct are clearly displayed. And everybody who is not an illiterate is summoned to read these rules.

Therefore it's really amazing to encounter so many safariists who behave like zoo visitors or even worse, spreading their rubbish, caterwauling flat out and performing races without having any adversary. Animals are showered with loud calls, pelt with pebbles, badgered with cars and even hooted at - just to get a great shot. Beverage cans are bunged out of cars by some funny chaps, who sometimes also love to rejoice baby lions with silver chocolate wrappers.

After spending such a beauty- and eventful day people of this sort often use to express their delight by rumbling and partying till late night, sweetend by a fair amount of alcohol. Obviously that's the well-deserved reward for the day's hard work. After all, with squeaky tires they had to pass all these boring parts of the park, where only dull antelopes could be seen. Isn't the real Africa only to be found off road? Even don't suchlike fellows feel inhibited to approach a cheetah family by feet - these cute and fluffy babies are, by God, too tiny to take a reasonable, format-filling photo!

Unfortunately I'm not joking, so please suppress your laughter. If I hadn't witnessed every single of the foregoing occurrences, I would not tell you such strange stories. You can take it from me: it made my blood boil to see such a lack of respect and devotion. In most cases I was not able to overlook nor to put a bridle on my tongue - and was looked at in amazement and disbelief. It's sad enough that strictly-watched reserves have to be established for the preservation of comparatively small remains of former abundance. But it's even a greater shame that there are quite a number of travellers who roam around without showing the slightest evidence of respect towards nature.

Reserves hit hardest by such behaviour are selfdrive-parks (I use to call them Disney-parks) with a high number of visitors such as the Kruger NP - although its Rules of Conduct do not differ from other reserve's rules. In several parks the attendance of an authorized guide is mandatory. But also here, the amount of respect meted out to nature depends on the guide and the guests. So please, do not trepan your guide into anything forbidden (he could loose his permit), nor should you allow him to inveigle you (some guides try to demonstrate nonchalance by breaching of the rules in order to get an extra-generous tip). The only thing you have to internalize is that you are no better than a guest. Hosted by a special and sensitive kind of world that miffs every little mistake. No matter whether you have to experience the consequences for yourself or somebodyelse has to pay. Please note: you are not at the zoo, not at a rubbish dump, not performing the Silverstone Circuit nor are you at home at all.

Should you be inclined to raise a quarrel, to agree or to share your own experiences, I'd really be delighted to read something in my visitors book or in my mailbox