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  1. #1
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    Default Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    “Tshwane is the only city in the world with the Big 5 roaming wild within its municipal boundaries at the 21,000ha Dinokeng Game Reserve” proclaims SA Tourism in its destination marketing. The official Dinokeng Game Reserve website states: “Dinokeng Game Reserve presents a rare opportunity to develop a model for future conservation… We are pioneering a model where the Big 5 roam freely and live in harmony with resident landowners…”

    It goes on to say: “We believe we can create an ecotourism destination without the negative side effects of mass tourism. Because conservation conscious tourists are the type of people that not only respect nature, but are also curious about the culture and customs. This is a core prerequisite to prevent the clash between conservation and tourism...” And, yet, the internet is replete with dissatisfied comments by folks who feel they’ve been duped.

    A common refrain seems to be around the cost-benefit ratio i.e. high prices and low animal numbers for self- drivers. On a direct comparison with the Pilanesberg it breaks down as follows. Dinokeng 1 day Self Drive Permit: R250; Per Person Conservation Fee: R80, Vehicle Entrance Fee: R50. Family of 5 = R700. Pilanesberg Per Person Conservation Fee: R80, Vehicle Entrance Fee: R40. Family of 5 = R440.

    Pilanesberg being twice the size of Dinokeng, and a much older reserve, may have something to do with it. The 2 models are also different. Pilanesberg is run by Northwest Parks as a public good, while Dinokeng is an aggregate of former private conservancies. Dinokeng game ranching may also be pursued for a number of reasons, although it seems that generating a profit is primary. Over the past few decades the numbers of game have increased drastically since a monetary value has been put on game: “If it pays it stays” is the approach.

    The problem appears to revolve around Dinokeng’s marketing creating the perception that it’s a reserve of free roaming animals, including the Big 5. The reality is that the self-drive routes (see map) are laid out in areas that feature sparse amounts of plains game mostly, due to the nature of the vegetation. The section north of the D48 (the Rust de Winter road) is soetveld, which attracts the bulk of the animals - including the large herbivores and predators. However, this area is occupied by private concessions and not open to the self-driving public - bar a short loop (marked in red).

    Therein lies the rub. This information is absent from the marketing collateral; and has left members of the public annoyed. Some would say the commercial incentive is primary and one should read the fine print, or at least notice the absence of it in this instance. Is it a case of caveat emptor i.e. buyer beware? Conversely, the view of private landowners might be “maak like you smaak” - it is their land after all, albeit with a fat subsidy from the Gauteng Development Agency, which is public money. What say you in these times of expropriation without compensation?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    We did the self drive thing there, and never again. I see more animals in a residential estate than in that main self drive area. There weren't even signs of animals in the area - no spoor on the roads, no droppings, nothing. And yes, the payment puts a sour taste in ones mouth before you even get started.
    We will definitely return though, it has that bush feel, which is actually all I want. We just wont waste our time and money on doing any drives.
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    I totally totally disagree

    It does take a while to find out where the animals congregate

    It still is the best in Gauteng.

    If you only have one or two days Dinokebg all the way.

    If you have a few days then go to Kruger or Pilanesberg.

    I've often had days that I see nothing but I've also seen big prides of lion, cheetah with cubs rhino elephant
    Last edited by Mal Hannes; 2021/07/23 at 03:55 PM.


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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    We've done the self drive in Dinokeng twice and barely saw any game. Now we get up a bit earlier go to Pilanesberg for the day
    Wicus Diedericks

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wicd View Post
    We've done the self drive in Dinokeng twice and barely saw any game. Now we get up a bit earlier go to Pilanesberg for the day
    There is areas that has much game and long distances with no game

    You must get to know the areas I also think there was some serious theft during lock down


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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Hannes View Post
    I totally totally disagree

    It does take a while to find out where the animals congregate

    It still is the best in Gauteng.

    If you only have one or two days Dinokebg all the way.

    If you have a few days then go to Kruger or Pilanesberg.

    I've often had days that I see nothing but I've also seen big prides of lion, cheetah with cubs rhino elephant
    Where are the areas you're referring to Hannes?

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Two areas where I find game everytime is
    1 immediately on entering main gate turn right towards the entrance on the gravel Road.

    There is a leivoor with a twee spoor paadjie next to it. Take that twee spoor. ill bet that 3 out of 4 times you will get big herds of game there.

    Then between little Serengeti and Mongena lodge is where I find lion and and cheetah, giraffe and other plains game including buffalo. This is 50 50.

    Take a drive on Mongena landing strip.

    On the 4x4 route by klein plasie get the kudu and rhino.


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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    We game drive there quite often as it is 45min from us to be in the bush and a game reserve.
    We can easily find the likes of Zebra, Wildebeest, Giraffe and various buck, but have also seen Cheetah, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant. The Elephants hang out north which is Mongena Private lodge territory while the Rhinos usually stay mid east near the Arlington Brewery (Always a stop when we are there). Buffalo we see sometimes by the south gate.

    But we see far more in Pilansberg and often joke that someone goes out in the morning and puts out droppings and footprints as there is a lot less game than other places. We have been there for a day and seen very little but still worth it for a day outing for us.

    Our experience is that its best is to take a game drive with one of the rangers via the lodges or accommodation there if you definitely want to see something. They always seem to know where everything is.
    Dont take anything I say as actual advice or fact. I dont.

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    I don't quite get the point of the OP.
    Dinokeng has the big 5 and that's a fact, they are free roaming inside the reserve that's a fact.
    Yes there are still fenced farms inside the reserve but nobody ever argued about that and nowhere does Dinokeng state that you can drive on every single square centimeter inside the reserve.
    You can't heard wild animals, you can't ask them to be in a specific area for tourists to see. The ultimate mission of the Dinokeng reserve is to open all fences and ultimately as time goes on that will happen and the self drive route will be expanded.

    You can't drive everywhere in Kruger and you also can't drive everywhere in Pilanesberg or any national park for that matter, I don't think Dinokeng should be compared to any other reserve or national park, it is unique in its own way.
    Last edited by bigboy529; 2021/07/25 at 06:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    As parents with two young girls we found Sondela and Dinokeng Lodge two of our favourites short term camping places in and around Gauteng, i.e. within an easy 90min drive.

    They cater for families wanting to get away from big smoke which also entertains the kids.

    Yes, you do pay ‘Gauteng’ rates (not Eastern Cape rates) but you really do get a lot for your money and the kids are entertained for the ENTIRE weekend.

    If you can’t afford it, then go camp elsewhere, but don’t bad mouth a place because you’re too cheap. My 2cw

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Well the last time we were at De Rust we had the Elephants in the camp drinking water from the swimming pool passing 10 meters behind our caravan. Felt just like in Moremi.


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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal Hannes View Post
    I've seen one of the prides hunt I don't think they are fed.

    If referring to Dinokeng I know they're not fed, it's simply not reserve policy and silly of some to even suggest.
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    If referring to Dinokeng I know they're not fed, it's simply not reserve policy and silly of some to even suggest.
    Yes I am referring to Dinokeng.


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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Patience people.

    You can’t start a reserve and stock it to capacity straight off the bat. Well you can if you’re mega rich and want mega management headaches with what to do with your surplus animals.

    Reserves take time to grow and fill themselves up with game organically. Pilanesberg in the early 80’s had very little game too. Both Kruger and Kgalagadi were declared because they had so little game that it was felt that they needed protection.

    Enjoy the Bush experience, surely that’s the most important part?

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    I enjoy Dinokeng for a few reasons. Its close enough that the little ones aren't irritated in the car, we can get there on a Friday afternoon after work.
    I can sit with my morning coffee and listen to birdlife and maybe have a sighting, we can do a game drive that isn't a traffic jam and I get that nature fix that i need.

    I don't need to be guaranteed a big five sighting, its enough to know that its a possibility.

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    A bad game drive in Dinokeng still a whole lot better than a good drive on the N1 or R21
    Pieter le Roux

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by bigboy529 View Post
    I don't quite get the point of the OP.
    Dinokeng has the big 5 and that's a fact, they are free roaming inside the reserve that's a fact.
    Yes there are still fenced farms inside the reserve but nobody ever argued about that and nowhere does Dinokeng state that you can drive on every single square centimeter inside the reserve.
    You can't heard wild animals, you can't ask them to be in a specific area for tourists to see. The ultimate mission of the Dinokeng reserve is to open all fences and ultimately as time goes on that will happen and the self drive route will be expanded.

    You can't drive everywhere in Kruger and you also can't drive everywhere in Pilanesberg or any national park for that matter, I don't think Dinokeng should be compared to any other reserve or national park, it is unique in its own way.
    I agree with your facts, however they are not the only facts in evidence. As confirmed by rangers, the vast majority of the Big 5 currently congregate on private concessions which are not accessible to the self-driver. The original post is aimed at the self-driver and references the reserve’s Big 5 marketing aimed at that group. Why not play open cards around value for money? DGR can take the public into its confidence in clearly stating that you can go on a R250 self-drive where you take your chances; or upgrade to a R400/head private game drive with a high probability of sightings. That way everyone knows where they stand and can make informed choices. That and only that. Looking forward, further dropping of fences and the resultant expansion of the self-drive routes northwards will benefit everyone. Eventually there may even be an amalgamation with the Rust-de-Winter Nature Reserve. All the water there will be a gamechanger (pardon the pun).

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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    SWAMBO and the cost-centres were there 2 weeks ago. They had a very nice sighting of a buffalo herd, and a couple of Rhino (they were on the private concessions side in the north).

    According to their guide, who is also an owner in the park, there are 3 prides of lion, 2 of which tend to stick to the South side of the park, and 1 to the North. Saw fresh signs of elephant on both sides. There is a matriarch that has taken to charging game viewing vehicles and has apparently written off 2 of Mongena's vehicles, and another (not sure who it belonged to). Although we saw the signs on the north side, the elephants are apparently sticking far to the south, and the new owner of one of the farms has cut off their normal route from one side to the other.

    We have at other times, seen Cheetah, Lion, and Elephant multiple times. The lion are definitely not fed, but some have radio collars.


    When i went up to fetch them, i noticed a lot less litter on the main road through the park, which was good to see. Friends of ours recently spent 2 weekends at one of the newer bush camps, and have nothing but good reports about it. They took the self-drive option, and enjoyed it.
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Imvubu View Post
    SWAMBO and the cost-centres were there 2 weeks ago. They had a very nice sighting of a buffalo herd, and a couple of Rhino (they were on the private concessions side in the north).

    According to their guide, who is also an owner in the park, there are 3 prides of lion, 2 of which tend to stick to the South side of the park, and 1 to the North. Saw fresh signs of elephant on both sides. There is a matriarch that has taken to charging game viewing vehicles and has apparently written off 2 of Mongena's vehicles, and another (not sure who it belonged to). Although we saw the signs on the north side, the elephants are apparently sticking far to the south, and the new owner of one of the farms has cut off their normal route from one side to the other.

    We have at other times, seen Cheetah, Lion, and Elephant multiple times. The lion are definitely not fed, but some have radio collars.


    When i went up to fetch them, i noticed a lot less litter on the main road through the park, which was good to see. Friends of ours recently spent 2 weekends at one of the newer bush camps, and have nothing but good reports about it. They took the self-drive option, and enjoyed it.

    Ja they collar many of the animals, some lions, cheetah and elephant mainly for research purposes and all rhino for obvious reasons. When animals are exchanged between parks it is standard practice to collar them to monitor their progress, especially animals like lion and cheetah who often also try and run away when relocated, this happened just the other day.
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    Default Re: Dinokeng Misleading Marketing?

    Quote Originally Posted by !Xo View Post
    I agree with your facts, however they are not the only facts in evidence. As confirmed by rangers, the vast majority of the Big 5 currently congregate on private concessions which are not accessible to the self-driver. The original post is aimed at the self-driver and references the reserve’s Big 5 marketing aimed at that group. Why not play open cards around value for money? DGR can take the public into its confidence in clearly stating that you can go on a R250 self-drive where you take your chances; or upgrade to a R400/head private game drive with a high probability of sightings. That way everyone knows where they stand and can make informed choices. That and only that. Looking forward, further dropping of fences and the resultant expansion of the self-drive routes northwards will benefit everyone. Eventually there may even be an amalgamation with the Rust-de-Winter Nature Reserve. All the water there will be a gamechanger (pardon the pun).


    I hear you, however it's quite complicated, a case of doomed if you do, doomed if you don't I guess.
    They can't really tell the public "don't take our self drives since you won't see anything, rather take a private game drive", because that's a huge source of income for them and again, they can't control where the animals roam.

    Many other parks with private concessions have much the same, self drives are limited vs paid for game drives and on paid for game drives you are pretty much guaranteed to see the big 5 because the rangers know where they are, they see them every day.

    A couple years ago I was fortunate to spend a weekend in the Sabi Sands game reserve next to Kruger. Out of our 3 game drives we saw the entire big 5, on one of the game drives we in fact saw them all in a matter of 1 hour. There's no way you'll be able to achieve that in the same time on a self drive in that same reserve.

    Yes Rust de Winter will be great and that's part of the dream, though as far as I know not part of any official plans for the future yet.
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