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  • Writer's pictureKirk

My Encounter with Kruger Park Police

Well, I’m no stranger to overseas police encounters. I had one in South Africa here with the police shake down: https://www.kirkstravelstories.com/post/south-africa-dangers-part-2-shake-down





Yes, I know that 4 encounters make me an outlaw. But 5 makes me a fugitive! Anyway, here is a fifth one:


It was my third day in the park, so I was no stranger to the laws and regulations as they are well posted. Including speed limits. Now, I admit I’m a guy who pushes speed limits. In the USA the police give you an extra 10 above the limit, and that’s exactly where I set my speed controller. It has worked well for me.


But I’m more careful in foreign countries until I observe the traffic patterns. If I see a pattern that allows deviations, I will conform to the local deviant behavior. That has not always worked well for me as I posted in my Japan experience referenced above. But that did not serve as a teacher to this moment.


The posted speed limit in the park is a ridiculously low 40 km/hr (25 mph). Now I know there are animals in the park, but it’s a pretty open Sahara and normally you can see them from quite a ways if they’re coming to the road. The only exception is taking a corner which most people will slow down going around anyway.


But I began by observing the law and I did not exceed the 40 km/h speed limit. But I did observe what other people were doing including the park rangers. The park rangers in particular were going very fast in that park, I mean, I would estimate they were probably going 80 km/h which was twice the posted limit. Nobody was going 40 km/h, and if you did, I think you would have traffic backing up behind you. So, I didn’t consider to go the posted speed limit after the first hour or so in the park. Besides, the two days prior I never witnessed a single officer with the radar gun monitoring speed.

I think you can guess where this is going. Day three I encountered an officer with a radar gun. There was a lady officer and she was actually parked on the side of the road outside of her vehicle and she put the gun on me and immediately waved me over. I don’t recall my speed but it was probably in the order of 55 km/h so. Nothing crazy but enough to get pulled over.


She notified me of my infraction and I immediately began to protest. I told her I saw Park Rangers going through the park all the time much faster than me, so why wasn’t she monitoring them as well. She informed me that she would if she saw an officer speed, she would pull them over as well. I knew that was a bunch of bull.


Anyway, I thought I was being singled out. I was a little bit peeved at the situation and I think I pushed the protest probably further than I should have. But it was for a reason. Two minutes after our conversation about the park ranger speeding, one goes zipping past us at least 80 km/h. She was busy writing me the ticket at the time, but I interrupted her and pointed it out. She said she didn’t have the radar gun on them so couldn’t confirm what was the Ranger’s speed, but she would not admit the obvious, that he was speeding. That caused me to continue my protest, but it was to no avail.


Then I asked her how much the fine was and she told me it was a whopping $10. Immediately I calmed down and said to her, “Is that all?” I mean really…$10? After knowing that, I never used the brakes again! I can handle a $10 fine every 3 days to go a reasonable speed.


Having been conditioned to $200 - $300 US fines for speeding, I was not accustomed to these irrelevant fines. This is an example where there should be a two tier fine system. Not unlike the two tier property tax system we have in Florida. One tax for residents that get a tax homestead exemption, and a higher one for out of staters. So should their fines be. A lower one for residents for whom $10 is a lot of money, and a higher one for higher income tourists in order to be a legitimate deterrent.


Anyway, I’m not complaining!



Oh, one other aside, the lady officer asked me to exit my vehicle as she wrote me the ticket. All through that park are signs telling you never to exit your vehicle, and there are huge fines associated with it. I thought it was strange that I was still within the confines of the park and she was asking me to exit my vehicle. Odd things to do with so many wild animals around, but I assumed that she would just shoot the lion that was lurking in the bushes.



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Mike Wells
Mike Wells
May 12
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Not a huge fine for being a fugitive from other countries. If she knew your past she would have given you a bigger fine. Safe travels in your future endeavors

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Kirk
Kirk
May 12
Replying to

At least she didn’t smash a bottle at my feet! 🤪🥹

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