After the death of a tourist from Fulda in a robbery in South Africa, the trial of three suspects began on Tuesday. The men, aged between 25 and 38, are charged with murder, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping in the district court in the small town of Kabokweni in the northeast of the country. The case drew national attention.
On October 3, the three suspects are said to have attacked a 67-year-old and three other Germans on the way to a safari lodge in the famous Kruger National Park in the north-east of the country. When the tourists refused to get out of the car and locked the doors shortly before the Numbi entrance to the national park, one of the perpetrators opened fire on the driver, police said. The 67-year-old died.
The national parks are popular with tourists
The road leading to the Numbi entrance was known as a crime hotspot, said Ike Phaahla, spokesman for the National Park Authority, the German Press Agency. According to Phaahla, two German tourists were attacked on the street last March. Two months earlier, perpetrators had shot a mother and her two children during a failed robbery. Since the German's death, the park authority has been working with the police, private security companies and representatives of the surrounding community to make the road safer, Phaahla said.
Oupa Pilane, deputy chairman of the Southern African Tourism Services Association (Satsa), announced something similar shortly after the raid became known. In addition to the patrols of a private security service, they wanted to video monitor the road to the Numbi entrance.
South Africa is particularly popular with tourists for its diverse national parks. Before the corona pandemic, almost 16 million foreign tourists visited the country every year, with most visitors coming from the USA, England and Germany, according to government statistics. After the pandemic, the country wants to boost tourism in the country again. With success: Since autumn 2022, the Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings has been offering direct flights three times a week from Frankfurt to the small town of Mbombela, located next to the Kruger National Park.
The high crime rate is particularly worrying for the tourism industry. The operator of a guest house in Mbombela, who did not want to be named, told the German Press Agency that she is now advising all tourists to use other entrances to the Kruger Park: "We expressly warn all our guests about the area around it Numbi Gate."