The use of mobile apps that share information about animal sightings in game reserves has become a cause for concern in South Africa, so much so that authorities are considering banning them.
Apparently, their use has led to speeding, congestion and even some animal deaths.
Are we sometimes creating technology solutions for problems that don’t really exist? I have been on safaris a few times and I never went away without seeing the majority of the big 5 – and I did not have any app to help me find them. The beauty of it all was the sense of adventure and the element of surprise. It was a very rewarding - and personal - experience.
Do we really always need to know in advance what’s going to happen? Do we always need to share our experiences with others? Is anything left to spontaneity – and chance – anymore?
Having an app that tells me exactly where to go to see lions can on one hand be great as it may be my only chance to actually see the lions but, at the same time, it inevitably takes some of the sense of adventure and discovery away from the safari experience. It’s more like looking for the lions’ enclosure in a zoo. You know exactly where to find them and it's still very nice when you do but hardly as rewarding as ‘bumping' into them in their habitat.
So, when it comes to information, when is less better? In this particular case, is the app enriching my experience or diminishing it?
"Personally, this type of app is not for me. A big part of my enjoyment of the park is the excitement of trying to spot the wildlife, the next important aspect for me is also the peace and tranquillity of the park, so I will never want to go where the masses are. "The third most enjoyable aspect of the park is that while searching for the big five with eagle eyes, you get to see all the beauty in-between and, therefore, rushing from one sighting to another has zero appeal for me."