Tourism threat as holidaymakers pelted at Tsitsa Falls

Tourists attacked with rocks while relaxing at the bottom of Tsitsa Waterfalls in Tsolo by locals boys and girls.
Image: supplied

A party of holidaymakers was pelted with rocks while relaxing at the bottom of the 100m Tsitsa Falls in Tsolo at the weekend — and for one family it has proved the last straw.

The attack by six youngsters occurred at noon on Saturday, said Eugene Couzyn, a tour guide and the owner of one of two helicopters used to transport the visitors to the picturesque site.

The Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency (ECPTA) has condemned the incident.

Couzyn said the group of 10 holidaymakers, which included two environmental scientists and four children, were enjoying the scenery when the youths starting throwing “tennis ball size” rocks from the clifftops above. A rock missed tourist Yvonne Corrigan’s head by inches, he said.

Couzyn said they all had to dive for cover as the rocks rained down.

“It was very bad. The youngest child in the tour group was five and the oldest was 15. Had a rock hit them on the head from such a height, they could have been killed,” Couzyn said.

The group fled the scene and flew back to Mbotyi River Lodge after only 30 minutes at the falls.

Environmental scientists Bridget and Michiel Jonker, from Johannesburg, were in the tour group with their children, aged 6 and 8, but for them the incident proved the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In a joint statement they said: “As a family, we have been considering emigration, mostly because of an unacceptable crime rate that threatens the personal security of our family. We recently had an attempted abduction of our oldest daughter by a vagrant in full view of a number of people in Johannesburg. After this incident at Tsitsa Falls, the decision to emigrate is clear and we will definitely be leaving SA to seek a safer future for our children elsewhere. This comes at great cost to ourselves and our friends and families but unfortunately we feel that we have no choice.”

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