Europeans cities see staggering numbers of people – residents and visitors alike. You just need to catch a tube a 5pm from Kings Cross station or look for a quiet picnic spot in Provence in mid August! And when embarking on leasure activities locally in their wilderness areas, Europeans seldom have the opportunity to enjoy their activities alone – there are almost always other people around.
To put this in perspective – the resident population of just Chamonix is approximately 10,000 inhabitants. The number of visitors fluctuates enormously during the tourist season, in Summer up to 100,000 visitors per day and in Winter around 60,000 . And let me tell you from personal experience that when you climb Mt Blanc you set off hours before sunrise with your head-torches, and it looks like a national highway with a night-time rush-hour with the number of climbers who had the same unique though as you!
Ok – lets head south a few thousand km to sunny South Africa whose Drakensberg mountains boasts the second highest waterfall in the world, the Tugela Falls, coming a close second to the Angel falls in Venezuela. Now, the entire Drakensberg, North, Central and all the South, has approximately 600,000 visitors per annum, and particularly when you venture there out of school holidays and avoid weekends you seldom see more humans than baboons! Contrast that with what you just read about Chamonix!!
And while we locals take this for granted it does represent a wonderful opportunity to attract the discerning and adventurous European traveller and improve the lot of Kwazulu Natal as the youngest sibling living off the hand-me-downs from the Cinderella destinations – Cape Town, KNP, Vic Falls etc
BTW – the Tugela Falls is far, FAR more accessible to the casual hiker than the Angel Falls