Guests flee as luxury hotel burns

Sakhile Mokoena

Guests, some from abroad, at a Southern Sun Hotel in Mpumalanga were evacuated to neighbouring lodges after the hotel caught fire yesterday morning.

The luxurious Southern Sun Malelane Hotel, situated at the Malelane entrance of the Kruger National Park, caught fire early yesterday morning burning down the reception area, kitchen and a conference room.

Police spokesman Eddie Ngobeni said the cause of the fire was not yet known.

"No one was injured and municipal firefighters put out the fire," said Ngobeni.

Southern Sun has confirmed that a fire broke out at the hotel yesterday morning.

All guests and staff were safely evacuated according to procedure and are being accommodated at local hotels and neighbouring lodges.

"The hotel suffered substantial damage and has been closed with immediate effect," the hotel's management said in a statement.

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated and a full assessment of the damage to the hotel will be completed over the next two days, said Ngobeni.

It is not known how many guests had to be evacuated.