RI,3bn track pavilion in the pipeline
AFRICAN countries could soon have their horses galloping in Plettenberg Bay - that's if Africa Race Estate has its way about developing an ambitious R1,3billion track, pavilion and a five-star hotel and a village in the area.
While the man on the street will also be able to race at the planned annual Africa Race International, African Race Estate is targeting African countries, royalty and the super rich and famous on the continent.
African Race Estate has the full backing of Western Cape MEC for finance, economic development and tourism Alan Winde, who said the development will get under way as soon as regulatory requirements such as an environmental assessment impact and rezoning of the 60 hectare land have been cleared.
Phindi Kema, one of the directors at African Race Estate, said: "We are building the home of African racing. Taking the lead will be our royalty - African royalty. This is a sport of kings and it's only natural that you will have African and Arabian royalty as part of the race."
With its highly developed horse industry, Kema said the country will provide knowledge and necessary infrastructure to the rest of Africa.
"The whole idea is to have African countries with their royalty backing and the rich and famous to back or even own specific horses in the race. The critical aspect of it is the visibility of South African racing to the next level.
"The whole idea is to have royal families and the rich and famous to back or even own specific horses in the race," she said.
Kema said the initial race will feature Libya, Swaziland, Morocco; Nigeria and Angola, adding that more and more royalty will be lured as time goes on.
Though she wouldn't reveal the funders, she said finance will come from both local and middle eastern partners, who have interest in horse racing.
Qatar is speculated to be one of the partners in the race.
Kema said the company had roped in a European expert in horses to manage and market the race on an international level.
"We have to raise the bar. This is historic and the first of its kind in Africa," she said.