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Kruger National Park to get R320m makeover

The Kruger National Park upgrades will improve the visitor experience. Stock photo.
The Kruger National Park upgrades will improve the visitor experience. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/Byrdyak

Visitors to the Kruger National Park (KNP) are set to benefit from a R320m infrastructure refurbishment programme that will run over the next three years.

KNP managing executive Gareth Coleman said the first phase of the programme will provide significant impetus to upgrading infrastructure and improving the visitor experience.

“The decline in tourist revenues under Covid-19 has impacted our revenue, but the need to maintain and upgrade our infrastructure is ever-present. The infrastructure programme will also help provide much-needed employment in the area,” he said.

Coleman said they were finalising contracts and works packages with successful contractors for civil and building works and this should be completed by the end of May.

“Contractors will move on-site during May and June, and we will start seeing the results of these investments in the second half of 2022.”

Funds for the upgrades emanate from insurers’ payments and contributions from the national department of tourism but are predominantly from an infrastructure development programme allocation to SANParks from the department of forestry, fisheries and environment.

Tourism facilities prioritised for launch this year include:

  • rebuilding the burnt Letaba shop and fencing;
  • rebuilding Lower Sabie petrol station, also destroyed by fire;
  • construction of the Shingwedzi main building roof, which was removed due to termites;
  • the Phalaborwa Wildlife Activity Hub (phase 1);
  • Shangoni (phase 1), which includes a picnic spot, camping site and Shangoni reception facility;
  • Punda Maria tent upgrades
  • upgrading five entrance gates at Pafuri, Punda Maria, Orpen, Phabeni and Numbi;
  • renovation and upgrade of more than 110 tourism accommodation units at camps across the park;
  • upgrading of the Sweni Trails camp;
  • repairing and upgrading the viewing deck at Skukuza camp impacted by termites;
  • repairing and upgrading the restaurant viewing deck and handrails at Olifants camp impacted by termites;
  • upgrading selected staff accommodation;
  • resurfacing identified tar roads; and
  • regravelling selected gravel roads.

More projects are expected to be launched next year.

“We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on visitor experience and request patience and understanding from our clients during the refurbishment for any inconvenience caused. We would also like to urge visitors to take note of additional signage placed in the affected locations and note the advice from our staff members,” said Coleman.

TimesLIVE


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