Sanparks to upgrade facilities in KNP
The Bulletin has taken note of several negative comments over the past year or two regarding the state of the facilities in the Kruger National Park (KNP). People took to social media to voice their disappointment.
The following statement by SANParks shows some commitment to improving facilities within the Kruger National Park.
South African National Parks (SANParks) is pleased to announce the start of an R370 million upgrading and refurbishment infrastructure programme in the Kruger National Park (KNP) over the next three years.
Funds for the upgrade include payments from insurers, 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.
The Managing Executive of KNP, Gareth Coleman indicated that “the first phase of the programme will provide important 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.
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We are currently finalising contracts and works packages with successful contractors for civil and building works and this should be completed by the end of May 2022. Contractors will move onsite during May and June 2022 and we will start seeing the results of these investments in the second half of 2022”.
The tourism facilities prioritised for launching in 2022 include:
· Rebuilding of the burnt Letaba Shop and Fencing.
· Rebuilding of the Lower Sabie Petrol Station also destroyed by fire.
· Construction of the Shingwedzi Main Building Roof which had been removed due to termites.
· Phalaborwa Wildlife Activity Hub (Phase I).
· Shangoni (Phase I) which includes a Picnic Spot, Camping Site and Shangoni Reception facility.
· Punda Maria Tent Upgrades.
· Upgrade of 5 Entrance Gates at Pafuri, Punda Maria, Orpen, Phabeni and Numbi.
· Renovation/Upgrade of more than 110 Tourism Accommodation units at camps across the Park.
· Upgrading of Sweni Trails camp.
· Repair and upgrading of the viewing deck at Skukuza camp impacted by termites.
· Repair and upgrade of restaurant viewing deck and handrails at Olifants camp impacted by termites.
Funds have also been allocated to the upgrading of selected Staff accommodation, the resurfacing of identified tar roads, and the re-gravelling of selected gravel roads.
Further projects will be launched in 2023.
“We will do our utmost to minimise the impact on visitor experience and request patience and understanding from our clients during the refurbishment period 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”; concluded Coleman.