Kruger National Parks will be getting a R370 million infrastructure upgrade and refurbishment through the programme South African National Parks (SANParks) over the next three years.
Funds for the upgrade include payments from insurers, 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 tourism facilities prioritised for launching in 2022 include the rebuilding of the burnt Letaba Shop and Fencing and the Lower Sabie Petrol Station which was also destroyed by fire as well as the construction of the Shingwedzi Main Building Roof which had been removed due to termites.
The upgrade further covers Phalaborwa Wildlife Activity Hub (Phase I), the renovation/Upgrade of more than 110 Tourism Accommodation units at camps across the Park.
The Skukuza camps will also receive an upgrade after being impacted by termites.
The first phase of the programme will provide important impetus to upgrading infrastructure and improving visitor experience.
The Managing Executive of KNP, Gareth Coleman indicated that the decline in tourist revenues under Covid-19 has impacted revenue but that the need to maintain and upgrade the organization’s infrastructure is ever present.
He further said that the infrastructure programme would also help provide much needed employment.
“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,”
Funds have also been allocated to the upgrading of selected Staff accommodation, the resurfacing of identified tar roads, and the re-graveling of selected gravel roads.
“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,” Coleman said.
Further projects will be launched in 2023.