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Media Release: KNP’S Crocodile Bridge & gate get a facelift

Date: 8th December 2010

The Managing Executive of the Kruger National Park (KNP), Mr Abe Sibiya officially opened the new Crocodile Bridge and Gate facilities yesterday (Tuesday, December 7, 2010).

Councillor Mavuso and Mr Sibiya officially cut the ribbon to open the new Crocodile BridgeSibiya said the new raised bridge and the gate; which includes new boom style entrance gates were a huge investment into the tourism industry.

“These facilities are an investment into the area. It is a fact that the Kruger National Park is a major player in the local conservation and tourism industry and we believe investments like these will certainly play a major role in the tourism industry of this area, which include lodges around Komatipoort and surroundings stretching up until Mozambique,” Sibiya said.

The Mayor of Nkomazi Local Municipality, Cllr MJ Mavuso welcomed the new facilities with open arms. Mr Mavuso said that only 52% of the people in the 388 communities found in the Nkomazi region are employed and that the number of permanent staff members that were employed in the entrance gate facility, few or not will make a difference in their families and communities.

The R7,3 million upgraded bridge which was built in the existing footprint of the original was designed by Aerocon Company and a company called Tsitemba Brand Construction was involved in the construction of this facility. “Although nature sometimes did not approve of the contactors’ presence at the bridge with buffalo routinely chasing off the workers and the team running for cover, the completion of the Crocodile Bridge is a bitter sweet story which will provide new improved access to the southern part of the Kruger National Park.

The Crocodile Bridge Gate was opened yesterdayA company called BBC Projects was involved in the construction of the gate. The R3,9 million new entrance gate includes an extensive work to the approach road, entrance gate reception building, ablutions blocks for the day visitors, curio shop and new ‘boom”-style entrance gate. The boom-style entrance gate will make it easier for guests who are in possession of Wild Cards to gain access into the park without having to leave their vehicles. Crocodile Bridge Gate is the fourth KNP gate to receive the boom gates after Phalaborwa in 2007, Orpen in 2008 and Phabeni in 2009.

“The curio shop at the new gate will expose existing talented crafters from the historically disadvantaged communities and seek business opportunities for them to showcase their indigenous art and craft”. “Through the People and Conservation Department, the Park continues to expose the crafters who have never had jobs before but are determined to turn the project into a source of income and make it sustainable,” explained Sibiya.                   

The new Crocodile Bridge Gate is situated behind the camp’s old reception building in the Marula Region of the KNP and offers access to portions of the southern area of the Park, including game-rich areas around the camp itself, Lower Sabie Rest Camp and Biyamiti Bush Camp. The gate also provides access to the private concession camp, Shishangeni (Mpanamana).

In closing, Sibiya urged the members of the local communities to use the new facilities. “You are currently the guardian of this great planet of ours particularly this world icon that is Kruger National Park; you are looking after this Park so that your grand and great grand children will be able to enjoy it as well,” he concluded.

Issued by:
Laura Mukwevho, Media Relations Practitioner, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4262, cell: 082 807 1441 or e-mail: lauram@sanparks.org

Enquiries:
William Mabasa, HOD: Public Relations and Communication, Kruger National Park. Contact: Tel: (013) 735 4363, cell: 082 807 3919 or e-mail: williamm@sanparks.org

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