Media Release: KNP Phabeni Gate now a reality
14 January 2003
The new gate, open to the public since December 15, 2002, creates an easy access to the entire southern region as it is situated in the south-western corner of the park. It can also be used as an alternative to Numbi and Paul Kruger Gates.
Phabeni Gate is situated 12 km east of Hazyview and can be reached by travelling towards Skukuza from Hazyview on the R536 and then, after 10 km, turning right before the Sabie River Bridge. The gate itself is only a few kilometres from this turn-off. It is situated on the Phabeni River close to where this river joins the Sabie River.
The name Phabeni is a Sotho word meaning “place of shelter or cave”. It has been constructed in the same style of architecture as all the other new (post 2000) developments in the KNP, including the new restaurants at Pretoriuskop and Lower Sabie and the Skukuza Day Visitors’ Area.
Made to simulate a Swazi kraal, the central focus of the gate complex is the main hut, where the gate’s reception area is located. The building’s attractive thatching curves downwards, creating a cool welcoming atmosphere within.
Phabeni Gate is situated 100 metres to the south-west of the historical site where Joao Albasini had a trading post, store and residence between 1846 and 1848. Albasini was a Portuguese-born trader and elephant hunter who operated in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Lowveld and Mozambique during the mid-1800s. His trading post was called Magashulas Kraal and was situated on the old trade route to Delagoa Bay (now Maputo).
Among other considerations, the gate was constructed as a result of the vulnerability of the Paul Kruger Gate route during times of flooding of the Sabie River, as was seen during 1996 and 2000. In both these years, the park was virtually isolated because of damage to bridges and/or the road itself. The route via Phabeni Gate runs over the higher ground between the Sabie and Nwaswitshaka River systems.
From a convenience point of view, Kruger National Park guests are now offered quick access into the Park when coming from Hazyview. Says assistant gate official Primrose Mpangane: “This has proved true for the 1 545 visitors that have already made use of the gate since it opened in December. People who pass through here adore the new gate, saying that it will look even more attractive once grass and other vegetation grown here.”
Businesspeople, staff and guests wishing to visit Skukuza will continue to use Paul Kruger Gate as this is quicker.
The name Phabeni was the most popular among those fowarded by members of the public during a competition held last year. Of all the motivations suggested for the name, Dr Ben du Plessis of Nelspruit’s suggestion was the best. He won himself a fully sponsored weekend for two in a Kruger National Park camp of his choice. The new gate is situated conveniently near the Sabie and Phabeni rivers, the Albasini Ruins and the newly proclaimed “My Acre of Africa” project. All the Southern area camps, including Skukuza, Lower Sabie, Berg-n-Dal and Pretoriuskop are within easy driving distance from the gate. Facilities at the gate include rest rooms and ample parking for those visitors who just want to enjoy the ambience of the new facility.
Note to editors/journalists: Photographs of Phabeni Gate are available.
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