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A step closer to the new Orpen Gate

Date: 2006-11-15

Environmental consultant Butch Rossouw reports that there have been no appeals reported in the environmental impact process for the creation of a new Orpen Gate, leaving the road clear for construction to start.

According to Derek Visagie, environmental engineer and project manager for the Kruger National Park (KNP), the tender process for a suitable contractor to build the gate is being completed.

However, it appears that although the environmental footprint of the construction will remain the same, the architectural design of the buildings is undergoing some revision. 

Visagie says, “Physical implementation should start in two to three weeks’ time.”

The new Orpen Gate is designed to relieve congestion in the camp, and to separate the entrance gate from the rest camp facilities. Initially, one new gate was planned about seven kilometres away from the existing gate, which would achieve the dual goals of relieving congestion in the camp and also prevent animal deaths on road leading up to the camp. However, the environmental impact process found this to be less feasible than an alternative solution of creating a small security gate outside the park and a second larger gate closer to the rest camp.

As private landowners would need access to their land through the outer security gate, a mutually beneficial security protocol for Kruger and the landowners has to be drawn up for this gate.

Visagie says that this protocol is currently being refined.

The drawing up of the security protocol has been made more interesting by the changes that have been made in the provincial boundaries between Limpopo and Mpumalanga. With the boundary change, the Hans Hoheisen research centre has changed hands from Limpopo environmental affairs to Mpumalanga, making the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency a new player in the process after several years of discussion have been ongoing with Limpopo authorities. However, this is not expected to hinder the progress of building the new security gate, which will allow traffic to be slowed down on the road and prevent the death of animals crossing the road between the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve and the Manyeleti provincial game reserve.

This article is made available with the kind permission of the Kruger Park Times