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Boost for tourism

7 December 2005

MORE local tourists can look forward to enjoying the pride of the Kalahari now that the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park is offering discounts on its tented parks in a bid to make it more accessible to average South Africans.

According to marketing manager of Northern Cape National Parks, Henriette Engelbrecht, the aim is to make visiting the park cheaper so that South Africans, especially those living in the Northern Cape, can be afforded the opportunity of visiting the splendour that lies on their doorstep.

Engelbrecht said there are only four units per camp, which means that they get booked up quickly, especially as they are sought after due to the quietness. She further indicated that these camps don`t have fences, which allows for close-up game viewing.

According to Engelbrecht, spotted hyenas are being seen more regularly and brown hyena sightings have also increased. She further said that sightings of cheetah hunts have also picked up.

"The park is doing very well. It is rather dry but we have had some rain," said Engelbrecht, adding that while it is difficult to say why certain animals have been spotted more recently, it could possibly be attributed to people now being able to get much closer to the wildlife, as well as animal populations possibly having increased.

Engelbrecht said that approximately 64 percent of visitors to the park are South Africans, the rest coming mainly from Germany, Italy and France.

She further said that while they recently realised that people from the Western Cape make up the majority of the visitors, they have also noted an increase in Northern Cape visitors, which they would like to further grow by offering a discount of up to 40 percent, just about cutting the rates in half.

"What you get is much more than you`re paying for," said Engelbrecht, also stating that a visit to the park is always a "surprise packet" and you never know what you`re going to see.

Engelbrecht further said that bookings are looking good for the holidays, as there is a tendency for people to visit wide open spaces. She also said that while the heat may be an off-putting factor, the main rest camp "Twee Rivieren" has a swimming-pool and the Mata-Mata Camp, as well as Nossob, are also sporting brand new pools that are only about a week old.

Diamond Fields Advertiser - 23 November 2005Shelly Fielding

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