23 August 2006
Speaking at the recent opening ceremony for the Ophansi bridge over the Mkhuze River, Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the structure not only marked a milestone in the development of the Lubombo Tourism Route, but opened up a new tourism route within the park.
The new access road and bridge gave 20 000 people in KwaJobe their first all weather access to Hluhluwe, said Van Schalkwyk. Diving at Sodwana Bay and game viewing in Mkhuze Game Reserve were now less than an hour apart.
"This new tourism circuit will stimulate economic growth in the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park and will open a new world of opportunity for the people of KwaJobe," he said.
Roland Vorwerk of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park Authority, said that the D820 access road on which the bridge was built, linked with the Lubombo Road, which connects Hluhluwe with Sodwana and Kosi bays.
Ten kilometres of this road had already been tarred, with a further 6km still to be done.
Van Schalkwyk said R9.5 million had been ploughed into the bridge's construction, and a further R1.2 million would be spent on a gate and community craft market. About 120 local people had been employed on the bridge-building project. On-job training had been given in concrete works, brickwork, stone pitching, road surfacing and the construction of storm water culverts.
The opening of the bridge follows the launch of the new Lubombo Tourism Route at the Tourism Indaba in Durban earlier this year. The route traverses southern Mozambique, eastern Swaziland and northern KwaZulu-Natal, and combines Maputo, Mozambique's beaches and the mountains of Swaziland with South Africa's Kruger National Park and the Greater St Lucia.
There have been complaints about the lack of spin-offs for the local community, with some suggestions that dune mining might have been preferable. However, to date, far more benefits in terms of jobs and community empowerment had been delivered than dune mining would have done:
- There had been significant growth in tourism beds in the region, including 60% growth in the number of establishments - a direct result of the redevelopment of the park and marketing value added through its World Heritage status.
- Agreements had been concluded in respect of six new lodges in the park. These confirmed deals equate to well over 300 direct jobs. They have been set up as community, private and public partnerships and give a significant share to rural people who have been neglected.
- About 26 craft groups, employing 600 people, had been established in a park programme to develop and market craft. These groups supplied a major retailer - Mr Price.
- The St Lucia park now included one third of the province's coastline. Sixteen parcels of land that had been fragmented in the 1990s had been consolidated into a single park; old military bases had been removed; and ancient migratory routes for many species of animals were being restored.
A major reason for this economic growth was the way the park had improved infrastructure and increased the number and species of game. Commercial forests had been removed from the eastern shores and a similar process was under way on the western shores.
Most importantly for tourism growth, a highly successful anti-malaria campaign had all but eradicated the disease in the park for the first time in many decades, said Van Schalkwyk.
Andrew Zaioumis, CEO of the Wetland Authority, said while the construction of the bridge had brought short-term benefits for people, the next step was to ensure that these benefits flowed through to the long term.
28 November 2016Further training to protect turtles
From 25-26 November, Centro Terra Viva presented a refresher training course for the 26 turtle monitors who cover the area from Ponta do Ouro to Ponta Mucombo in Mozambique. The training comprised botread more
15 November 2016Restocking national parks as part of transfrontier conservation development
A further 573 animals have been translocated to Maputo Special Reserve and 310 to Zinave National Park.read more
8 November 2016Wildlife thriving in Maputo Special Reserve, Mozambique
At the end of September, the Maputo Special Reserve/Tembe Elephant Park management committee conducted an aerial census to determine the status of the large herbivore species in Maputo Special Reserveread more
17 August 2016Protecting turtles in Africa's marine TFCA
Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve had another successful turtle monitoring season this year. The reserve comprises the Mozambican component of the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, Africa's first cross-read more
21 March 2016Cross-border cooperation saves marine life
Thanks to the excellent cross-border cooperation between the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve in Mozambique and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa, a gill net measuring 20 x 3 metres waread more
16 February 2016Protecting turtles and marine life
The turtle monitoring season is in full swing in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, the Mozambican component of the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA, Africa's first cross-border marine reserve, in tread more
13 May 2015A transfrontier conservation success story: first phase of wildlife translocations concluded
This month will see the conclusion of the first phase of wildlife translocations to Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve with the introduction of 98 zebra and 117 blue wildebeest.read more
13 January 2015Wildlife populations increasing steadily
In 2010 the Mozambican government began a translocation programme to Maputo Special Reserve in order to re-introduce species that were historically found in the area and to develop a tourism product.read more
21 November 2014World Bank Supports Mozambique’s Conservation and Biodiversity Efforts to Reduce Poverty
On 18 November 2014 the World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors approved a US$40 million International Development Association (IDA)* grant to support the implementation of the government ofread more
2 September 2014Transfrontier Park Management Committee
Maputo Special Reserve and Tembe Elephant Park now have a transfrontier park management committee to provide direction and guidance on the implementation of the two parks' joint operational strategy.read more