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:

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." />

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© Koos van der Lende
© Koos van der Lende
A bridge to a better life

23 August 2006

WHILE many residents of the rural area surrounding the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park say they have not derived the anticipated benefits associated with tourism, the Minister for Environmental Affairs and Tourism believes a new bridge in the area could help change this.

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.

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.

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11 April 2014Cross-border cooperation in the Lubombo TFCA helps marine life

In the early hours of 13 March 2014, a vessel ran aground at Ponta Mamoli in the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve, the Mozambican component of the Ponta do Ouro-Kosi Bay TFCA in the Lubombo TFCA.

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4 April 2014Approval of a joint operational strategy for core area of Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA

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10 April 2013Monitoring & evaluation systems training in the Lubombo TFCA

Miguel Gonçalves, park warden of the Ponta do Ouro Partial Marine Reserve and Denton Joachim from Peace Parks Foundation’s GIS section record field data that will be fed into the monitoring &

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11 September 2012Developing Maputo Special Reserve as a tourist destination

A ceremony to celebrate the 2012 translocation of wildlife from game reserves in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve was held on 10 September 2012.

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24 June 2011Futi Corridor now a protected area

In one of the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area’s most important developments, the government of Mozambique on 14 June 2011 approved the declaration of the Futi Corridor as a pro

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21 October 2009Transfrontier marine park a first

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11 September 2009Innovative road-building

An environment-friendly road-building project in the iSimangaliso (formerly Greater St Lucia) wetland park is enhancing the area's status as a natural World Heritage Site.It is also providing jobs for

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15 October 2008SA and Swaziland drop fences to form Transfrontier Park

CONSTRUCTION is already under way on the first Transfrontier Park in the Lubombo Transfrontier Area and if everything goes according to plan, tourists could to stay there by 2010.Tourism ministers fro

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12 September 2008Elephant Coast celebrates tourism

A massive R77-million has been spent on the redevelopment of the world-famous iSimangaliso Wetland Park - and thousands of jobs have been created.About R34-million has gone to 43 local "small, me

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