The Kruger plans boat cruises and underground caches – with SANParks calling for investors

Pioneer Dam at Mopani Camp, Kruger National Park (Getty Images)

  • SANParks offers more than 100 public-private partnership projects over the next 10 years.
  • Most of these investment opportunities exist in Kruger National Park.
  • Future opportunities include a boat cruise or pontoon bridge over the Pioneer Dam at Mopani Rest Camp.
  • SANParks is also looking to build underground caches for wildlife photographers.
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Kruger National Park is looking to offer a boat cruise or pontoon bridge over the Pioneer Dam, as well as constructing underground caches for wildlife photographers.

SANParks defined more than 100 projects open to public-private partnerships. Investment opportunities in accommodations, retail, restaurants and activities in 14 national parks are expected to be rolled out over the next decade.

The majority of these opportunities, revealed during SANParks Tourism Investment Summit Thursday, exist in the Kruger National Park.

Some of these public-private partnership deals use existing infrastructure, such as six lodge concessions set to expire over the next few years and the redesign of Sabi River Guesthouse staff quarters.

New activities coming to Kruger National Park, which SANParks says are “investment-ready projects”, include guided motorcycle adventure tours, mountain biking and a spa to service camps in the northern region of the park, including Olifants, Letaba and Mopani.

There are also a few “potential future opportunities” for public-private partnerships, including a Pioneer Dam boat cruise, cultural heritage experiences, and underground caches.

“SANParks is exploring the possibility of offering a boat cruise or pontoon bridge over the Pioneer Dam at Mopani Rest Camp,” notes the catalog of investment opportunities.

This boat cruise, if carried out, would be the first of its kind in the Kruger National Park, which offers limited water activities or tours because the rivers are difficult to navigate. And that’s not the only new activity announced for Pioneer Dam.

“There is an opportunity to develop and operate underground caches at select locations, such as the Pioneer Dam,” SANParks notes.

“This product will cater to the niche photography market while providing customers with a unique game viewing and birding experience. To enhance the commercial viability of this opportunity, a portion of the skin could be sectioned for a exclusive use by photographers and/or as an overnight hideout.”

Over the past two decades, SANParks has established over 60 public-private partnerships in these areas, earning around R1.4 billion.

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