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The Kruger is eyeing boat cruises and underground hides – with SANParks calling for investors

Business Insider SA
Pioneer Dam at Mopani Camp, Kruger National Park (Getty Images)
Pioneer Dam at Mopani Camp, Kruger National Park (Getty Images)
  • SANParks is offering more than 100 projects for public-private partnerships over the next 10 years.
  • Most of these investment opportunities exist in the Kruger National Park.
  • Future opportunities include a boat cruise or floating deck on the Pioneer Dam at the Mopani Rest Camp.
  • SANParks is also looking to build underground hides for wildlife photographers.
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The Kruger National Park is looking to offer a boat cruise or floating deck on the Pioneer Dam, as well as the construction of underground hides for wildlife photographers.

SANParks has outlined more than 100 projects open for public-private partnerships. Investment opportunities in accommodation, retail, restaurants, and activities across 14 national parks are expected to be rolled out within the next decade.

The majority of these opportunities, revealed during SANParks' tourism investment summit on Thursday, exist in the Kruger National Park.

Some of these public-private partnership offerings make use of existing infrastructure, like six lodge concessions which are coming to an end over the next few years and the revamping of staff accommodation for Sabi River Guesthouse.

New activities coming to the Kruger National Park, which SANParks says are "investment-ready projects", include guided adventure motorcycle tours, mountain biking, and a spa facility 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 boat cruise on the Pioneer Dam, cultural heritage experiences, and underground hides.

"SANParks is investigating the opportunity to offer a boat cruise or floating deck on the Pioneer Dam at the Mopani Rest Camp," notes the investment opportunities catalogue.

This boat cruise, if realised, would be the first of its kind in the Kruger National Park, which has limited water activities or tours because the rivers are hard to navigate. And it's not the only new activity touted for Pioneer Dam.

"An opportunity exists to develop and operate underground hides at selected locations, such as the Pioneer Dam," notes SANParks.

"This product will cater to the niche photography market while providing guests with a unique game viewing, bird-watching experience. To improve the commercial viability of this opportunity, part of the hide could be sectioned off for exclusive use by photographers and/or as an overnight hide."

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

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