I wish to inform tourists, nature lovers and the people of KwaZulu-Natal that Injisuthi Camp in Ukhahlamba-Drankesberg will remain closed until further notice.
A wildfire moved quickly through the fenced Park on Saturday and destroyed staff accommodation – 11 rondavels, a workshop and laundry.
The extent of the damage is still is being assessed by officials from our entity Ezemvelo Wildlife.
Ezemvelo staff residing in those rondavels lost everything as only three rondavels were saved.
I am however comforted by the fact that our guests and staff members were not harmed.
I wish to express my appreciation to those who risked their lives in an effort to contain the fire.
The fire comes at the time when we are gradually opening our Game Resorts under our entity Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife.
Over the past few weeks we have been receiving thousands of telephone calls from tourists from different parts of the province, the country and the globe. We have assured nature lovers and the public at large of unparalleled experience of the wildlife and eco-tourism.
We can report that in the year 2019/20 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife had 740,130 total visitors.
This is a decrease of 5.3% (equivalent to 41,778) when compared to the year before.
This figure is made of 581,585 in day-visitors, which is a decrease of 10.9% (equivalent to 71,347) Year-on-Year.
We have also recorded 158,545 in overnight-visitors which is an increase of 22.9% (equivalent to 29,569) Year-on-Year.
Critically, Ezemvelo visitor profile for the same reporting period is:
· 83.4% South African
· 16.5% Internationals and
· 0.1% SADC citizens.
For the international market:
· The German citizens were the highest with 9,948 (274.1% increase),
· Followed by the French with 8,532 (300.8% increase);
· The Dutch at 2,924 (47.0% increase);
· The British at 2,451 (193.5% increase);
· The Belgians at 1,649 (47.1% increase) and
· The Americans at 1,314 (86.6% increase) visitors.
Ezemvelo manages more than 114 protected areas and close to 42 facilities that provide accommodation to 6500 people per night.
I wish to reiterate once again that despite the major setback on the tourism front caused by COVID-19, our vision remains that of building a strong and sustainable tourism sector that improves the lives of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
I have stated previously that we have resolved to use our entity, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife as part of efforts to attract tourists to the province of KwaZulu-Natal.
Issued by The KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism And Environmental Affairs, Nomusa Dube-Ncube