The national parks are important catalysts for economic development particularly in the rural areas where the majority are located. (iStock)
SANParks, which manages South Africa’s 20 national parks, on Thursday gave more details of the more than 100 projects for which it is seeking public-private partnerships.
The opportunities outlined are set to be rolled out over the next ten years in 14 national parks. There are 123 in total and include accommodation, retail, restaurants and multi-use facilities and activities. Partners are also sought for building and infrastructure projects.
New deals are on offer relating to various lodges and camping facilities in the Kruger National Park, while concessions are on offer for tourism activities like a spa to be created in northern region of the park, guided quad biking trails, adventure motorcycle tours, and mountain biking activities.
There are also opportunities in Marakele National Park in Limpopo – to build a halaal-compliant lodge and other accommodation – Golden Gate Highlands National Park in the Free State, Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape and in the Augrabies Falls National National Park in the Northern Cape.
In the Table Mountain National Park, investment opportunities are available at the Hoerikwagga accommodation, the Cape Point visitor accommodation and at the Da Gama Peak.
Interested investors or applicants for concessions are invited to contact SANParks and submit viable and affordable proposals, SANParks said. A catalogue with a full list of available opportunities will be made available on the SANParks website.
During a SANParks Investment Summit hosted on Thursday, Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Creecy said SANParks held its first Tourism Investment Summit in 2017 as part of its drive to attract a diversity of investors to its Public-Private Partnership Programme. Creecy described national parks as “important catalysts for economic development”, especially in rural areas, where many of the parks are located.
SANParks employs over 4 000 employees and SANParks concessionaires employ another 2 100 people.
Since 2000, more than 60 such PPPs have been established for accommodation, restaurants, open safari vehicles and other activities, according to SANParks spokesperson Rey Thakhuli.
These projects have so far contributed around R1.4 billion to SANParks.
At the same time, the PPPs increased the value of infrastructure assets by R955 million, Fin24 previously reported.
According to SANParks board chair Pam Yako, the management of protected areas through a system of national parks is also a key tool for biodiversity conservation.