The Northern Cape’s Department of Environment and Nature Conservation (DENC) is set to vastly improve the tourism and related infrastructure of the province’s five provincial nature reserves with assistance from the National Department of Environmental Affairs.
Rolfontein (near van der Kloof dam), Doornkloof (near Colesberg), Goegap (near Springbok), Witsand (near Postmasburg), and Oorlogskloof (near Nieuwoudtville) are the five provincial nature reserves that DENC manages and which will benefit from the infrastructure revamp. Goegap Nature Reserve is located in the Greater Richtersveld SKEP geographic priority area, whilst the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve is located in the Hantam-Tanqua-Roggeveld SKEP geographic priority area.
At the Goegap Nature Reserve, developments will include the construction of a new conference centre to seat 150 people, a 1.8m high predator proof game fence will be erected in accordance with provincial specifications, the construction of a new group camp, new trail camp huts and two new family camps, and the renovation of administration offices and staff accommodation will be renovated.
Due to the pristine state of biodiversity at the Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve, the building and construction materials required for development will be transported to development sites by means of helicopters. Development in this 4776 hectares mountainous reserve, which is dissected by deep river gorges, has been so planned that it fits in with the natural pristine surroundings. The ten overnight shelters linking the hiking trails will be replaced by seven 15-sleeper log cabins including associated infrastructure and the hiking trails will be upgraded and maintained including ladders and guiding chains, new signage installed along hiking trails and roads will be upgraded.
Developments will not be limited to only improving tourism infrastructure, but will include the provision of housing for staff. No less than R174m is being spent, based on Expanded Public Works Programme principles, creating 1069 jobs over an 18 month period. The expenditure at these reserves amount to: Rolfontein (R38-m), Doornkloof (R48-m), Goegap (R46m), Witsand (R22m) and Oorlogskloof (R18m).
Not only will this revitalization process provide much needed facilities, but it will also increase the commercial viability of the five provincial nature reserves. Presently the five provincial nature reserves only receive 22 000 largely day visitors a year as inadequate tourism facilities hampered efforts to attract tourists.
Goegap Nature Reserve covers approximately 15 000ha, supports close to 600 indigenous flower species and is home to 45 mammal species. The Reserve incorporates the Hester Malan Wildflower Garden which contains an enormous collection of succulents endemic to the area.
Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve contains a rich and varied plant life and is situated on the transitional or / ecotone area of the Succulent Karoo and Fynbos Biomes.