Dinokeng Game Reserve to Open Next Month

The Dinokeng Game Reserve, a newly established reserve in Cullinan, east of Tshwane, will be officially opened next month...

The Dinokeng Game Reserve, a newly established reserve in Cullinan, east of Tshwane, will be officially opened next month, Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa said Monday.

Delivering his State of the Province Address in the Gauteng legislature, Premier Shilowa said the first phase had been completed with the reserve having been fenced off and stocked with game worth R7.9 million.

"The entire exercise has added a total of 340 jobs for unemployed people. Next month we will launch this latest attraction which already offers 260 beds at 18 sites in the start up area," Premier Shilowa added.

The reserve has two restaurants and hosts activities including game drives, elephant rides, horse riding, hiking, quad biking and hot air balloon rides.

In addition, the reserve is to be expanded, with work on this phase expected to be complete in November this year, ahead of the December holidays.

The establishment of the reserve forms part of the province's tourism strategy which aims to achieve economic growth in the sector.

Mr Shilowa said the latest tourism statistics by South African Tourism indicated that foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa reached a record high of 7.4 million last year, representing a 10.3 percent increase on the figures for 2004.

"Gauteng's share of this growth has remained constant at about 50 percent of all international tourists to South Africa and the share in domestic tourism stands at 20 percent," Mr Shilowa said.

He added that the majority of domestic travelers (68 percent) were people visiting friends and relatives.

Mr Shilowa said the challenge for Gauteng to grow tourism and create a globally competitive city region, was to ensure that visitors experienced some of its best attractions.

"Tourists should be able to experience the geo-spatial tourism attractions of our own province such as the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and Dinokeng Game Reserve," he said.

The premier added that the Sterkfontein Caves continued to impress, with the number of visitors beginning to exceed existing capacity.

"Our strategy is to divert these visitors to Maropeng - which is situated at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, which has now established itself as the iconic symbol of Gauteng," he said.

Maropeng hosted the provincial Heritage Day celebrations on 24 September last year, with over 12 000 people having access to the visitors centre free of charge.

Mr Shilowa announced that the centre would from now on be home to the annual Heritage Day celebrations.

"I am pleased to announce that with the considerable growth in visits to the destination as a result of the overwhelming growth in the stature of the destination, we are now in a position to commence with the development of a further four visitor orientation centres," he said.

He also announced plans to develop the economic regeneration of the industrial area in Ekangala, as this would add to the growth of the Metsweding District's economy, enhance the prospect of job creation and contribute to poverty alleviation.

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