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Drakensberg resort staff lose 'everything' in fire at Injisuthi camp

17 August 2020 - 11:35 By NIVASHNI NAIR
A wildfire moved quickly through the Injisuthi Camp in the Drakensberg on Saturday and destroyed staff accommodation – 11 rondavels, a workshop and laundry.
A wildfire moved quickly through the Injisuthi Camp in the Drakensberg on Saturday and destroyed staff accommodation – 11 rondavels, a workshop and laundry.
Image: 123RF/Thuansak Srilao

A wildfire at the Injisuthi Camp in the Drakensberg gutted staff accommodation on Saturday.

Economic development, tourism and environmental affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said on Monday that the resort in Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg would 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 being assessed by officials from our entity, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife. Ezemvelo staff residing in those rondavels lost everything — only three rondavels were saved,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said 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.”

She said the fire came at a time when the province was gradually opening its game resorts under its 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 of an unparalleled experience of the wildlife and eco-tourism.”

Ezemvelo manages more than 114 protected areas and close to 42 facilities that provide accommodation to 6,500 people per night.

“We can report that in the year 2019/20 Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife had 740,130 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.”

Ezemvelo recorded 158,545 overnight visitors, which was an increase of 22.9% (equivalent to 29,569).

Almost 84% of the visitors were South African.

“From the international market, German citizens were the highest with 9,948, followed by the French with 8,532. The Dutch were next at 2,924, while the British were 2,451, the Belgians at 1,649 and the Americans at 1,314 visitors,” Dube-Ncube said,

She said despite the major setback on the tourism front caused by Covid-19, her vision remained “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.”

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