KZN game reserves ecstatic about Mkhuze airport upgrade

2017-08-19 12:30 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Game reserves in the uMkhanyakude District in KwaZulu-Natal are excited for the proposed upgrade plans for the Mkhuze Airport, which will boost tourism in the region. 

The new R32 million upgrade project for the Mkhuze Airport was announced on Tuesday by Sihle Zikala, MEC for the provincial government's Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs department.

According the the statement, the facelift will be modeled after the Skukuza airport near Kruger National Park and hope to increase the airport's capacity to accommodate 100-seater airplanes. 

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“I am glad to hear that already some potential investors are showing appetite for services at the airport. We want to get the airport to a state that makes it attractive for investment in the area. The airport is surrounded by vacant developable land that makes provision for non-aviation activities. However, we do want to say that such development must not be to the detriment of our environment or the wildlife, which is abundant in this area,” the MEC said

Karen Odendaal, managing director at Manyoni Game Reserve, said, "We are delighted about the facelift as it will attract many more travellers to our area. Accessibility is key and many foreign travellers aren’t comfortable driving a vehicle in SA and therefore rather go to parks where they fly in and out. The new airport will be a game changer for tourism in the area."

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Pongola Game Reserve hopes that as long as it is held and maintained to high standards, the tourism industry in the area will benefit.

"Leopard Mountain Safari Lodge is looking forward to the upgrades to the Mkhuze Airport. Besides easier accessibility to the Games Reserves in the uMkhanyakude District for our guests, we also look forward to the employment opportunities for our local community members," says reservations manager Leisha Carbi.

Once the upgrade is completed, the airport will be able to cater for freight aircraft, fuel supply to aircraft, pilot training, firefighting training, anti-poaching exercises and other related aviation activities.

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