PICS: Kruger's iconic Letaba Elephant hall re-opens

2017-03-23 09:31 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Visitors to the Elephant Hall at Letaba Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park (KNP), can expect to be greeted by a new look as the hall has re-opened sporting an innovative and refreshed design, says the park.

On Monday, 20 March 2017, SANParks revealed the newly redesigned hall, which it says was made available with "funding worth more than R1.5 million from the Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and the South African National Parks (SANParks) Honorary Rangers".

The Letaba Elephant Hall houses exhibits of the skulls and tusks for the KNP legendary elephants including the well-known magnificent seven, which makes it a priceless treasure and is one of the more popular attractions seeing an estimated 100 000 visitors annually.

The new lighting system, which cost an estimated R150 000 has also "brightened up the hall so that visitors can enjoy the displays such as the history on how elephants evolved as a species and the struggle that the conservationists had to endure to protect the huge herbivores against poaching".

SEE: The plight of baby rhinos: SA conservation steps up

Cutting the ribbon for the re-opening of the Elephant Hall are SANParks Chief Executive Officer, Mr Fundisile Mketeni with the President and Vice-Chancellor for the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia Professor Greg Hill. Looking on from the background is Chairperson Bushveld Region - Quintin Vermaak, KNP Managing Executive – Glenn Phillips, International Relations Projects Manager for the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia - Sheila Peake and SANParks General Manager: Visitor Management and the – Kevin Moore.

Letaba elephant hall is especially popular during the school holidays with activities such as video shows, pursuit games themed around the Park, clean-up campaigns, storytelling sessions by field rangers and orienteering trails around the camp.

"All these activities coordinated from this facility to educate children about how to care for the protected places and the environment in general." 

More innovation to come 

All in all the refurbishment took nine weeks to complete, although the project foundation which included discussions and development phase started way back in 2010, says SANParks. Phase two of the project will involve the development of a virtual tour of the elephant hall which will be made available for people who cannot make it to the Kruger National Park (KNP) to view it on the SANParks website. 

“Although the temporary closure might have inconvenienced our guests, we hope that the refurbishment has made the facility even better than it was and that guests enjoy it. The Letaba Elephant Hall has been converted into an international icon in terms of standards, and our gratitude go to our sponsors, the University of the Sunshine Coast and the South African National Parks Honorary Rangers for their determination, financial and man hours contribution, said the SANParks CEO, Fundisile Mketeni during his address.

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