THE Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) is in the process of opening up its nature reserves to the public for self-drive, hiking, fishing and hunting activities. This follows the latest announcement made by national government that such activities can now be offered to the public under strict health safety protocols.
A selected few of our provincial nature reserves around the province offering game viewing and other social distancing compliant activities, including those on the popular Panorama route such as the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, Three Rondawels and Pinnacle would be opened to the public.
“We have been working tirelessly to ensure that we prepare thoroughly for the expected arrivals of guests to these nature reserves. We are excited to be welcoming back those nature lovers who have been eager to return and explore the natural wonders that Mpumalanga has to offer,” Johannes Nobunga, CEO of MTPA, said.
“Areas such as braai facilities, picnic sites, swimming pools and camping sites would remain closed for the public. We would like to encourage those intending to visit our nature reserves to make the necessary bookings in advance through our central reservations office on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 13 759 5432. We would further like to encourage full payments to be done using bank cards where possible. This will assist in ensuring that we limit face to face contact as much as possible, “he said.
Nobunga reminded all visitors that the country was still under lockdown level 3 and the parks were still required to comply with set regulations and all should observe social distancing and no groups would be permitted. While visiting these nature reserves, guests would be required to wear masks at all times, maintain social distance and follow the necessary directives relating to transport capacity.
“Should you be in possession of any firearm, you would be required to declare and surrender it at the gate. We appeal to our visitors to adhere to these guidelines to avoid disappointment upon arrival. Failure to comply with these guidelines would result in guests being turned away.
The following nature reserves would be open to the public with the following activities being offered:
Loskop Dam Nature Reserve – Self drive
Barberton Nature Reserve – Self drive
Songimvelo Nature Reserve – Self-drive, hunting and fishing
Manyeleti Nature Reserve – Self drive
Blyde River Canyon – Self-guided walks and hiking trails (Belvedere day walk hiking trail open from 07h00-12h00)
Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve – Fishing and hunting
Andover Nature Reserve – Hunting
Working hours at all the above listed nature reserves would vary during this period and would be from 07h00 to 16h00.
Private reserves had been urged to ensure that they too stick to these protocols when re-opening their reserves to tourists.