17 January 2013

South Africa: Kruger Shuts Down Bush Camps, Roads Due to Rain

Skukuza — Heavy rains in the Kruger National Park have resulted in the temporary closure of bush camps and most of the roads in the Nxanatseni region on Thursday.

Kruger Park managing executive Abe Sibiya said they decided to close the bush camps for the safety of their guests.

"All the bookings made at the affected bush camps will be transferred to the nearest camps. Main roads leading to the rest camps with low level bridges have been affected as well. On behalf of management, we apologise to all the guests for the inconvenience that might occur as a result of this temporary closure," said Sibiya on Thursday.

Sibiya said data lines at most of the rest camps in the north were affected and the road and maintenance team was currently monitoring the situation to provide guests with alternative roads.

"More roads might be closed as it is still raining. All the roads which are closed are marked with 'No Entry' signs or blocked with other objects. Motorists are urged not to use those roads and to drive with caution," he said.

The bush camps and roads that are currently closed are Shisha low level bridge (S57) leading to currently flooding Sirheni bush camp and Shimuwini low level bridge (S141) leading to Shimuwini bush camp.

Bateleur camp is also closed due to a waterlogged road leading to the bush camp.

Also closed are Nyala Drive going to Thulamela, S-63 loop from the T-Junction to Crook's corner, Shongololo loop going to Shipandani Hide and Boulders and Nkulumane Bridge (H1-7) between Shingwedzi and Punda Maria.

Sibiya advised guests to use the Phalaborwa-Letaba road.

South African National Parks spokesperson Ike Phaahla said guests visiting the Kruger can view the latest information regarding state of the roads at the following gates in the north, Phalaborwa, Punda Maria and Pafuri.

Meanwhile, the Mapungubwe Interpretive Centre (MIC) situated within the Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site has been temporarily closed due to heavy rains in the area.

National park and heritage site spokesperson Divhani Maremba said over the past two days, the park had received about 212mm of rain.

"It is for this reason that we would like to caution our visitors not to utilise some major roads with low water bridges within the park," said Maremba.

According to Maremba, some roads have been washed away and visitors are strongly advised not to use them, especially if they are using small vehicles.

Maremba added that the park's operations have not been severely affected except for the MIC.

"The only camps that can be easily reached by 2x4 vehicles are Tshugulu and Leokwe. We strongly advise all our visitors to avoid crossing any low-water bridges," said Maremba.

The roads that should be avoided, especially for those not using 4x4s, include Confluence, Tree top walk, Limpopo Tented Camp, Mazhou and Vhembe.

"The heavy rains are expected to continue until Sunday and more information will follow," said Maremba.

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