88?000 flock to World Heritage site

2011-01-04 00:00

ABOUT 88 000 people flocked to South Africa’s first world heritage site, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, on New Year’s Day.

The park’s chief executive officer, Andrew Zaloumis, said in a statement yesterday that, despite the capacity crowds, no negative incidents were reported.

He attributed the peaceful atmosphere to “effective safety and security measures and hard work by park staff, local councillors, community beach monitors and the South African Police Force”.

Zaloumis said massive redevelopment and upgrading of tourist facilities in the park, combined with land rehabilitation, reintroduction of game and natural beaches have resulted in an increase in the number of visitors for the third consecutive year.

This year a further R88 million will be spent on improvements to the existing facilities.

Meanwhile, the summer rains have also been kind to nature in the park, with especially good rains being experienced in the southern section, including Lake St Lucia, between December 29 to 31.

Zaloumis said water levels in Lake St Lucia have improved, with the level rising by 300 mm at Catalina Bay.

On the eastern and western shores, pans that have been empty over the winter months are recharging and hippo have returned to them.

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