Watch out, Cape Town: Drakensberg cableway gets green light

2013-07-30 12:01

Table Mountain’s famous cableway may soon have a rival in KwaZulu-Natal.

KwaZulu-Natal MEC of Economic Development and Tourism in the province, Mike Mabuyakhulu, made the announcement that the project had received a thumbs up during a breakfast meeting today.

The briefing was held to report back on a feasibility study for the Drakensberg Cable Car, commissioned by Mabuyakhulu’s department.

The project is part of the department’s tourism master plan. It is envisaged that it would change the province’s tourism landscape as well as the economic potential of the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage site.

Mabuyakhulu said Mount Amery had emerged as the most probable summit terminus for the cable car out of 16 sites initially identified.

The site is about a kilometre from the Unesco World Heritage Site.

However, Mabuyakhulu said the outcome of the feasibility suggests that the proposed cableway will not impede on the local ecosystem.

In his presentation, Graham Muller of Graham Muller Associates, which conducted the study, said the proposed cable car is expected to create 30 direct jobs.

But it is expected to boost auxiliary work such as craft shops, accommodation, museums and souvenir shops by thousands.

It is estimated that 135 000 tourists visited the Northern Berg area last year. It is projected that the cable car will attract at least 300 000 visitors per year.

The next phase of the project will be the formulation of a business plan, which will coincide with “rigorious and open consultations” with affected communities.

Muller did not want to comment on the time frame but said they were working on a “year-end timing”.

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