Wakkerstroom may be World Heritage Site

2013-05-06 08:15
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Mbombela - Mpumalanga's Wakkerstroom area may be declared a World Heritage Site thanks to its abundant birdlife.

Economic development, environment and tourism MEC Pinky Phosa made the announcement during a recent legislature sitting in Mbombela.

"The municipality has some unique species of birds which can be found nowhere else in the world, and the area could become a World Heritage Site if correctly marketed," said Phosa.

According to the Important Birding Area guide, Wakkerstroom is home to several bird species that are either critically endangered or internationally vulnerable.

These include Rudd’s Lark, Botha’s Lark, Yellow-breasted Pipit, Bald Ibis and the Blue Korhaan.

Wakkerstroom Natural Heritage Association chair Rupert Lawlor welcomed efforts to declare the area a World Heritage Site.

Tourism strategy

He said the community has not yet been informed of the department's intentions, but said it would be wonderful news.

"Currently we are in the process of having the area declared a protected environment. We have been working with the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency for the past 10 years and just the other day we received a letter from council giving us approval to start with this process.

"Needless to say we still got a long road ahead of us," said Lawlor.

He said there was so much potential to create new jobs and boost tourism.

Phosa said the department is also developing a tourism strategy using the rich history of the area.

The area falls within the Dr Pixley ka Isaka Seme local municipality, which is named after a co-founder and president of the African National Congress.

The municipality also includes the town of Volksrust, which is home to one of South Africa's historical battle sites, Majuba Hill, where the British lost the First South African War.

Volksrust was also the location of a concentration camp established by the British during the Anglo Boer War.
Read more on:    mbombela  |  environment

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