Choo choo! New train-themed accommodation to be built on Selati Bridge in Kruger

iStock
iStock

Cape Town - Train and railway history buffs will be very excited about South African National Parks (SANParks) latest plans for the defunct Selati Railway Bridge in Kruger National Park.

The conservation authority announced its plans to develop an upmarket tourism facility on the old bridge, complete in the style of a train to reflect the heritage value of the long-gone Selati Railway Line.

SEE: SANParks launches new Kruger pilgrimage: Follow in the footsteps of giants

It will be able to accommodate 48 guests and made up of 12 railway carriages, plus a lounge carriage, and will be an extension of the current Selati restaurant near Skukuza Rest Camp.

Other new facilities will include edutainment and interpretive areas for the general public as well as a reception area for guests of the new facility.   

"To the north of the bridge it is proposed that a stationary box carriage be positioned on the existing railway tracks to serve as storage and backdrop for bush diner functions and the departure/return of game drives," says SANParks.

History of the Selati Line

The Selati Railway Line was first built in 1912, connecting Komatipoort with Tzaneen during the gold rush heydays. It cut through South Africa's first private nature reserve, Sabie Game Reserve, which in time became part of the Kruger National Park.

In 1923 South African Railways took over and started a nine-day tour through the Lowveld, with a stopover at Sabie Bridge, today called Skukuza, where passengers had to sleep on the train. It became very popular for its game viewing, and Kruger was established as a national park in 1926.

Trains still ran through the park up until 1973 after which most of the tracks have been removed, leaving the bridge as is and part of the Skukuza scenery.

A few years later a steam engine was donated to the now defunct station for display, and today three of its coaches serve as the Selati Station Grill House. It boasts pictures and posters from the station's heydays, highlighting the unique game viewing experiences people had back then.

ALSO SEE: UPDATE: Kruger appoints interim restaurant manager after Ringgold's expulsion

Request for public participation

SANParks, through Kruger Selati (Pty) Ltd, is in the process of applying for environmental authorisation from the Department of Environmental Affairs, and they are inviting Interested and Affected Parties to register with the assigned Environmental Assessment Practitioner from Emross Consulting, before 26 February. Once this is approved they can move on to start developing the project.

A Heritage Impact Assessment is also being made by Archaetnos CC, and interested parties can also submit their comments with them.

See here for more information on how to submit and register.

What to read next on Traveller24: 

PICS: Plane crashes on KZN beach

Floodwaters threaten Paris, closing roads, tunnels, cellars

WATCH: Rain hits the dry Karoo, wet weekend ahead for most of SA

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 7009 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 2046 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 8427 votes
Vote
USD/ZAR
14.59
(-0.1)
GBP/ZAR
20.05
(+0.2)
EUR/ZAR
17.38
(+0.1)
AUD/ZAR
11.12
(-0.1)
JPY/ZAR
0.13
(+0.2)
Gold
1,732.77
(-0.6)
Silver
24.82
(-1.7)
Platinum
1,175.09
(-2.4)
Brent Crude
62.95
(-0.4)
Palladium
2,678.50
(+1.4)
All Share
66,390
(-1.2)
Top 40
60,673
(-1.3)
Financial 15
12,144
(+0.2)
Industrial 25
86,617
(-1.1)
Resource 10
67,175
(-2.1)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo