29 November 2005
The new Hoerikwagga Trail on Table Mountain is both a conservation and job creation project.
Built as part of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s contribution to the Expanded Public Works Programme, the trail is the second new Table Mountain trail – with two more still to come.
Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk says the new trail is a model for the success of linkages between conservation, tourism and job creation.
The projects to upgrade the footpaths and create the trail infrastructure have so far created employment for 416 people.
Launching the Hoerikwagga Trail project on Thursday, Van Schalkwyk said his department would be investing R35-million over three years in the Table Mountain National Park through public works projects.
The first trail, the People’s Trail, was designed to expose young people from all communities to both the national park and conservation.
“Of course this project is part of a much wider programme of investment by our department in all 22 National Parks,” the minister said.
For the three years from 2004 to 2007 we are spending more than R296-million through poverty relief projects, focusing mainly on new infrastructure like these trails, and through projects like our Coast Care programme.
Before March 2007, this investment should deliver, among others, five new rest camps with 124 new tourist beds.
“The projects also focus on the upgrading of 145 existing tourism accommodation units; the construction and upgrading of 323km of tourist roads; 397km of new fences for park boundaries needed to protect our new land; and the upgrading and major renovation of more than 320km of footpaths and trails,” Van Schalkwyk said.
Table Mountain National Park projects manager Brett Myrdal said the trails combined some of the most important priorities for all South African communities by empowering people, providing employment, and creating a sense of ownership and pride in the park’s conservation efforts and tourism facilities.
“Perhaps the most heart-warming aspect of this suite of trails is that profits from the mountain’s trail will be used to make access to the People’s Trail affordable to the youth of Cape Town,” Myrdal said.
He said Table Mountain’s trails would have an eventual annual capacity of about 4 000 hikers who would be professionally introduced “to the wonders of overnighting” on Table Mountain by accredited guides.
Myrdal added that the park planned to open the third trail, the more advanced six-day, five-night Tip to Top, in November 2006, with the final Top to Tip trail targeted for launch in November 2007.
He said all four trails would be marketed extensively by South African National Parks and at national and international trade shows like the annual Tourism Indaba.