3 January 2008
Construction of bed-and-breakfast facilities has begun in the rural hinterland of South Africa’s Limpopo province in preparation for expected visitors during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, as well as to provide rural communities with access to sustainable income through tourism activites.
The project, funded through a €1.7-million donation (about R15-million) from Irish Aid, is under way in the Muhlava, Sekgopo and Thabina villages outside Tzaneen in the Mopani district municipality.
The site where these accommodation establishments are being constructed is about 30 minutes’ drive from Polokwane, a town which will host some World Cup matches.
The project is expected to be completed by December this year.
Project Manager Elvis Ntlwane said the project was one of the municipality’s local economic development projects, which seek to improve the livelihood of poor communities through tourism.
The project has already created short-term jobs for more than 300 builders and labourers, including women and disabled people.
“Cultural exhibition centres will also be built where crafters, dancers and story-tellers can showcase their skills and products,” Ntlwane said, adding that the project aimed to cater for the 2010 World Cup and beyond.
Tour guide centres have already been established in the local municipalities of Greater Tzaneen, Greater Letaba, Greater Giyani, Ba-Phalaborwa and Maruleng to promote the district as a tourist destination.
The rural district boasts some famous natural and cultural tourist attractions, including the home of South Africa’s most famous “mystic”, Rain Queen Modjadji, outside Modjadjiskloof.
The area also has the largest concentration of a single cycad species in the world, while the district’s eastern-most town, Phalaborwa, is one of the busiest entrances to the world-famous Kruger National Park.