Environmental Affairs and Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk had a busy day at Addo Elephant National Park when he announced the addition of two islands to the park, along with a new R6.5 million rest camp. The festivities were held on April 3, 2005. The St Croix and Bird Islands have been added to Addo, making the park’s eastern boundary in Algoa Bay. This will offer protection to the internationally important populations of Cape Gannets and African penguins.
Van Schalkwyk added that it would also bring the islands perlemoen stocks under national parks’ control, which would clamp down on poaching. Visitors to the area will now also be able to see Southern Right Whales and Great White Sharks. These marine species add to the lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino already in the park, making it possible to view the ‘Big 7’.
The new rest camp, Camp Matyholweni (Xhosa for ‘in the bush’) is a 12 unit facility close to the town of Colchester at the Sundays River mouth. A new access road to the park has been constructed from the camp, and later this year will allow visitors to drive on the N2 from Colchester to Addo directly through the park.
The camp was built using poverty relief funds, and is further adding to South African National Park’s community commitment as between six and 12 percent of the gross revenue generated by the camp will be given to the Mabibuye Ndlovu Development Trust. This is a community forum representing eight communities surrounding the park. The funds will be used for community development.