The Kruger National Park's (KNP) acting managing executive Abe Sibiya officially opened the new, state-of-the-art R5,2-million Mopani Conference Centre on Friday June 12, 2009.
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"I can proudly state at the official opening this facility at Mopani Rest Camp that the KNP has certainly arrived as a conference venue with a number of world class options that will hopefully meet and exceed most clients' needs," Sibiya said.
"Kruger's tourism business has always been seasonal with high season times coinciding with South African school holidays. Conferences are seen as one of the ways in which these huge drops during off peak times could be negated," explained Sibiya. Built with the assistance to Infrastructure Development Program (IDP) funding from the South African Government, the conference centre can house up to 300 people cinema style in its main hall. The facility was converted from the camp's shop and storerooms and this work took nine months to complete.
"As I stand before you, I can proudly say that the establishment of this facility only had a negligible environmental impact and this was short term. All these buildings were already here and all they needed was to reorganise the interior and equip them for conferencing," said Mr Sibiya.
In addition to the main conference hall, the facility also includes three break-away rooms which can house 21, 30 and 45 people respectively (all cinema style) and a tea area which includes a wooden deck that overlooks the nearby Pioneer Dam.
The break away rooms also include 15 moveable panels that can convert the three separate rooms into either two larger rooms (one hosting 67 people cinema style and the other housing 45 people cinema style) or one large venue which can house 150 people cinema style. All four venues, the main hall and each of the three breakaway rooms include screens and full audio visual aids.
Mopani Rest Camp is one of the newer large camps in the KNP and can accommodate 506 people. It is situated 74 kilometres north of Phalaborwa Entrance Gate.
In the KNP, other conference centres include Berg en Dal Rest Camp, a small venue at the Elephant Hall in Letaba Rest Camp, a small conference centre at Shingwedzi Rest Camp and the conference facility in Skukuza Rest Camp, which is presently being upgraded. For more information about the new Mopani Conference Centre, access the SANParks Website (www.sanparks.org) or contact Christa von Elling on (013) 735 6535.