South African National Parks (SANParks) hopes to open a news bushcamp in the Camdeboo National Park in the Eastern Cape by the end of 2010. Construction has already started and plans include four to six safari-style tents on fixed wooden decks at the park's existing Gannalapa facility. The tents, which will accommodate two people each, will be provisioned with rustic furnishings including beds and bedding.
"The Bushcamp will provide visitors with a rustic nature experience," said Park Manager, Peter Burdett. The existing facilities at Gannalapa, including a kitchen/bar, toilet block and braai area will be available for communal use by the residents of the bushcamp. A second phase of the plan will see the development of ten to twelve camping sites with a communal ablution block in the Acacia woodland area adjacent to Gannalapa.
According to Burdett, the use of the Gannalapa facility by local people for group functions has declined over the past period. In contrast, the demand for camping areas managed by SANParks has increased by about 20 percent and Camdeboo National Park regularly receives enquiries from visitors for camping and caravanning facilities.
Traditionally Camdeboo National Park – which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet - has not offered visitors accommodation facilities due to the large variety of accommodation on offer in the town. Burdett stressed that the planned bushcamp and campsite would complement the range of facilities available to visitors and is not expected to compete with established business interests in town.
"SANParks has the full support of the Graaff-Reinet Tourism Association for this project, after detailed discussions were held," said Burdett. He hopes the Bushcamp will be complete by the end of August 2010.