The Mata-Mata Rest Camp in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park [KTP] was officially re-opened on Thursday, 29 April 2010, after an upgrade of the facilities. The proceedings were officiated by the chief executive of South African National Parks, Dr David Mabunda.
The Rest Camp, on the South African side of the Namibian border of the KTP, now boasts eight brand new thatched chalets along with the refurbished older chalets. The new chalets overlook the dry riverbed of the Auob River. The design and fittings of all of the accommodation maximises energy efficiency.
Mata-Mata is the smallest of the traditional camps in the KTP, the others being Nossob and Twee Rivieren. Camping facilities will still be available at the camp for those who prefer that natural experience; and a small shop and fuel station will provide the basic necessities for visitors.
Dr Mabunda said that the new-look camp fits in better with the landscape of the park and is an excellent investment for SANParks considering that the KTP runs on a 90-95% occupancy through the year.
Since inception in November 2007, the SANParks website has reached an almost 700 percent increase in visits.
"This is a phenomenal performance even by world standards as very few websites in South Africa today can lay claim to such high figures," said SANParks Head of Communications, Wanda Mkutshulwa at a press function held at Tourism Indaba in Durban.
The full figure for the 2009/2010 financial cycle was 1,083,321,506 hits, 2,973,841 unique visitors and 6, 124,061 visits.
In addition, the web forum membership now stands at 18,348 members from all over the world, with over 612,000 number of active articles running.
Most members (53 percent ) are based in South Africa, followed by the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, France, Switzerland, Canada and Italy in that order.
According to Mkutshulwa the online accommodation reservation system, which was also launched five years ago, has facilitated revenue growth. "Since the launch of the bookings online SANParks has collected just under R124million in accommodation revenue, with an impressive 98% increase year on year."
She said 73 000 reservations had been made online, of which 39,000 of them in the last financial cycle alone. "In this financial year the organisation aims to bring the website to the global community through the introduction of a number of 'introductory pages' in five of the world's popular languages i.e. German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
Mkutshulwa said SANParks also intends to introduce a new, fresh and vibrant look to the website by August 2010. "We hope and believe that our large community of website users will be as excited and impressed with these developments as they have been with the current website."
She said SANParks is also experimenting with the use of social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. "We hope these new generation platforms will afford us an opportunity to continue growing sanparks.org to even greater heights."
Visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape.