Mpumalanga Nature reserves return back to business

Self-drives, hiking, fishing, as well as hunting activities in Mpumalanga nature reserves will start operating from Tuesdays after being on lockdown for almost three months since March 2020 due to the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic.

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) said in a statement released on Monday that such activities can now be offered to the public under strict health safety protocols, following an announcement made by national government last week.

CEO of MTPA, Johannes Nobunga said that a selected few of the Mpumalanga provincial nature reserves around the province that offer game viewing and other social distancing compliant activities, including those on the popular Panorama route like Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, God’s Window, Three Rondawels and Pinnacle will be open to the public.

“We have been working tirelessly to ensure that we prepare thoroughly for the expected arrivals of guests to these nature reserves. We are excited to be welcoming back those nature lovers who have been eager to return and explore the natural wonders that Mpumalanga has to offer”, said Johannes Nobunga, CEO of MTPA.

Nobunga said that the mission is to ensure that nature reserves for self-drives, hiking, fishing as well as hunting, follow strict health protocols to safeguard both staff and guests.

“Areas such as braai facilities, picnic sites, swimming pools and camping sites will remain closed for the public. We would like to encourage those intending to visit our nature reserves to make the necessary bookings prior through our central reservations office on [email protected] or +27 13 759 5432. We would further like to encourage full payments to be done using bank cards where possible. This will assist in ensuring that we limit face to face contact as much as possible”, added Nobunga.

He noted that COVID19 regulations still needed to be adhered to.

“It is important to note that we are still on Lockdown, Alert Level 3. As such, we are still required to comply with the set regulations that even these activities we are opening should observe social distancing at all times and no groups will be permitted. While visiting the nature reserves, guests will be required to wear their face masks at all times, maintain social distance and follow the necessary directives relating to transport capacity.”

“Should you be in possession of any firearm, you will be required to declare and surrender it at the gate. We appeal to our visitors to adhere to these guidelines to avoid disappointment upon arrival at the gate. Failure to comply with these guidelines will result in guests being turned away at the gate,” Nobunga said.

Nobunga also urged private reserves to stick to provisioned protocol

The following nature reserves will be open to the public with the following activities being offered:

  1. Loskop Dam Nature Reserve Self drive
  2. Barberton Nature Reserve Self drive
  3. Songimvelo Nature Reserve Self drive, hunting and fishing
  4. Manyeleti Nature Reserve Self drive
  5. Blyde River Canyon Self guided walk and hiking trails (Belvedere day walk hiking trail available from 07h00-12h00)
  • Ohrigstad Dam Nature Reserve Fishing and hunting
  • Andover Nature Reserve Hunting

Working hours at all the above listed nature reserves will vary during this period and will be from 07h00 to 16h00.