The Agulhas National Park, a partner of the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative, has launched eight new chalets at the Agulhas Rest Camp, close to the southernmost tip of Africa. The chalets were officially opened on Friday 5 December, 2014.
The Park is home to the tip of Africa. It also showcases extremely rare fynbos vegetation, in a region known as a global biodiversity hotspot. The Park is currently around 22,000 hectares in size. The eight new chalets at the Agulhas Rest Camp join seven chalets that were constructed during the first phase of development.
The launch of the new chalets was attended by dignitaries, including the Cape Agulhas Executive Mayor Richard Mitchell, as well as Park Manager Bulelwa Msengi. According to Antoinette van Wyk, General Manager: Infrastructure and Special Projects at SANParks, some R45-million has now been spent on the development at the Rest Camp. Around R90-million has been spent on the Park as a whole. She said, “We’re here to add to the local economy.”
SANParks is also a major employer in the region. Around 38 contracting teams participate in the region in clearing the land of invasive alien plants, and in rehabilitating the wetlands. Some R36-million rand a year is spent on this job creation, through support from the Expanded Public Works Programme. Van Wyk said, “The Agulhas National Park has significant impact to an area where there aren’t that many alternatives.”
ABI supported the Agulhas National Park during the first phase of ABI. Through funding secured from the Global Environment Facility, the Park was placed in a stronger position to consolidate. Today the Park works closely with its neighbours in the Agulhas plain region, including ABI and the Nuwejaars Wetland Special Management Area, a landowner group that borders the Park.