Durban – KwaZulu-Natal is edging closer to having its own cable car in the mountains and adventure theme park at the coast.
Tabling his budget speech for 2013/14 at the Legislature yesterday, MEC for Economic Development and Tourism Mike Mabuyakhulu announced several plans to grow tourism in the province.
These included the construction of the cable car in the Drakensberg and the building of a theme park at Tinley Manor on the North Coast.
The province has a reputation as a tourism destination of choice in the country and outside its borders.
It has hosted several successful international events, including the Top Gear festival, which will be hosted in Durban again this year.
Mabuyakhulu said the province, through the Durban KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Convention Bureau, had attracted more than 30 conferences with an economic impact of more than R1 billion.
Although the development of a cable car was still in the planning phase, he said it was necessary.
Mnweni Valley, between the Royal Natal National Park and Cathedral Peak sections of the World Heritage Site uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park, had been suggested as the site for the cable car, with the base station situated near Woodstock Dam.
“The project will serve as a catalyst to attract more international visitors to the Drakensberg region and provide a magnet to a host of other experiences and attractions in the area,” Mabuyakhulu said.
The concept, similar to the cable car at Table Mountain in Cape Town, aims to develop a 3 300m cable-way with an intermediate station, climbing 1 300m to the summit, which will be an elevation of 3 300m above sea level, offering views of KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and the Free State.
He said the project would extend across the tourism value chain and explore opportunities to open a tourism gateway in the border area of KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and the Free State.
Another tourist attraction announced yesterday was the development of a theme park called NUMZ Adventure Island on the North Coast. It is set to open early next year.
“This new development will be comprised of world-class water slides, fast food outlets and family accommodation.
“It underscores our resolve of using tourism as one of the implements of driving economic growth in the province,” said Mabuyakhulu.
He said they expect a huge economic spin-off from the development with about 230 full time jobs created in the initial phase and about 300 000 tourists in its first year of operation.