Agency Development and Support

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Plans for Potlake

Once it has been revamped, the Potlake Nature Reserve in the Fetakgomo Local Municipality, in Limpopo, is expected to draw a large number of tourists. The reserve is well-known for its spectacular, harsh, semi-arid savannah and is one of the pet projects of the Sekhukhune Development Agency (SDA).

The Potlake Nature Reserve has potential to be a major tourist attraction, says Sephaka MotswianeThe Potlake Nature Reserve has potential to be a major tourist attraction, says Sephaka Motswiane
There is plenty of game at the nature reserveThere is plenty of game at the nature reserve

28 February 2013

Launched in 2009, the SDA was established by the Sekhukhune District Municipality and the Industrial Development Corporation to promote sustainable economic development in the area. The agency intends to revitalise tourism projects in the district and increase the participation of the rural population in the sector.

Fetakgomo is beautiful, with several potential tourist attractions. It is scheduled to become part of a tourism route planned along the road from Gauteng via Marble Hall and Fetakgomo linking, through a new shortcut over the Drakensberg, to Tzaneen, Phalaborwa and the Kruger National Park.

SDA’s chief executive officer, Sephaka Motswiane, said the agency had just completed a feasibility study and would only start to upgrade the facility once it had finalised negotiations with stakeholders. "In terms of feasibility studies, which were completed in June, we are going to construct chalets, conference facilities, camping sites, hiking trails, restaurant and bars," said Motswiane.

At present the nature reserve, which is about 160 kilometres from the town of Groblersdal, has a small conference room, a museum, braai area and a camping site at the foot of the hills. It is often used by local residents for rest and relaxation. But the nature reserve is in a state of disrepair, however, as the Limpopo economic development, environment and tourism department, the provincial body that is in charge of nature reserves, is financially stressed.

"The infrastructure needs to be developed. There is no way in its present state it can attract tourists," said Motswiane. Upgrading the reserve is one of the SDA’s plans to boost tourism. It will become a source of pride and will help to alleviate the high unemployment rate in the area.

There is no suitable accommodation in Fetakgomo at present, and visitors to local mines have to travel for more than an hour from either Polokwane or Burgersfort. "There is still untapped potential within the tourism sector that can provide a viable growth platform for Sekhukhune," said Motswiane.

Some 30 jobs are expected to be created once the nature reserve is revamped. At the moment, most visitors are local residents, schoolchildren and on rare occasions a few international tourists. The game that can be spotted in the 2 800ha reserve are kudu, impala, giraffe, waterbuck, gemsbok, baboon and birdlife. There is a possibility that more animal species will be added in time, according to Motswiane. 


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