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New ecotourism project at Lake Sibaya
Friday, September 10, 1999

Business Day (Johannesburg,South Africa) by Nicola Jenvey

A R2,5m ecotourism development in the heart of rural Maputaland, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, will open its doors to both domestic and international tourists from November.

The 40-bed Sibaya Lake Lodge is a joint venture between private enterprise and the local rural community and is sited within the community conservation area on the northern shores of the country's largest freshwater lake, Lake Sibaya.

The establishment of a community trust has paved the way for Manzengwenya rural community to have a 50% stake in the development.

Profit will be shared proportionately with partners Island Rock Leisure (20% stake), Danish hotelier Claus Soegaard (16%) and a Danish development bank, the IFU (14%).

Island Rock director Carl Schutte said Ithala Finance Development Corporation financed the venture and has lent capital to the community trust. The project is expected to break even in its second financial year, on 40% occupancy rates.

Danish government aid organisation Daneda has funded a programme to train 25 unskilled community members on hotel management.

Fully-inclusive rates are R595 per person sharing and Island Rock expects 60% of the guests to be international tourists.

Government has earmarked northern KwaZulu-Natal for ecotourism projects, in terms of the Lubombo spatial development initiative.


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