Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille handed over a multi-million rand infrastructure maintenance project at the Wolwekloof Resort to CapeNature this week.
Located in the Witzenberg Municipality near Ceres, Wolwekloof was developed into a resort for people classified as “coloured” during the apartheid era. The first visitors to Wolwekloof were in 1978.
People who used this resort during this period were mainly from Cape Town and specifically the Cape Flats and the communities surrounding the resort.
Wolwekloof was also a site where union meetings were held during the Struggle for liberation.
In 1991 it was sold to the Divisional Council who did further development and managed the resort up until February 2002.
After the withdrawal of the Cape Winelands District Municipality, the facility was used until March 2017 as a Western Cape Provincial Fire Training Centre.
An agreement was reached between the Department of Community Safety and the Department of Transport and Public Works to manage the facility until March,31, 2017. Wolwekloof was officially handed over to CapeNature in June 2019 to operate as a tourism facility.
Over the last 10 years, CapeNature has been focused on crafting facilities and activities within the Eco Tourism Sector, with a number of developments undertaken to optimise income generation for biodiversity conservation, optimise shared growth and economic benefits to contribute to national and provincial tourism strategies and transform the tourism operations within CapeNature, and strengthen existing and developing new products to especially provide broader access for all people.
“Tourism is a key sector in our economy, injecting billions into the economy each year and providing much-needed jobs for our people. We must continue to work with urgency and work as partners to grow our tourism offering so that we attract more tourists to our beautiful country. The more tourists we welcome, the more investment and jobs the tourism sector can create,” De Lille said.
For the first 10 months of the year, South Africa welcomed more than 6.8 million tourists, up by 2.4 million compared to the same period last year.
De Lille on Tuesday handed over the site to CapeNature where the Department of Tourism’s infrastructure maintenance work has been completed.
The maintenance work at the Wolwekloof Resort sought to preserve the quality of product offerings at the identified site, as well as enhance the visitors’ experience and destination competitiveness.
The scope of work entailed upgrading the existing pools, installing a new pool slide and installing new fencing to pools, constructing of new braai areas and walkways.
The project site was handed over for implementation in December 2022 with a contract value of R3.7 million and reached practical completion earlier this year.
Throughout the duration of the contract implementation, the project has provided employment to 11 general workers.
Opportunities were also offered to six SMMEs who participated in skilled labour such as works installation and repairs.
CapeNature CEO Dr Razeena Omar welcomed the partnership, saying: “We welcomed the opportunity to manage Wolwekloof as a tourism facility with enthusiasm and pledged our full commitment to restore the site.
“The upgrades to the picnic area, walkways and pools offer visitors a lovely nature retreat to relax. We appreciate the financial support from the National Department of Tourism (NDT), which hugely contributed towards the reinstatement of this resort as a tourism gem.”
The Wolwekloof Resort project is still in phase one with more work to be done on the water and electricity infrastructure at the site by CapeNature in the next three phases.
“While we hoped the facility could be opened in time for the peak summer tourism period, CapeNature will be completing a range of important work to get the site up to standard and envisages to open the resort to the public in the spring of 2024.
“It is my hope that we will continue to work as partners, all three spheres of government, together with CapeNature to restore this important tourist attraction to its former glory and upgrade it,” De Lille said.