The Kruger National Park is set to launch a new tourism concept rooted in its history, during the course of 2019.
The Kruger Shalati Train On A Bridge will be a stationary train permanently positioned on the Selati bridge – a recreation of how the first visitors to KNP entered the park by train.
“Not many people realise that this is where tourism to Kruger started,” says Judiet Barnes, General Manager for Kruger Shalati: Train On A Bridge, and Marketing Manager for Thebe Tourism Group. “In the early 1920s, the only way to visit Kruger was by rail; the train would stop in this exact spot, the guests welcomed by Lt Stevenson-Hamilton (the park’s first warden) and storytelling with a prepared feast would amuse the guests before they would get back on the train where it would be stationed on the bridge for the night before departing the next day.”
The train will have the feeling of an Afro-chic-styled boutique hotel. “From one’s room on the train, you’ll be able to look down to the Sabi River running underneath, a breathtaking view that may have you seeing the Big Five from a very different perspective, as they visit the river 30 or 40 metres below the train. This is likely to become a favourite experience for both international and local tourists,” says Barnes.
The Selati platform, a few metres from the train, will serve as the reception to the hotel as well as offer unique dining spaces for both hotel guests and visitors to Skukuza.
And should visitors not stay over, they can still enjoy the experience from the new Kruger Station food concept with storytelling and a food theatre – which is expected to launch mid-2019.