Numbi gate as seen by a visitor to the Kruger National Park on November 1 2011. Picture: 葉中興 via Facebook
Numbi gate as seen by a visitor to the Kruger National Park on November 1 2011. Picture: 葉中興 via Facebook

A fresh round of protests by communities around the Kruger National Park on Monday shut down access to the reserve from the Numbi gate, authorities confirmed.

SA National Parks (SANParks) confirmed the gate was closed for several hours from early Monday to about lunchtime.

SANParks spokesperson Isaac Phaahla said it was believed the protest was aimed at local government and the Nkambeni Safari Camp. Nkambeni is situated just outside Numbi gate.

“From what we have gathered, they (protesters) claimed that the camp [Nkambeni] is not hiring people from the local community. It is basically about unemployment and about service delivery,” said Phaahla. 

“We feature nowhere in those things. I don’t know why they inconvenience us.”

Nkambeni could not immediately comment on the matter.

The Numbi gate has been affected by service-delivery related protests multiple times in the past year, sparking concern from tour operators bringing tourists to the area.

The R538 access to the Numbi gate is regarded as one of the best into the Kruger because its higher altitude gives a sweeping vista over the lowveld to the east and the granite foothills to the north and south, according to the SANParks website. It is also historic, the first guests at Kruger National Park arrived in 1926 through Numbi gate.