26 July 2010




Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency signed on July 25, 2010 an Investment and Eco-Tourism Development agreement with the Manyeleti Conservation Trust, current concessionaires and Investors at a duly constituted land claims community meeting at Manyeleti Game Reserve. 


“The agreement seeks to mobilize R400m of Investment within the Reserve. This investment will also leverage public sector investment of R20m by MTPA and the creation of 600 permanent jobs in the next 2 years” said CEO, Charles Ndabeni.


The 23000 ha reserve borders the 2m ha Kruger National Park, central to the agreement is the business modeling of the reserve as was the case with the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province.


The new value proposition is to address the 5 key Business fundamentals of the Model. This includes the following:

1. Mandate and Funding Model

2. Tourism Development Model

3. Community Empowering and Beneficiation Model

4. Commercialization Model

5. Sustainability Model


The primary objective is to position Manyeleti Game Reserve as a Big Five Eco-Tourism destination targeting the high-end leisure tourist market both domestically and internationally.

“The Manyeleti Game Reserve business model presents a new approach in addressing the challenges of land claims within the Conservation Estate in the Province and South Africa. The land is owned by the trust, there is minimal risk to government, the responsibilities of the co-management committee are not that of the state and more importantly the private sector is the investor and the trust the beneficiary” concluded Ndabeni.


“Exclusive Eco-Tourism experience is the new brand value.” said Warwick Goosen of the Tintswalo Group on behalf of the current concessionaire and Investor Community. The

competitive advantage of the Reserve is its strategic location to the largest Conservation Estate in Africa.


In terms of the Mandate and funding model of the reserve, MTPA or the Management Authority will only be responsible for the Conservation Management, Security Management and Integrated management Planning. The Co-Management Committee as instructed by the Land Claims settlement and Co-Management Agreement signed on February 27, 2010 will be responsible for Concession and Financial Management, Marketing, Commercial Development, Infrastructure Maintenance and Upgrade and Investment Promotion.


This agreement further clarifies the Community and Empowerment Model of the Reserve. The Conservation Trust the new owners of the land as ably led by Mr John Ndlovu, will remain the primary beneficiary of this Investment. These benefits include accrued assets after the lapse of the 45 year lease period, equity in both ownership and Management Company of the 7 lodges (3 already in existence) and exclusive rights to provide game drive services to the lodges.


In terms of the Tourism Development Model, only 350 beds consisting of (7) 48 bed lodges will be built. For every 8 beds, 1 game drive vehicle will be allocated. This is aimed at minimizing excessive traversing in the reserve thus diluting the “Exclusive Experience”. The commercialization model is based on the build, operate and transfer conditions. The minimum lease period is 15 years and the maximum period is 45 years. An Initial once-off commercial rights fee will be paid.  A fixed rental with CPI Annual increment or percentage on turnover will be charged for each of the lodges.


The sustainability model will include an environmental code of practice, a legal protocol framework and a community social compact. “The 12 year journey since the lodging of the claim by the trust has been a difficult one. But today marks a new beginning for the land claimants and the Manyeleti Game Reserve” said Mr John Ndlovu, Chairperson of the Trust.   


The next 3 months represents a new focused energy towards the following activities:

1. Establishment of the co-management committee by end of August 2010.

2. Payment of beneficiary by the land claims commission by End of October 2010.

3. Launch of the agreement as part of celebrating the 20th Tourism Month Programme by Hon MEC JL Mahlangu and Chairperson of the MTPA board Mr Sabelo Mahlalela.

4. Mobilization of Private Sector Investment on the new 4 lodge developments by end October 2010.


For us at MTPA this agreement is a gift to Mr Nelson Mandela for his 67 years of dedicated and committed service in improving the lives of all South Africans. Least we forget Manyeleti Game

Reserve is the only reserve that was accessible to black people during the apartheid era” concluded Ndabeni.






Issued by Mpumalanga Tourism & Parks Agency



Interviews:       Enquiries:

Charles Ndabeni      Kholofelo Nkambule

Chief Executive Officer     Senior Manager: Corporate Relations


Tel: +27 13 759 5309 / 00



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