Ever find yourself daydreaming about life in the Kruger National Park (KNP), watching elephant, listening to the call of a fish eagle, or having lunch on the banks of a river? It does not have to be a dream anymore.
The park is now less than an hour away from Johannesburg and a stone’s throw from Cape Town. July 28 marked the commencement of scheduled flights to the newly renovated Skukuza Airport, allowing visitors to fly directly into the heart of this iconic park.
“Before, tourists would land in Mbombela (formerly Nelspruit) at Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) about two hours from the park and drive here,” said managing executive of tourism and marketing at SANParks, Glenn Phillips.
The airport started operating in 1959, but scheduled flights were discontinued in 2001 due to the newly constructed KMIA.
In more recent years, it became necessary to find another method of conveniently bringing tourists to the park.
Rodger Foster, CEO of Airlink says they played an important role in restarting scheduled air services to the KNP.
“We are thrilled to be involved in this public private partnership with SANParks.”
Construction officially commenced in January and despite major floods halting operations, work was finished in just five months.
To comply with civil aviation authority rules, the runway was resurfaced.
The building fits in with the environment. When you step off the plane, you don’t even realise that you are at an airport.
It is small and unobtrusive in the heart of the African bush, yet luxurious finishes offer a warm welcome to guests.
Kuseni Dlamini, chairman of the SANParks board says they are proud to celebrate the culture and spirit of excellence in line with their vision of connecting to society.
SA Airlink offers daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town.