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Fire in Addo Elephant National Park

Tracey Campbell - August 15, 2008

A fire has been raging in the Zuurberg Mountain area of the Addo Elephant National Park since Sunday afternoon, August 10.

The blaze, which is still burning, has destroyed an estimated 7,000 hectares of fynbos and grassland vegetation in the mountainous areas of the park.

However, South African National Parks (SANParks) affirms that the region’s tourist accommodation and infrastructure have not been affected. This includes the Addo Rest Camp, main game area and Camp Matyholweni. Visitors were evacuated from Narina Bush Camp yesterday afternoon as a safety precaution, although the fire has not reached the area in which the camp is located. The situation is being monitored.

The Zuurberg Mountain Village, which is a private resort located on the borders of the park, has sustained considerable damage. Owner, Henri Alant, confirms: “The chapel and function venue have been destroyed and 29 rooms burnt out. We estimate the damage to be around R20m to repair. As a result, the property will be closed until December 15.”

Park rangers, assisted by Cacadu District and Working for Fire teams, continue to battle the wildfire as extremely dry conditions and strong winds hamper efforts to contain the blaze.

SANParks asserts that visitors to the National Park would not be affected, apart from being able to participate in the hiking trails and guided horse trails in the Zuurberg Mountains.

The fire has affected smaller animals in the area but as of yet there have been no reports of deaths of large animals such as eland, kudu and red hartebeest.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

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