Why is Witsieshoek being re-developed? At the end of 2010 the Batlokoa community-owners of Witsieshoek were set to close the Lodge because it had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it was no longer receiving visitors. Dozens of permanent jobs would have been lost, as well as a much-loved Drakensberg destination. Instead, the community appointed professional management operators, Transfrontier Parks Destinations, who helped the community access development funds through a government job-creation Extended Public Works Program to redevelop the site.In addition to providing professional building contractors, this program is also designed to employ previously unemployed people and give them on-the-job training. As a result, the Witsieshoek re-development is currently providing the community with an opportunity to train over 200 people in the construction industry, as well as create a future 3 and 4-star Lodge that will have over 50 permanent jobs in the hospitality industry.
What can you expect when you visit Witsieshoek during the re-development phase? The decision to keep Witsieshoek open during re-development was made because the majority of visitors will be largely unaffected by the construction work. Those who spend their days hiking, climbing and walking in the Berg will leave the Lodge in the morning before workers arrive – and return in the evening after their departure.
The work currently taking place
· Re-construction and refurbishment of the ‘Sentinel Chalets’ (this will include larger rooms, double-glazing on the windows, under-floor heating, re-designed bathrooms with showers and complete re-fitting)
· Construction of management accommodation
· Re-painting of the bungalows (which will be fully re-constructed and refurbished after Winter 2013)
· Onsite training of unskilled workers alongside the professional contractors