Drakensberg Cable Car

11 Nov 2012 09:05 #55614 by tiska
The following user(s) said Thank You: Serious tribe

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
12 Nov 2012 01:51 #55615 by Serious tribe
Replied by Serious tribe on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
Thanks for that, it is amazing the type and amount of data that is being collected globally.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
12 Nov 2012 09:25 #55616 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
Being a colleague of Graham Muller I have just contacted him and he mentioned that he may be undertaking the study, but nothing has been signed yet. I am sure he would carry out a completely professional and neutral study if he were appointed. The previous project mentioned on his web site was for a hotel to be built on the escarpment in the Freestate corner, away from KZN and Lesotho. All construction materials and running materials for the hotel were to be supplied by cable car from the Phutadijaba area. He found it to be economically unfeasible.

Regarding the issue of helicopters flying over the Drakensberg region. For some time there has been a ban on helicopters and other aircraft flying there below a certain height (1000m I think), as the area is now a World Heritage Site. I have seen a large poster in some Ezemvelo offices of various aircraft including types of helicopters. I once questioned the ranger at Mkhomazi about it and he said they had been tasked with identifying any aircraft flying too low over the area, and they had to try and identify it and it's registration number for prosecution purposes. I have also noticed that the Cathedral Hotel and Champagne Sports Resort helicopters have not been taking tourists on to the lower Berg for some time.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
12 Nov 2012 10:41 #55619 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
Thanks for the details Bobby S. I was wondering about the cable way project that GM had listed - it seemed to predate this Mnweni proposal and post-date the earlier Drakensberb feasibility study of 2000-ish. It makes sense now.

Thanks for the update on the choppers. With regards to the height, is that 1000m above the surface - in which case I wonder which surface? Recall Cathedral Peak Hotel is at 1450m.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
12 Nov 2012 11:08 #55620 by BobbyStanton
Replied by BobbyStanton on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
Yes, I'm sure it would be above the surface, but I can't remember the exact figure. It may be more.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
29 May 2013 20:14 - 11 Jul 2013 19:25 #57093 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
OK, I've gotten some input from more individuals and also polished up the wording a bit for the media statement. The content is the same but the order is different and the wording has been expanded a bit.

It needs a title - any ideas? My suggestion would be: White Elephants Shouldn’t Roam the Berg.

The idea of a cable car in the Drakensberg is not new. It has however recently received fresh impetus and media attention. Various locations for the project have been considered, in particular the Mnweni area situated in the Northern Drakensberg. As a group of concerned people who are very familiar with the Mnweni, and who cumulatively have been exploring the Drakensberg for many decades, we are concerned that this project will become a white elephant should it go ahead. We believe the idea is particularly unsuited to the Mnweni and that it is neither sustainable nor desirable in the Berg as a whole.

The following is a list of considerations supporting our concern:

1) The cable car proposal was already evaluated a few years ago by the Federation of Drakensberg User Groups, and in a detailed report released by them it was shown to be not economically viable 1.

2) Further to the report mentioned above, we wish to emphasise that the low number of days that the cable car can be expected to operate, or be supported by tourists, will result in major economic loss. In the summer months, mist and cloud typically envelopes the escarpment by mid morning and stays for the rest of the day. The view from the escarpment itself is non-existent on these days. In winter, the strongest winds anywhere in southern Africa, which are part of the circumpolar westerlies, blow over the escarpment. Once the night time surface temperature inversion is removed by the morning sun, the fierce wind mixes down to the surface to produce gusts which are often in excess of 100 km/hr - well beyond the operating threshold of cable ways. Hikers experience this wind routinely and data gathered by climate scientists from this remote region confirms this. Another vital clue to the existence of these winds are the proposed wind farms in the highlands of Lesotho.

3) The safety of the cable car operation and its clientele should be taken into consideration. The extreme weather already mentioned above can close in very quickly and could leave many passengers stranded at high altitudes. Furthermore, lightning strikes occur on the escarpment almost daily in summer, and multiple strikes occur on more than 100 days per year. We also draw attention to the cross-border smuggling in the region. Many tons of narcotics are trafficked from Lesotho into South Africa over the Drakensberg, something which hikers regularly see first-hand. We question the wisdom in drawing high numbers of tourists into such an area, especially where shoot-outs occur between rival bands of smugglers, and where raids and ambushes are undertaken by the authorities at times. Such an influx of people with relative wealth to the area could also lead to the development of theft problems. We cite the long-standing theft problems in the neighbouring Amphitheatre area, and the muggings taking place on Table Mountain, as examples of what can happen.

4) The local community do not want the project - “The cableway will destroy our community and our wilderness (ihlane),” said Mkwazeni Hlongwane, in a recent media statement 2, where he also stated that various cultural and community activities such as medicinal plant harvesting would be adversely affected. “There has been no consultation with the community; we are not happy about the process,” he said. “One thousand people survive here because of what the mountains give us. The cable-way will employ 100, but what about the other 900?”

5) The process of formally declaring the Mnweni a conservation area has already begun. This is a major mile-stone in the history of the Drakensberg, and the aim is a form of integration with the current uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park – World Heritage Site. This status will require that any present and future planning and development follow the correct environmental and social impact assessments, and may even halt proposals altogether.

6) The escarpment top is a bleak area. It is a far cry from the lush valleys and the fast flowing rivers of the lower Berg. It is extremely cold, damp and wind-swept with a vegetation type that resembles semi-desert in large areas of the region concerned. While this may be appealing to a few, we question if there is sufficient interest to see this kind of landscape to make a project of this scale viable and justified.


It is understood that there may be arguments in favour of the cable car in that it will boost revenue from tourism and create jobs. However, smart, not risky investment is needed in KwaZulu-Natal. There already is a long track record of poorly scoped, failed tourist development, and we believe the proposed cable car could add another white elephant to the list. We would rather see KwaZulu-Natal take it’s example from the Waterfront in Cape Town, and not the cable car on Table Mountain. A far better investment would be to start consolidating the Durban Port zone which is a mess of fragmented development between the Point and the Embankment.

We call for wise investment and sensible initiatives for the long-term benefit and sustainability of both the Drakensberg and the province.
This statement was prepared by Chris Sommer, on behalf of the community of Drakensberg user groups represented at Vertical Endeavour, a community-driven website featuring the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains3.

1. The report may downloaded here: www.vertical-endeavour.com/public/PreFeasability_Study_Mnweni_Cable_Car.pdf
2. Media article citing concerns by the local community: www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global [_id]=88966
3. Visit Vertical Endeavour at: www.vertical-endeavour.com


Have a read through, lets have final comments and then I'll send this out.

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.
Last edit: 11 Jul 2013 19:25 by intrepid.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
30 May 2013 06:44 #57096 by ghaznavid
Replied by ghaznavid on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
I'm happy with that. Good title too.

I think everyone who approves of the statement in the current format must "thank you" that post so that we have an idea of how many people are behind it/approve of it in its current form. And maybe once we have 15 thank yous, it can be seen as the general view of the forum and sent to the newspapers.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
04 Jun 2013 09:52 #57140 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
A few minor corrections have been made to the above. Giving it a "thank you" as a way of supporting it is actually a good suggestion. Only 12 so far though...any more in support of the above statement?

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
04 Jun 2013 10:10 #57141 by tiska
Replied by tiska on topic Drakensberg Cable Car

intrepid wrote: A few minor corrections have been made to the above. Giving it a "thank you" as a way of supporting it is actually a good suggestion. Only 12 so far though...any more in support of the above statement?


Thanks Intrepid. It is a good read. Are we absolutely sure about the Table Mountain cable-way finances?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
04 Jun 2013 10:32 #57144 by intrepid
Replied by intrepid on topic Drakensberg Cable Car
I briefly tried to Google more about the Table Mountain cable car and how it has performed financially but didn't really come up with anything. Ive only heard it generally said by people that it "ran at a loss" or "only just breaks even". It would be nice to include a reference in the statement where it actually shows this in black and white. Anyone have more details? I do have a contact I could ask now that I think of it...

Take nothing but litter, leave nothing but a cleaner Drakensberg.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
Powered by Kunena Forum