A new Maputo Bridge and Roads Project, which will offer a link from KwaZulu Natal to Maputo, is expected to considerably boost self-drive tourism between South Africa and Mozambique, according to tour operators.

Natalie Tenzer-Silva, Director at Dana Tours, told Tourism Update she was eagerly anticipating the completion of the bridge, as it will open up the region. She says she foresees a surge in the self-drive market when the bridge will be completed in December 2017. “Although the distance from Ponta do Ouro to Maputo is 120km it currently takes three hours or more – depending on the ferry. With the new bridge, this should reduce to a third of the time. The ecosystems in the region are spectacular and tourists will finally be able to combine all these magnificent sites within easy reach of each other.”

KZN MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Michael Mabuyakhulu, has also hailed the development, saying the bridge will undoubtedly eliminate the long queues at the borders. He was quoted in local newspapers as saying: “With the construction of the bridge and the road linking the bridge, it will reduce the time from travelling from Maputo to Durban by approximately four hours, making it easier for people to move between the two countries and easier for tourists.”

According to construction supervisors, Gauff Engineering, the project will see 180km of roads being built which will, in a first stage, connect Maputo to Ponta do Oura and onwards towards South Africa. The project will include the construction of the ‘largest suspension bridge in Africa’. The bridge will span the entire entrance of the international sea port of Maputo, over 680 metres long and 60 metres above sea level. The second section will connect Bela Vista, which lies half way between Maputo and Ponta do Ouro, with Boane. This section will improve access to the eastern border regions of Swaziland.

Source : Atta

22 December 2015