Plans for Outeniqua cableway revived

A viability study, including an environmental impact assessment, is under way for the building of Africa’s highest and longest cableway, from George up the Outeniqua Mountains

The cableway will stretch more than 5km, from the base of the southern Cape mountains to Cradock Peak, 1573m above sea level — about 500m higher than Table Mountain. Garden Route Cableway director Alwyn van Rensburg and co-director Pierre Poolman are talking to the Eden District and George municipalities, Transnet and Cape Nature about the project.

“We are the third group to attempt the project and although we have looked at the other ideas, we are starting from scratch,” Mr van Rensburg said yesterday.

“The environmental impact assessment is a process that you can’t predict and we realise that CapeNature is very serious about preserving the natural beauty of the mountain. We are still in the very early stages of the project but if everything goes to plan, it would be a bonus to have the cable car up and running in three years.”

There are also plans to include a rail tourism experience, linking the small town of Herold behind the mountain to George. The area has hops and wine farms, rock paintings and historic buildings.

Mr Van Rensburg said it was difficult to estimate what the project would cost, or how much it would eventually turn over.

The company is awaiting quotes from international experts for the construction of the cableway, and investors will be approached.

A similar project fell through two years ago when cableway expert Claude Pretorius died aged 85. He had designed and installed the cableways at the Pretoria Zoo and Hartebeespoort Dam.

He envisaged that the George cableway would create 9000 jobs during the construction phase and generate R50m a year.

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