Garden Route National Park (GRNP) Awards 2015

20 August 2015

The 2015 Garden Route National Park Awards were held at the Simola Hotel, today (20th August 2015). SANParks introduced Regional Awards in an effort to not only motivate its staff, but to recognize and honour those who commit themselves to a matchless level of excellence in performing their duties. In attendance was the Deputy Mayor of Knysna, Esme Edge, Mrs South Africa contestant, Jackie Wilson Louwe (who was a co-Master of Ceremony with a Senior Marine Ranger for Knysna-Owen Govender), Managing Executive of Parks, Dr. Mvusy Songelwa, Honorary Rangers from Knysna (Chairperson, Bayden Hall) and other distinguished guests.

Group picture with all winners. Also in the picture: GM: GRNP, Jill Bunding-Venter (2nd row, 7th from left), GM: Simola Hotel, Janus Schoeman (2nd row, 1st left,  ) and Mrs SA finalist, Jackie Louw (1st row, 2nd left).
Group picture with all winners. Also in the picture: GM: GRNP, Jill Bunding-Venter (2nd row, 7th from left), GM: Simola Hotel, Janus Schoeman (2nd row, 1st left,  ) and Mrs SA finalist, Jackie Louw (1st row, 2nd left).

Speaking at the event, General Manager of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), Jill Bunding-Venter said ‘overall guests to the Park showed an impressive increase by a staggering 19% since 2013.  Day visitors also increased by 19, 5%. Overnight visitors increased by 17, 75% in 2014 as compared to 2013. With National Parks’ transformation mandate and objective to attract more black visitors, the GRNP can report an increase of 11, 44% compared to 2013.’

MC's_Jackie Louw & Owen Govender
MC’s Jackie Louw & Owen Govender

A surprise win at the Award ceremony was Goudveld- an old mining town in the middle of the Knysna Forest (Goudveld) was awarded the Best Entrance Gate for 2014/2015. This Entrance Gate was established in March 2012. A 42% increase in revenue was recorded from the previous financial year from Goudveld alone. In addition all its facilities are well maintained including its gardens and ablution facilities.

Toast to winners Andile Namntu, Jill Bunding-Venter, Dirk Roux, Andre Riley, Deputy Mayor Esme Edge
Toast to winners Andile Namntu, Jill Bunding-Venter, Dirk Roux, Andre Riley, Deputy Mayor Esme Edge

The Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park scooped the Best Camp of the Year for exceeding targets set for 2014/2015. Figures illustrate a significant improvement in terms of finance, tourism, People & conservation and conservation management.  Revenue has increased by 16,7% on budget and 17,1% year on year. The actual income to cost ratio is 123% versus budget of 108%. There was an increase of 11,1% from 261 415 visitors in 2013/2014 to 290 362 in the FY 2014/2015. Accommodation was graded and maintained 2 star, 3 star and 4 star. All guest houses inside the camp are now 4 star.

More recipients who were honored for the Excellence in the workplace Award are based in Knysna. The Area Manager of Knysna, Johan de Klerk received an Award for displaying leadership traits to transform the Knysna section to meet organizational objectives at all costs.

The event was supported by Simola Hotel and House of JC Le Roux.

Winners of the GRNP Awards 2015

Excellence in the workplace category

  • Daniel Titus
  • Suzanne Erasmus
  • Nicholus Nelukalo
  • Geneve Lupacchini
  • Maretha Alant
  • Melaney Barrath
  • Thembalaki Sinuka
  • Quinton Solomons
  • Hilton Wildeman
  • The Beervlei team
  • Julia Visser
  • Dominique du Toit
  • Marionette Scholtz
  • Natasha Pluim
  • Elton Mi Cheals
  • The trails division: Tsitsikamma
  • Louis Camphor
  • Phillip Williams
  • Sharon van Rooyen

Best Performing Camp of the Year

  • Tsitsikamma

Best Performing Entrance Gate of the Year

  • Goudveld

Best constituency builder of the Year

  • Richmond Gewers

Best ranger of the Year

  • Peter Roman

Best customer service of the Year

  • Hesron Ruiters
  • Werner Viviers

Innovation/ Research category

  • Dr. Tineke Kraaij

Best Leadership of the Year

  • Johan de Klerk

General Manager’s Award

  • Maretha Alant

Surprise Awards (long service): 20 years serving SANParks

  • Daniel Titus
  • Jill Bunding-Venter
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