First Muslim prayer facility in Kruger National Park opens

Posted by Gabrielle Jacobs on 4 December 2018 Tags:, , ,

On Monday 3 December, South African National Parks (SANParks) announced the opening of the first of five Muslim prayer facilities at Kruger National Park (KNP) on Monday. The new facility is situated in Skukuza Rest Camp within the park.

Yusuf Dockrat and his fellow Junior Honorary Ranger witness KNP Managing Executive Glenn Phillips cut the ribbon and open the women’s entrance to the Salaah prayer room. Image supplied.

‘This project was facilitated by the SANParks Honourary Rangers JHB South Branch, who within a very short space of time raised the funds required for the development,’ said the KNP Managing Executive, Glenn Phillips.

The prayer facilities were officially opened by Phillips and the occasion was attended by the Chairperson of the Honorary Rangers JHB South Branch, Yusuf Dockrat, Junior Honourary Rangers, and Ibraheem Dockrat of SANParks’ Tourism Development and Marketing team.

Islamic cleric, Maulana Junaid Hassim, was also present and said a few words about the importance of prayer facilities for Muslim guests.

The new prayer facilities include special ablution amenities for males and females to perform Wudhu, a necessary cleansing ritual for prayer. Muslim visitors to the park need only bring their own musallas or prayer mats along.

Female members of the Muslim Community and Honorary Rangers from JHB South Branch. Image supplied.

According to a media statement, the prayer facilities in the Skukuza Rest Camp is located on the pathway between the clocktower and the Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library. SANParks plans to open up another four facilities at the Satara Rest Camps, Lower Sabie and the Afsaal and Tshokwane picnic sites in a bid to connect society.

Even though Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, the Muslim population is still relatively small in South Africa. Gauteng, however, is home to the second largest Muslim community in SA, and recent tourism trends note a greater interest in the country and its top tourism destinations from Islamic countries.

Also read: Western Cape to become more halal-friendly

Women perform Asr prayers just after midday at the new Salaah (prayer) room. Image supplied.