Food trucks, stalls and takeaway outlets could soon give guests at the Storms River Mouth rest camp a whole new holiday experience as officials look for alternative food suppliers after the facility’s only restaurant and shop burnt down in a massive blaze at the weekend.
For the time being, visitors have been asked to make their own arrangements for food and drinks while staying at the camp, while the park is considering the way forward in providing the visitors with food and refreshments.
SANParks regional spokeswoman Nandi Mgwadlamba said they were still counting the costs of Friday’s fire, but were already looking at plans to keep the visitors happy as the holiday crowd was pulling in.
“One possibility is bringing in some vendors, maybe some food trucks, for the holiday season.
“We are also considering putting up a temporary structure at the restaurant’s parking area where visitors can buy the essentials, but at the moment this is only preliminary planning,” she said.
The fire is believed to have started in the kitchen of the Cattle Baron restaurant shortly before 5pm.
Customers inside the restaurant and adjacent shop were asked to leave as staff tried to control the blaze.
“It is unclear what exactly inside the kitchen caused the fire.
“Once staff members noticed it they tried to throw a wet blanket on the fire, but it soon started spreading and became completely out of their control,” Mgadlamba said.
The shop next to the restaurant selling groceries and curios, as well as a large wooden deck overlooking the sea which provided outdoor seating for the restaurant, were completely destroyed by the blaze.
Emergency crews were able to control the fire to one side, saving the ablutions right next to the shop.
“A helicopter was dispatched and helped stop the fire from spreading to the surrounding bushes and vegetation.
“That could have had a devastating impact on the entire reserve around the camp,” Mgwadlamba said.
In the meantime, visitors have been advised to bring their own supplies or do their shopping at the nearby Storms River Village.
“Luckily our bookings have not suffered. People are braaiing and bringing out picnic baskets.”
She said investigators would continue with their assessment of the incident and the total cost of the damage.