Free access to parks conserves heritage

2017-09-06 06:01

The South African National Parks (Sanparks) will open the 12th annual South African National Parks Week, held from 18 to 22 September this year, at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

This initiative, in partnership with Total SA and FNB, is in line with Sanparks’ vision of a sustainable national parks system connecting society.

Since its inception in 2006, ­National Parks Week has seen an influx of over 286 935 day visitors in all participating parks. Sanparks’ chief executive officer, Fundisile Mketeni, explained the concept behind a national parks focus week.

“The week was established in a bid to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, protected by the national parks system,” said Mketeni.

During the week, free access to most of the 21 national parks is granted for day visitors who are South African citizens. It should be noted that free access to parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities.

Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the week-end. Individual park dates will be announced soon.

“The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa.

“Environmental education and protection is the responsibility of everyone.”

“If we are to create a sense of ownership of the natural heritage of South Africa in all South Africans, then all South Africans must be able to have access.

“We especially want young people to take advantage of this opportunity, because this heritage will be under their protection in the near future.”


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