National parks to open for stayovers under level 3 lockdown – but, only for intra-provincial travel

Tourists are seen at a Safari watching a herd of buffaloes at a game reserve adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga province in 2019.
Tourists are seen at a Safari watching a herd of buffaloes at a game reserve adjacent to the world-renowned Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga province in 2019.
Siphiwe Sibeko/Gallo Images

The South African National Parks (SANParks) announced that it will be opening accommodation at most national parks, effective from 14 August 2020.

This comes after the announcement made by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane that leisure travel is now allowed for intra-provincial travel. This means you are only allowed to visit a park in your resident province.

“Interprovincial visitors will be prohibited entry into the parks,” according to a SANParks statement.

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Overnight guests will be required to provide proof of residence (municipal account or similar legally accepted form of verification of primary residence) at the time of booking accommodation and again when checking in.

 “No more than two people will be allowed per accommodation unit except for parents and children.”

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said the organisation is in the process of ensuring that the opening of the national parks for accommodation is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both staff and guests.

“Accommodation will not run at full capacity as we will employ a phased in approach to opening. Therefore, our loyal guests can expect limited availability of accommodation in some parks at these beginning stages of our reopening, with a gradual increase in availability in the next few weeks,” Mketeni said.

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The statement also explained that tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles and self-drive guests will be restricted to 70% vehicle capacity.

 “Tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in OSVs once regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted. All OSV operators need to be registered with SANParks before they are permitted to enter the parks. Self-drive guests are still restricted to a 70% vehicle capacity as per the Department of Transport’s regulations and the quota system still applies for day visitors.”

While majority of the parks in the country will be opened as from next week Friday. SANParks says its Addo, Camdeboo, and Karoo National Parks will only open on 17 August, and the Mountain Zebra National Park will open on 20 August.

For more information on the re-opening of national parks under alert level 3 lockdown, visit the SANParks website.