SANParks announces free access week

SOUTH African National Parks (SANParks) will be presenting the 14th annual SA National Parks Week from September 8 to 15, 2019, and is proud to celebrate it with their partners Total South Africa and FNB.

This year, SANParks announced that it had extended SA National Parks Week to include weekends, heeding the request from South Africans who don’t have time to visit national parks during the week.

National Parks Focus Week is a worldwide campaign which gives people free access to national parks.

This annual event gives all South African citizens the opportunity to visit one of the 21 national parks for free.

In what is known as the Frontier Region of SANParks, this applies to Addo Elephant National Park (outside Port Elizabeth), Camdeboo National Park (on the borders of Graaff-Reinet), Garden Route National Park (with its Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness sections), Karoo National Park (outside Beaufort West) and Mountain Zebra National Park (near Cradock).

Owing to the popularity of Addo Elephant National Park and its proximity to Port Elizabeth, gate quotas of 700 people per day per gate over weekends will apply – so it is advisable that visitors get there early to avoid disappointment.

This year, SANParks is even more excited to host SA National Parks Week as the country celebrates 25 years of democracy.

Every year, SANParks aims at increasing the number of citizens that are granted free access to national parks during this time. Since starting the programme in 2006, some 438 361 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter national parks and SANParks hopes to see numbers grow this time around.

“It’s important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks.

“They act as spaces to practise sustainable conservation, as spaces that preserve and celebrate our culture and heritage, and we now see national parks playing the critical role of empowering communities living adjacent to parks through job creation and we continue to explore ways of creating business opportunities, particularly for small business owners,” said SANParks chief executive officer, Fundisile Mketeni.

Mketeni highlighted the growing need for national parks to be relevant, particularly to young people and communities living adjacent to parks.

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