South Africans will have free access to the national parks for the week from Monday to Friday.
SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said SANParks, together with Total Energies and FNB would be hosting the 16th annual SA National Parks Week from 22 to 28 November 2021.
The free access will only be valid until Friday, 26 November, at the following national parks – Addo, Kgalagadi, Kruger, and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park.
SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Luthando Dziba said the SA National Parks Week is an annual campaign that gives all South Africans the opportunity to enter most of the parks managed by SANParks for free, with the exclusion of the Boulders section at Table Mountain National Park as well as accommodation facilities and tourist activities.
“The week is meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage and a deeper appreciation of biodiversity. It is important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks,” Dziba said.
He said there is a growing need for national parks to be relevant, particularly to young people and communities living adjacent to parks.
“Through our Socio-Economic Transformation programmes and our Expanded Public Works Programme, we work closely with communities living adjacent to national parks in a quest to be more inclusive in our management of protected areas. This inclusivity encompasses providing access to parks for cultural use as well as exposing young people to the different career options in conservation and tourism,” Dziba said.
Since the programme started in 2006, some 591 234 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter national parks.
Thakhuli said SANParks aims to increase the number of citizens that are granted free access to national parks.
“However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of free access guests that the parks can cater to will be subject to gate quotas, and extra visitor management procedures will be in place to manage visitor volumes,” he said.
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