The free week is in November this year. Image via Adobe Stock

SANParks offers free access to parks during SA National Parks week

Free access to South African National Parks (SANParks) is back and this year visitors will be able to enter any of the parks that fall under the SANParks umbrella at no cost.


The free week is in November this year. Image via Adobe Stock

This year, the 15th annual South African National Parks Week will be celebrated from 16 November to 20 November and hosted by SANParks, together with Total South Africa and FNB.

The SA National Parks Week is an annual campaign that has been running for the past 15 years and allows all South African citizens to enter most of the parks managed by SANParks for free. Traditionally held in September, the annual campaign has been postponed due to the coronavirus crisis and will now be hosted in November.

Safety protocols at SANParks

SANParks Chief Executive Officer Fundisile Mketeni said the decision to postpone the annual campaign was due to the COVID-19 alert Level 2 regulations, which restrict the number of persons allowed within public spaces.

It is also vitally important to ensure the safety of all staff and visitors to the parks and prevent the spread of the virus. In light of this, all parks “have implemented extra visitor management procedures to manage visitor volumes in line with regulations to further mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus.”

Mketeni says the week is meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural, and historical heritage and encourage a deeper appreciation of biodiversity. He believes it is important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks, particularly young people and communities living adjacent to parks.

Working with local communities

He said that one of the purposes of the annual campaign is to afford local communities more access to parks for cultural use and to inform young people about the different career options that parks have to offer and create job opportunities.

“Through our Socio-Economic Transformation programmes and our Expanded Public Works Programme, we work closely with communities living adjacent to national parks in order to be more inclusive. SANParks hopes to strengthen and enable those communities to reap the benefits of the national parks,” he added.

More than half-a-million people have gained free access to the parks since the campaign was launched in 2006, and SANParks aims to increase the number of travellers that are granted free access to national parks during free that week.

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