South African National Parks (SANParks), together with Total Energies and FNB will 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, “SA National Parks Week is an annual campaign that gives all South African citizens the opportunity to enter most of the parks managed by SANParks for free, with the exclusion of Boulders section at Table Mountain National Park as well as accommodation facilities and tourist activities.
Dziba said, “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.”
There is a growing need for national parks to be relevant, particularly to young people and communities living adjacent to parks. Dziba said, that “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.”
Since the programme started in 2006, some 591 234 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter national parks. Every year 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 are able to cater for will be subject to gate quotas and extra visitor management procedures will be in place to manage visitor volumes.