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For bush enthusiasts, SA National Parks (SANParks) will once again allow South African citizens to enter most of their parks for free between November 22 to 28, 2021.
The week-long event, in partnership with Total Energies and FNB, is in its 16th year.
Among the parks South African travellers can visit for free include Agulhas National Park, Augrabies Falls National Park, Bontebok National Park, Camdeboo National Park, Golden Gate Highlands National Park and Karoo National Park, to name a few.
Free access for those visiting Addo, Kgalagadi, Kruger and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park will only be valid until Friday, November 26.
The free access to parks does not include Boulders section at Table Mountain National Park, free accommodation or access to other tourist activities.
The event usually takes place during Tourism Month in September but was pushed back due to the pandemic.
SANParks acting Chief Executive Officer Luthando Dziba said SA National Parks Week is an annual campaign that allows all South Africans access to most of the parks managed by SANParks for free.
Dziba said the aim of the campaign is “meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage” as well as shed light on 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.
“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,” explained Dziba.
The programme, which started in 2006, has already seen 591 234 South Africans enjoy free park access.
“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 can cater for will be subject to gate quotas and extra visitor management procedures will be in place to manage visitor volumes,” added Dziba.