The annual South African National Parks (SA National Parks) Week, a programme which is meant to afford South African day visitors free access into the Kruger National Park (KNP) and all other National Parks in the country will take place on 18 – 22 September 2017.
The purpose of this initiative is to continue to familiarise and create awareness of the National Parks and an understanding of environmental conservation amongst South African citizens.
“September is both Tourism and National Heritage month. We would like to encourage South Africans; in particular those coming from the local communities that are bordering the Parks and have never had an opportunity to visit the Park to come in numbers. It is against this background that the SA National Parks Week offers free access to its National Parks to all the citizens of South Africa, said the GM: Communications and Marketing, William Mabasa.
In celebration of this special week, KNP will have activities lined-up in order to engage with various stakeholders to bring in representation from around the Park as follows.
Day 1 – 5 Visitors will be exposed to an exhibition of services and products rendered by the various tourism private entities, government departments as well as community based organizations from around the Park – the venue will be Phalaborwa Gate from 18 -22 September.
Running concurrently will be the fireside stories which will comprise traditional dance, drumming and choral music. This will take place in Skukuza from 18 – 22 September in the evenings.
Day 4 There will be a launch of the “Skukuza Science Leadership Centre” which is going to be a hub for research and science education on 21 September. The centre is aimed at enhancing exchange programmes between local and international science students, scientists and researchers; as well as experiential learning opportunities involving local communities bordering the National Parks.
Day 5 Management will visit children who are ill at Mapulaneng Hospital in the Bushbuckridge area on 22 September. The idea is to ensure that we reach out to these groups of children because they cannot make use of the opportunity as offered due to their condition; whilst also getting lessons from them about life’s challenges.
Conditions applicable to the free entry are that access will only be granted to day visitors upon presentation of an identity document; only children below the age of 16 years gain entry without proof of identity. Groups regarded as commercial ventures: private open safari vehicles operators, tourists who come to the park on tour buses and overnight visitors are not included in this free access arrangement.
“The normal daily quota at the gates will still apply during that week and preference will be given based on first come first served basis. Know your Parks and act in their best interest by conserving nature”, concluded Mabasa.