You can visit SA’s national parks for free next week – and this new digital tour can help
- SA National Parks Week starts on 22 November and offers visitors free entry to the country’s 19 national parks.
- This year’s campaign coincides with the launch of a website which profiles all South Africa’s national parks.
- The National Parks Explorer site features videos and photos of each park, while also providing practical information on how to get there and where to stay.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
South Africa’s 16th annual National Parks Week runs from 22 to 28 November and coincides with the launch of a new website that takes visitors on a digital tour of the country’s 19 parks.
SA National Parks Week is traditionally held in September. But for the second year in a row, South African National Parks (SANParks) has postponed the event to November due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown restrictions.
The campaign, first started in 2006, “is meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa's natural, cultural, and historical heritage and a deeper appreciation of biodiversity,” said SANParks Acting Chief Executive Officer, Luthando Dziba.
Since its launch, almost 600,000 South Africans have taken the opportunity to visit one of the country’s 19 national parks for free. And while SANParks hopes that this year’s campaign will see an increase in visitors, Covid-19 safety measures mean that “gate quotas and extra visitor management procedures will be in place to manage visitor volumes.”
For those looking to take advantage of the upcoming SA National Parks Week, a new online platform has been launched to help visitors discover the parks best suited to their interests. It also allows those unable or unwilling to venture out an opportunity to explore from the comfort of their own homes.
The National Parks Explorer site, developed by the Discover Africa Group, is a guide to all 19 SANParks with interactive information and videos.
The site provides practical information, like directions, accommodation, and costs, outside of SA National Parks Week, to potential visitors. Each profile also features a video segment which shows the park’s natural environment, biodiversity, history, activities, and interviews with SANParks staff.
The National Parks Explorer also allows users to shortlist parks according to the activities they offer. Selecting interests like 4x4 trails, backpacking, or horse-riding will highlight the parks that offer these activities.
While SA National Parks Week officially ends on 28 November, free access to Addo, Kgalagadi, Kruger and the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park is only valid until Friday 26 November.
Table Mountain National Park also has an exception, with entry to Boulders Penguin Colony not included in SANParks week.
(Compiled by Luke Daniel)
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