NATIONAL NEWS -
The South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced the date for this year’s annual National Parks Week, where South Africans can enter all national parks free of charge, from September 8 to 15.
This year’s annual free entry includes weekends, after realising that many South Africans are not able to visit national parks during weekdays.
Three parks will, however, be excluded from the free week – the Namaqua National Park and Boulders Penguin Colony, although locals already get a reduced rate. The Table Mountain Cableway in Table Mountain National Park is also excluded from the free week.
SANParks executive officer Fundisile Mketeni said: “Every year, we aim to increase the number of citizens who are granted free access to national parks during this time. Since we started the programme in 2006, about 438,361 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter the national parks, and we want to see these numbers grow.
“It’s important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks. They act as spaces to practise sustainable conservation, as spaces that preserve and celebrate our culture and heritage, and we now see national parks playing the critical role of empowering communities living adjacent to parks through job creation and we continue to explore ways of creating business opportunities particularly for small business owners,” added Mketeni.
Members of the public are urged to note that free access to parks does not include accommodation or tourist activities, and excludes international tourists.