Countdown To Free Entry Into National Parks Begins, 1 Week To Go

The countdown to the “National Parks Week” – when South Africans can enjoy free access to the parks – has begun.

The free access week, which will open at Augrabies Falls National Park, will run from 12 to 18 September 2022.

South African National Parks (SANParks), in partnership with TotalEnergies Marketing South Africa and First National Bank (FNB) on Sunday said they were, “pleased to announce that the 17th annual South African National Parks Week kicks off in one week.”

SANParks General Manager: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, Reynold Thakhuli said: “SA National Parks week is aimed at linking the South African national parks system to the communities and to showcase the best of our country’s national parks. 

“During the week all South African citizens are allowed to enter most national parks for free for a day visit.” 

The week is meant to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, protected by the national parks system, which is the basis for the established theme “Know Your National Parks”. 

“It’s important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks,” said SANParks.

“The feature element of this campaign is the free access granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official Identity Documents.

“Young persons under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without proof of identity.”

However, SANParks said the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks.

Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant, Augrabies, Agulhas, Table Mountain and  |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park will only have free access until Friday 16 September. 

Namaqua National Park and Boulders Penguin Colony and the Cableway in Table Mountain National Park are not included in the free access.

Thakhuli said, “every year SANParks aims to increase the number of citizens that are granted free access to national parks during this time. 

“Since we started the programme in 2006, some 619 252 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter national parks, and we want to see these numbers grow, especially after the last two years which halted travel around the world.”

SANParks said it encourages all South Africans and especially the youth to diarise these dates and plan a visit to a national park nearby. 

“The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa,” concludes Thakhuli.

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IMPRESSIVE: Augrabies Falls