Free entry to national game parks next week
Visitors to Addo Elephant National Park will get in for free next week in celebration of SA National Parks Week.
South African National Parks (SANParks), the country’s body charged with the management of national parks has announced its opening up of its parks to South African residents.
Free access to parks for day visits will be available from 12-16 September. Free access will apply to all SANParks’ national parks except for Boulders in Cape Town and Namaqua National Park.
Eastern Cape residents have three other national parks in close range. The Mountain Zebra National Park, Camdeboo National Park and Garden Route National Park are all accessible during SA National Parks Week.
According to SANParks’ CEO, Dr David Mabunda, SA National Parks Week offers an opportunity for all South Africans to experience their national parks and develop a sense of pride which culminates to renewed and improved efforts by all South Africans, towards taking care of the country’s conservation resources.
“Through this project, we also aim at building stronger constituencies and ambassadors of conservation and the environment.”
Dr Mabunda said the week will allow all South Africans free access to most national parks. This concept was launched in 2006, to encourage all South Africans to visit National Parks, out of the realisation that the majority of this country’s citizens were not accessing parks.
“The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa and this year we are focusing on involving young people and communities, to cultivate a knowledge of the importance of conservation and an appreciation for the country’s natural heritage”, added Dr. Mabunda.
As part of SA National Parks Week, Addo Elephant National Park’s people & conservation department will host various community and school groups in the Park to expose them to all Addo Elephant National Park has to offer.
More than 700 youth and adults will participate in the educational programmes throughout the week, including environmental education programmes, game drives and clean-ups of the environment in local communities bordering Addo and along the park’s coastline.
SA National Parks Week presents an opportunity for Eastern Cape resdients people to visit and get to know this national park which lies within 40 km of Port Elizabeth and an hour’s drive from Uitenhage and Grahamstown.
Visitors can make use of the well-developed network of tourist roads, suitable for all types of vehicles, in the game area as well as facilities such as the picnic sites within the game area and at Addo main camp.
Addo main camp offers a bird hide, underground hide and short walking trail while there are also day walking trails in the Zuurberg and Woody Cape areas of the Park. There’s a chance to spot the Big Five as well as zebra, antelope species and over 400 bird species which occur in the Park.
Visitors should present a valid identity document on arrival to claim their free access. Free access to the Park does not include guided activities, such as horse trails, guided game drives or overnight hiking trails and is not available to visitors on open safari vehicles or organised tour buses.
Camdeboo National Park, which surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet, is also easily accessible, offering visitors an outing to the world-renowned Valley of Desolation, the Game Viewing Area surrounding the Nqweba Dam as well as picnic sites, 4×4 trails and various hiking trails.
Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock, offers visitors picnic sites with swimming pools, a recently upgraded network of roads for wildlife viewing and the chance to spot magnificent cheetah as well as the Cape mountain zebra for which the Park has named.
First National Bank (FNB), the main sponsor of the SA National Parks Week initiative has supported the enterprise since it
All articles written, all photos taken, plus all adverts designed, by the Editor and printed in the St Francis Chronicle are protected by Copyright. Reproduction or copying of any part of the contents of this newspaper and its concept and design can only be done with the Editor’s written permission.