5 September 2012

South Africa: Public Given Free Access to Kruger

Skukuza — As from Monday, 10 September, day visitors will get free access to the Kruger National Park as part of the week-long South African National Parks (SANParks) Week celebrations.

The Kruger's head of public relations, William Mabasa, said SANParks Week offered all South Africans a chance to experience their national parks.

"A number of events have been lined up with the aim of encouraging South African citizens to visit the park and experience the beauty of our parks."

Mabasa said the aim was to encourage all citizens to take care of the country's conservation areas.

Only South African day visitors who present their green bar-coded identity document will be allowed free entry next week. Children under the age of 16 will not need to provide proof of identity.

Commercial activities like guided tours and walks will not, however, be free. Daily quotas will still apply.

"As much as we encourage people to make use of this opportunity to visit the park, they must be aware that daily quotas will still apply, therefore people will be served on a first come first served basis," said Mabasa.

Kruger's management committee will kick off the week with a visit to give gifts to sick children at Malamulele Hospital outside the Punda Maria Gate.

Mabasa said the "Walk and Learn on the Wildside" project will run for the duration of a week at Mopani Rest camp.

"The project gives Grade 10 and 11 pupils from neighbouring schools exposure and practical experience in the tourism and conservation field," he said.

Park officials will also engage with traditional leaders from communities bordering the park in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

Celebrations will end when a group of visually impaired people from neighbouring communities are hosted at Berg en Dal Rest camp on September 14.

SANParks Week was launched in 2006 to address concerns that the majority of South African citizens are unable to access national parks.

It has come to play a significant role in introducing people from the neighbouring communities to the park, some of whom have never set foot at any national park before.

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