South Africans will be granted free access to all national parks in the country as from Monday until Friday, 20 November. This is part of the SANParks Week, launched at the West Coast National Park in the Western Cape on Sunday.

One of the aims of SANParks Week is to encourage tourism and to give South Africans the opportunity to have free access to the country’s 20 national parks.

Acting Head of Communications at SANParks, Rey Thakhuli, says some parks will open until 22 November.

“Some national parks will open until the 22nd of November, with the exception of bigger parks like Kruger, Table Mountain, Ardo, Galagadi; but the majority of our national parks will open for the entire week. Places such as Boulders, which is in the Table Mountain National Park, will not give access for free because it’s an African penguin colony. It’s quite sensitive. We don’t want to put those species under pressure because of scores of people visiting that particular area.”

COVID-19 measures

Thakhuli says strict COVID-19 measures will apply for those visiting the national parks countrywide this week.

“We are going to be applying what we call a quota system when we reach a certain capacity. That means we won’t allow scores and scores of people to come and assemble in the national parks. And we also encourage them to wear their face masks every time, to sanitise their hands and ensure they keep a good social distancing.”

Despite the free access, visitors are required to carry their identity documents. Only those under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without their IDs.