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Media Release: Date set for 2009 SA National Parks Week

The country’s body charged with the management of national parks, South African National Parks (SANParks) will officially launch the 2009 SA National Parks Week (SANPW) in the Mopani Camp of the Kruger National Park on Monday, 14 September 2009.

This according to SANParks, Chief Executive, Dr David Mabunda who said, 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.”

The week-long celebration of free access to parks by South Africans will run from 14 to 20 September, however it is important to note that the “Free Access” to national parks for South African citizens runs from the 14 to 18 September. It is also important to note that the free access will not apply to the following area: Boulders in the Table Mountain National Park.

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 objective of SANParks Week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, under the established theme “Know Your National Parks” and the feature element of the project is free access to all South African day visitors (especially people from communities around the parks) carrying an official Identity Document, while scholars and young persons under 16 years of age, will be allowed entry, without the requirement for proof of identity.

It should be noted that free access to parks will not include any of the commercially driven activities in parks, such as Open Safari guided tours, etc, as these are driven as commercial vehicles to ensure the sustainability of parks, with some run independently by commercial tour operators.

“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.

SA National Parks Week is an opportunity to showcase all national parks as key and affordable local holiday destinations, offering a unique experience, especially for families. We encourage all South Africans to take this opportunity to experience an encounter with wildlife.

The core objective of SA National Parks Week is to establish a partnership with all South Africans, towards creating a flagship international parks resource, which attracts both local and international interest, a product that we can conserve for future generations.

Issued by:
SANParks Corporate Communications

Media Enquiries:
Reynold Thakhuli: GM: Media Relations & Events, tel:+27 12 426 5203 cell: +27 83 552 2020, e-mail: reyt@sanparks.org

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