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Media Release: Visit Mountain Zebra for free during SA National Parks Week
Date: 3rd September 2013
From Monday, 9 September until Friday 13, September, you can visit Mountain Zebra National Park for free. This is thanks to the fact that South African National Parks (SANParks), the country’s body charged with the management of national parks, will be allowing locals with valid identity documents an opportunity to spend a day at a national park of their choice, free of charge.
The week-long campaign will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park. Visitors should present a valid identity document on arrival to claim their free access. Those under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without the requirement of proof of identity. It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities such as guided game drives, guided walks and cheetah tracking.
For the first time, Mountain Zebra National Park will extend the free entry week to Saturday 14 September to the first 100 people who bring in a copy of this original article from the Midland News or Cradock Courant newspapers. Please note that this is one entry per original newspaper article – one original newspaper article per person.
SANParks Acting Head of Communications, Reynold Thakhuli, said the objective of the 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”.
The idea of a national parks focus week was conceived in 2006, after a realisation that a vast majority of South Africans were not accessing the national parks. “SANParks then embarked upon this campaign to encourage all South Africans, especially those from the communities around the parks, to share in what SANParks envisions to be “the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world”.
“Environmental education and protection is the responsibility of everyone, not just a privileged few. If we are to create a sense of ownership of the natural heritage of South Africa in all its residents, then all South Africans must be able to have access to such,” said Thakhuli.
“We especially want our young people to take advantage of this opportunity because this heritage will be under their protection in the near future,” added Thakhuli.
The annual SA National Parks Week has been made possible with support from First National Bank since inception eight years ago. “Through this partnership FNB is able to raise awareness on the importance of environmental education and the management of such issues,” said Danny Zandamela, CEO FNB Public Sector Banking.
As part of SA National Parks Week, Mountain Zebra National Park’s People and Conservation Department will facilitate visits to the Park for a number of community and school groups, offering them a guided tour and talk on the park. They’ve also got an exciting programme lined up for both young and old visitors alike – ranging from storytelling sessions to wild walks in the park and a lot more.
SA National Parks Week is the ideal opportunity for local people to visit and get to know the natural heritage which lies within short distances of their homes. Visitors can make use of facilities such as the Weltevrede and Fonteinkloof picnic sites and swimming pool and the well-developed network of roads for wildlife viewing. There’s a chance to spot the newly-introduced lion, magnificent cheetah as well as the endangered Cape mountain zebra. Buffalo, antelope species such as eland, black wildebeest, gemsbok and eland as well as over 200 bird species occur in the Park. Mountain Zebra National Park is also well-known for its special sightings of the rarer animals such as aardwolf and bat-eared fox.
Visitors with 4x4 vehicles can also access the Sonnerust, Juriesdam and the more challenging Umngeni 4x4 Eco-Trails.
For more information on the week-long programme, please contact Mxolisi Fulumente on (048) 881 2427 or 071 469 1050.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 041 508 5422
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks
Tel: 041 508 5422; Cell: 082 888 0201