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Media Release: Visit Karoo for free during SA National Parks Week
Date: 3rd September 2013
From Monday, 9 September until Friday 13, September, you can visit Karoo 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, Karoo National Park will extend the free entry week to Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September – to the first 100 people at the gate on each day.
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. While in the Park, visitors will be able to make use of the picnic facilities at Bulkraal or Doornhoek, visit the Interpretive Centre, enjoy the park’s tourist roads on a self-drive through the park, take to the park’s 4x4 routes or join a guided walk.
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.
Community or school groups who would like to visit the park during the course of the week need to contact Esna van Zyl or Jan Jacobs on (023) 415 2828.
South African National Parks (SANParks) Frontier Region Communications
Tel: 041 508 5422
Regional Manager: Communications, SANParks
Tel: 041 508 5422; Cell: 082 888 0201