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News Release: SANParks offer apology to Wild Card members

Date: 2011-11-02

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Pretoria: Following a yearlong challenge with the issuing of Wild Cards to loyal nature lovers, South African National Parks (SANParks) has come clean and offered an apology to hundreds of the Wild Card members.

The Wild Card is a programme that provides nature lovers with unlimited access to some of Southern Africa’s premier conservation areas.

SANParks Managing Executive: Tourism and Marketing Glenn Phillips said that SANParks would like to apologise for the frustration members experienced. “We would like to thank them for their forbearance and continuing goodwill in the Wild Card programme, particularly during the transition into the new system.”

He said over the past year, through comprehensive research and customer feedback, it has become evident that a move to a more advanced technology will enable SANParks and its partners to provide relevant benefits to the loyal card members.

According to Phillips, since taking over the management of the Wild Card a year ago, SANParks has taken several steps to overhaul the programme and introduce the latest technology. “The new-look card makes use of a smart-card chip for easier access and improved gate control. The new cards are also personalised to prevent fraud.”

“The good news is that 30 000 cards have already been distributed to all valid members so that they can continue to visit their favourite places. More cards are ready for mailing and the Wild Card team has been enlarged to deal with the demand. The online interface for data capture has also been reworked for improved accuracy and until such time as all the new cards have been distributed, members can access parks with their confirmation of membership letter and proof of identification (ID or passport).”

“Because the original member database was incomplete and corrupt, it has had to be completely updated, which caused the frustrating delays in the distribution of cards.”

The new card system has already gone through a pilot testing in Augrabies and Mokala National Parks in Northern Cape. “The integration between the systems should be completed by the end of the year. The focus will now fall on getting all the partner parks live so visitors can enjoy seamless access to all properties,” Phillips said

SANParks also announced that there will be no increase in Wild Card prices for the coming year – a boon for cash-strapped consumers ahead of the holiday season. With unlimited entry for a year to more than 80 parks and reserves around Southern Africa, the Wild Card remains the most affordable way to enjoy the outdoors.

To promote customer service excellence the Wild Card programme is launching the WildStar competition, inviting members to nominate staff who provide great service related to the card.

“The WildStar competition will reward staff who are singled out, as well as a member of the public who nominated their WildStar,” Phillips said.

He said since the majority of Wild Card members learn about the card’s benefits when they visit a park or reserve, improved customer service will also enable members to make better use of their cards.

“Progress in the rollout of the new Wild Card system and an exciting competition for Wild Card members and staff mean the upcoming holidays are a great time to visit the Wild Card parks,” concluded Phillips.

Partners in Wild Card Programme are the Big Game Parks of Swaziland, CapeNature, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Msinsi Resorts and Reserves.

For more information on the Wild Card visit / or call 0861 GO Wild (46 9453) or e-mail: 

Issued by:

SANParks Corporate Communications

For Media Enquiries:  

  • Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli, General Manager: Media Liaison, PR & Stakeholder Relations, Tel: (012) 426 5203 Mobile: 073 373 4999, e-mail:


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