The 9th annual South African National Parks Week, which takes place from September 8-12, kicks off this year at Garden Route National Park near Tsitsikamma.
During Parks Week, SANParks offers day visitors free access to most of South Africa’s 21 national parks. Since its inception in 2006, the event has grown to over 130,000 visitors per day in participating parks.
Parks Week has been successful at providing education and awareness of conservation issues, including an understanding of the role SANParks plays as custodian of the country’s natural heritage.
“The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa. Environmental education and protection is the responsibility of everyone, not just a privileged few,” said Abe Sibiya, Acting Chief Executive of SANParks.
All parks managed by SANParks will be participating, excluding Namaqua National Park and Boulders Penguin Colony. The excluded parks were declared non-participants due to seasonality, and will have normal entry tariffs.
Free access to parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities or other tourist activities.
Public events to celebrate Parks Week are centered around Garden Route National Park this year. Members of the public are invited to bring their picnic baskets to Storms River Rest camp on Sept 12, where they can hear music and see dance by local bands and DJs. Other activities include an art and pictures exhibition.
From 9:00am-2:00pm daily during the campaign week, the public is invited to take a ranger-guided 30-minute stroll in the Garden of Eden in the Knysna section of the park. Those interested in seahorses can see an exhibit at the SANParks Office on Thesen Island from Monday to Friday (from 10:00am until 12:00am). And forestry-minded visitors can access the Forest Legends museum in Diepwalle, Knysna forest, for free from Monday- Wednesday between 11:00am – 2:00pm.
For information on individual parks and event dates, please see this schedule.