South Africans are in for a treat this week as South African National Parks (SANParks) will allow free access to the majority of its national parks as part of National Parks Week.
SANParks in partnership with First National Bank (FNB) and Total South Africa has opened the 10th official South African National Parks
Week to allow South Africans to enjoy the country’s natural beauty.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa officially launched the week at the Marakele National Park, in Limpopo, under the theme “Know Your National Parks”.
Speaking at the launch, SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said the reason for the week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans.
“SANParks started 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’,” he said.
According to SANParks, the week is also an opportunity to showcase all national parks as key and affordable local holiday destinations which offer a unique and enlightening experience that families and individuals from all backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles and communities could enjoy.
Mketeni said free access will be granted to South African day visitors.
“This is also an effort to reach out and allow all citizens a chance to freely access something they might not have been exposed to,” he said.
Access will be granted on the presentation of valid identification documentations. This only applies to people older than 16 years. This is also part of the effort to promote schools to visit parks during the week.
There are limitations to the visit, but these are only extended to commercial ventures within the parks, such as Safari tours, among others.
"The normal daily quota at the gates will still apply during that week and preference will be given based on first come first served basis. Know your parks and fall in love with conserving nature," Mketeni said.
FNB CEO for Public Sector Banking Danny Zandamela said: “The 10th annual SANParks week is a significant milestone in our unwavering commitment to continue enabling South African citizens to experience our country's natural heritage.
“As the most innovative bank globally, FNB actively supports and initiates sustainable measures which are designed to enhance efforts to curb climate change," he said.
General Manager: Strategy at Total South Africa, Pansy Mekwa, said "As a leading energy player in Africa, Total South Africa has a worldwide commitment to respect the environment and promote local, social and economic development.
“This means making corporate social investment an integral part of our operations and business excellence goals. Our partnership with SANParks affords us the vehicle to fulfil this commitment," Mekwa said. – SAnews.gov.za