South African National Park (SANParks) saw 113 032 visitors to the parks during South African National Parks Week from 8 September to 15 September 2019.
This was a 52.6% increase from last year’s 74 086. This campaign under the established theme ‘Know Your National Parks’ allowed locals with valid identity documents an opportunity to spend a day at a national park of their choice free of charge. According to SANParks CEO, Fundisile Mketeni the objective of the week is to give all South Africans a chance to enjoy and experience the beauty and majesty of our breath-taking National Parks.
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“We had an increase of just over 52% this year from last year’s 74086 visitors. It was good to see smaller parks such as West Coast and Bontebok National Park had an increase in their numbers compared to previous years. SA National Parks Week aims to create a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. When people start to take pride in the national parks, then we believe that they will start to understand the importance of conservation”.
- The Cape region (Agulhas, Bontebok, Table Mountain, Tankwa and West Coast National Parks) has had 123 471 day visitors with 23509 visiting this year.
- The Frontier Region (Addo, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Karoo, and Mountain Zebra National Parks) has had 125 226 day visitors since 2006 with 30657 visiting this year.
- The Arid Region (Augrabies, Kgalagadi, Mokala and Richtersveld National Parks) has had 253 55 day visitors with 6 007 in 2019.
- The Northern Region (Mapungubwe National Park & World Heritage Site, Marakele and Golden Gate Highlands National Parks) has welcomed 40054 day visitors in total with 7 318 this year.
- The iconic Kruger National Park had 455 41 day visitors this year with a total of 237 287 since the inception of SA National Parks Week.
These were the most and least visited parks during this week:
- Table Mountain
- West Coast
- Garden Route
- Mount Zebra
The feature element of this campaign is the free access granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official Identity Documents. Since its inception in 2006, National Parks Week has seen an influx of 551 393 day visitors in all participating parks.
“These numbers are encouraging and tell us that more people are taking advantage of this free week at our national Parks,” said Mketeni. All of the parks managed by SANParks excluding Namaqua and Boulders at Table Mountain National Park participated in the initiative to give the public an understanding of the role that SANParks plays as custodian of the country’s natural heritage. Each park hosted activities during the week which were aimed at education.
“We are focused on involving young people and communities, to cultivate knowledge of the importance of conservation and an appreciation for the country’s natural heritage”, said Mketeni. The annual SA National Parks Week has been made possible with support from First National Bank (FNB) and Total South Africa. “Without our sponsors this week would not have materialised and South Africans would not be able to visit our parks free of charge”.
“The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa,” concludes Mketeni.
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