SANParks open access week is off to a golden start

2016-09-12 09:51
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Cape Town -  The annual South African National Parks (SANParks) Week has arrived! The free access week, taking place from 12 – 17 September 2016, grants all South African passport holders a chance to visit most of the national parks in the country. 

Taking place in SA's tourism month and heritage month, the initiative holds true to its promise to open #TourismForAll. 

The purpose of this initiative is to continue to familiarise and create awareness of the National Parks and an understanding of environmental conservation among South African citizens. 

The Gold Nugget Cycling route was launched on Sunday, the 11th September 2016, in Goudveld, Millwood. The Park Manager for the Garden Route National Park, Paddy Gordon says ‘we’re finding creative ways to make people feel more welcome in the Park during SA National Parks Week.

ALSO SEE: SANParks week: Free things to do in the Garden Route

The Park’s motto is ‘adventure is in our nature’ which is in line with the SANParks mandate of connecting society to National Parks.  The gold nugget route was tested by 75 cyclists on Sunday. The race was divided into (5km, 7,5km and 10km). There are already 10 trails for experienced riders in the park, mainly in Harkerville. Targeting junior riders as well as beginners the scenic route is set in the middle of the forest with ocean backdrops and fynbos - Goudveld is an old-mining town in the middle of the forest.

Congratulations to the winners

Winners for 10km race:

Brendan William (Knysna Sports School)
Dr Rudi de Wet
Paul Micklewood

Winners for the 5km race:

Jermain Jafta (Knysna Sports School)
Collin Leen (Knysna Sports School)
Charlize Klaasen (Knysna Sports School)

Winners for the 7,5km race:

Ian Jantjies 
Michelld Tilburn
Eddie Tilburn

ALSO SEE: Kruger readies for Free Access week - here's what to get up to

Exploring Goudveld

Key ranger in Goudveld, Dominique du Toit says Goudveld is fascinating for its biodiversity and its rich history.  

"Back in 1876 gold was discovered by James Hooper along the Karatara River. Later in 1887, more discoveries were made in the nearby Millwood area. Millwood in those days had hotels, a church, a shop, a surgery, a bank, school and a Post Office.

"The two remaining houses from that era are used as a museum to showcase the area’s cultural history as well as a restaurant Materiolli or Mother Holly. The goldfields are also still visible."

This area is also where most of the woodcutters lived until they were removed from the forests in 1939, as detailed by renowned author, Dalene Matthee. 

A photo posted by Shaun Maree (@shaunmaree) on

Goudveld is a popular hide-away 22km from Knysna, in Bibby’s Hoek to be exact. It is part of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) afromontane forests, the largest continuous indigenous forest in South Africa. It is located on the lower slopes of the Outeniqua Mountains with a magnificent variety of fynbos, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammal species. 

All three parks have free access events planned every day from the 11th – 17th September 2016 from guided hiking to bird and seahorse talks.

Please visit the Park’s website to download  the SANParks Week Programme.