SANParks boosts Garden Route security ahead of Walking Festival

2018-03-14 15:16 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - South African National Parks are on a mission to boost its safety and security strategies in Garden National Park by revisiting its risks, threats and vulnerabilities ahead of the Garden Route Walking Festival.

The national strategy is led by Major-General Jooste, who is aiming to equip rangers with up-to-date skills and strengthening law enforcement alliances in order to combat threats in the parks.

"We are making wildlife crime our core focus and we take it seriously."

SEE: Wind your way through the Garden Route this school holidays with these fun activities

Security plans are being rolled out in Wilderness, Knysna and Tsitsikamma, including the water bodies, forests and fynbos areas it encompasses. Some difficulties that face SANParks is that the Garden Route National Park is quite expansive and open-access, with private land wedged in-between. 

SANParks has a notable presence in local policing forums and works closely with rescue teams and the South African Police Service, which will be alert during the third annual Garden Route Walking Festival.

Walking Festival

The festival kicks off on Easter Friday, 30 March, and offers over 52 different walks to choose from between Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Plettenberg and Natures Valley. The festival will benefit local Garden Route environmental charities and conservation initiatives by highlighting their work and facilitating donations by walkers to their causes.

ALSO SEE: School Holiday Fun: Budget-friendly things to do in Garden Route

It is also an exciting option for visitors and locals to get off the beaten track with easy walks or adventurous hikes on the Garden Route. The walks are all led by local Walk Leaders who are regular walkers in the region and know the local secret spots for swimming or insights into the area’s rich history.

In the Garden Route National Park, there 28 Green Flag hiking trails to choose from and four multi-day hikes for the more adventurous like the Outeniqua hiking trail, Otter trail and Dolphin trail.

NOTE: Registration for the festival is FREE, many walks are free, but those which require permits or a professional guide have a cost associated. See the full walking programme on the website for more details.

SEE: #FindYourEscape: Renew yourself with a Water Reflections Trail retreat in the Garden Route