Some national parks to re-open next week for self-drive day excursions after two-month ban, says SANParks
Some national parks catering for self-drives will re-open for excursions for day visitors only from Monday, June 8, South African National Parks (SANParks) has announced.
SANParks used this week to prepare for the expected arrivals of guests to parks, SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said in a statement on Saturday.
“We appreciate that after two months of confinement the public is keen to engage with nature, and the excitement as shown by enquiries from our loyal visitors is encouraging. We are obligated to ensure that the opening of our national parks for self-drive excursions is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests,” he said.
Therefore, SANParks would limit face-to-face contact between staff and guests by encouraging online and telephonic day visit bookings and full payment of conservation fees prior to arrival where possible. Bookings could be made at 012-428-9111 or www.sanparks.org from Monday. In the case of Wild Card members, guests had to ensure that their membership was valid prior to arrival.
Mketeni said Namaqua National Park and Boulders and Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park remained closed for now. Most gates at Kruger National Park would be open with the exception of Pafuri and Numbi gates.
Gate quotas for the Kruger had been revised to about one third of what they were prior to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Three time slots for arrival would be introduced with the understanding that booked day visitors should arrive at the gate within that time slot.
Slot 1 was from 6am to 8am, slot 2 from 8am to 10am, and slot 3 from 10am onwards. Hides and picnic spots at all parks remained closed and braaing at picnic sites would also not be allowed during this period.
Ablutions would be open in camps, at gates, and at some picnic spots. A limited number of shops and petrol stations would open in some parks during the course of the week and would operate in accordance with level 3 lockdown regulations. Further information and updates would be available on the SANParks website on Monday.
The national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces also had to be observed within the parks. “This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not permitted. Guests therefore must exit into the province from which they entered the park,“ Mketeni said.
"Everything as we knew it has fundamentally changed by Covid-19. Therefore, we are requesting guests to adhere to all official alert level 3 regulations when inside the parks, including wearing masks, keeping social distance, and following transport capacity directives. We also implore guests not to deposit their litter inside the bins within the parks, but to leave with as much of it as hygienically possible,” he said.