Mountain Zebra National Park. By Bridgena Barnard

From next Monday (10 September) until Friday, 14 September South African National Parks (SANParks) in partnership with Total South Africa and FNB invites South Africans to heed the call to visit a national park for free and experience what the parks and life on the wild side has to offer.

The week-long campaign encourages citizens through the #LiveYourWild campaign to visit a national park and be part of a worldwide campaign that was conceived in South Africa in 2006.  The vast majority of South Africans have either never visited a national park or are not aware that there are 19 different national parks. 

According to SANParks Head of Communications, Janine Raftopoulos, the objective of the week is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural landscapes as well as the rich cultural and historical heritage that parks have to offer. “When people visit our national parks, they inevitably come away with a renewed sense of pride and greater understanding of the importance of conservation and sense of ownership”.

The feature element of this campaign is the free access granted to all South African day visitors carrying their official Identity Documents. Young persons under the age of 16 will be allowed free access without proof of identity. It should be noted that the free access to the parks will not include accommodation and any commercial activities in the park such as guided safaris in vehicles or guided walks, etc. The Boulders Penguin Colony in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park are free to the public. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend. 

This year, in the lead-up to Parks Week, SANParks conducted an exciting road trip to five national parks in collaboration with Total South Africa, DSTV andCars.co.za. Showcasing the services on offer at Total South Africa petrol stations en route to parks, as well as a range of exciting activities in and around the parks, the #LiveYourWild campaign is being broadcast on DSTV Explora Catch-Up Platform, the Peoples Weather channel and within the DSTV Now App. Cars.co.za will also feature snippets on their YouTube channel.  Be sure to look out for the episodes that will help to decide which park you should add to your bucket list.

SA National Parks Week will also include the Mandela Centenary travelling exhibition that has been traversing the country to various national parks. So far it’s been to Groenkloof National Park, Addo Elephant National Park and Table Mountain National Park. The exhibit features newspaper covers relating to Nelson Mandela and the efforts he made in uniting the country. During SA National Parks Week you will be able to view these covers at Phalaborwa Gate in the Kruger National Park,” concludes Raftopoulos.

Share your visit to a National Park with us during SA National Parks Week using #SANationalParksWeek #LiveYourWild and tag @SANParks