2017 Free Access to National Parks starts in less than 2 weeks

South African National Park (SANParks) is again opening its doors for free from Monday, 18 September until Friday, 22 September as part of the annual South African National Parks Week.

This campaign under the established theme ‘Know Your National Parks’ will allow locals with valid identity documents an opportunity to spend a day at a national park of their choice free of charge.

The week-long campaign will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend. For individual park dates please visit: https://www.sanparks.org/about/events/parks_week/

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, 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 idea of a national parks focus week is a world-wide campaign and was conceived in South Africa in 2006, after realising that a vast majority of South Africans were not accessing the national parks.

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.

“This year’s SA National Parks Week will include exhibitions around the country at various key national parks which will represent the different geographical regions of SANParks. The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape,” said Raftopoulos.

The annual SA National Parks Week has been made possible with support from First National Bank (FNB) and Total SA.

Kgosi Ledimo, CEO of FNB Public Sector Banking, said: “The spin-off of this initiative is that it boosts the local communities of the areas around the parks while creating awareness of the need to preserve our natural heritage. I would like to encourage all South African citizens to come out in their numbers to experience our country’s natural heritage in its abundance.”

Total South Africa has again stepped up to the plate to help South Africans access these beautiful acres of land across the country. “Total South Africa is proud to be a long-standing partner of the SANParks Week since its inception in 2006 – 12 years ago – and our company fully endorses SANParks’ commitment to developing and promoting a system of sustainable national parks countrywide,” says Pierre-Yves Sachet, MD & CEO Total South Africa and Vice-President Total Southern Africa. “Total views environmental conservation as a key priority and we are committed to preserving the natural environment for future generations.”

SANParks encourages all South Africans and especially educators and school groups to diarise these dates and plan a visit to a national park nearby. “The survival of the South African national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage lies in the people of South Africa,” concludes Raftopoulos.

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

Follow us on Twitter @SANParks 
Like Us on Facebook: South African National Parks
Follow us on Instagram @sanparks 
Talk to us directly by joining the parks e-forum: www.sanparks.org/forum/

Issued by: 
South African National Parks (SANParks) Corporate Communications
Tel: 012 426 5170

Janine Raftopoulos
SANParks Head of Communications
Tel: 012 426 5170; Cell: 071 444 3121
Email: Janine.Raftopoulos@sanparks.org

Reynold “Rey” Thakhuli
General Manager: Media, PR & Stakeholder Relations, SANParks 
Tel: 012 426 5203 cell: 073 373 4999
Email: rey.thakhuli@sanparks.org

Patty Seetharam
Senior Communications Manager FNB
Tel: 087 312 4639 
Email pseetharam@fnb.co.za

Nadia Vosloo
Brand & Public Relations Manager, Total South Africa
Tel 011 778 2471
Email nadia.vosloo@total.co.za

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