For local Kruger enthusiasts, the annual free entry week is a top event for the year. For one week only, SANParks throws open the doors to some of its parks and locals can enter their preferred park without having to pay the usual conservation fee. This is the 16th year that the event is taking place, in conjunction with FNB and Total Energies, and the parks open this year are the Kruger, the Tsitsikamma, the Kgalagadi and Addo Elephant Park.
The 2021 free access week will run from the 22nd to the 28th of November and if you are one of those planning a day trip, you should read the rest of this blog.
The South African National Parks Week is an ongoing campaign designed to give South Africans an opportunity to enter various SANParks for free. The idea is to give as many locals as possible the chance to explore our wildlife heritage and the beauty that is the South African landscape.
The other aim of the free week is to also encourage communities, and young people in particular, to be more involved and interested in wildlife and nature conservation. This way, future generations will take over the role of being park custodians as they will know just how important it is to protect the wildlife heritage of our country.
During the free week, guests entering the parks will be able to go just about wherever they like and enjoy a full safari experience. A full day can be enjoyed in the park, but should guests wish to stay over, a different set of rules will apply.
Know before you go
There is much hype around the free week, mostly because park guests can save on the conservation fees, making it a free holiday of sorts.
If 2021 is the year that you intend to make the most of the free entry into the Kruger National Park, here is some information that you might find handy.
Get there early
The free entry comes with a condition and that is only a limited number of park guests can enter each day. Once that quota is filled, you will either have to pay the conservation fees or you will have to head home and try again tomorrow. Queues start forming at around 4:30 am or earlier and so it is important to arrive at the park as early as possible.
Pack a picnic
During the free week, the park is full to the brim with guests which means the popular park camps are just about always busy. If you want to avoid the crowds, pack a picnic for lunch so that you won’t have to worry about stopping during your trip.
Everyone in the park during this time is there because they love nature and want to make the most of the experience. When on the roads and especially when stopping at a sighting, it is important to be kind and generous to other guests, so that everyone can have an enjoyable time.