The wonderful spring months are knocking once again and they arrive in conjunction with South Africa’s Heritage Month. Each year, in celebration of Heritage Month, SANParks opens its nature and wildlife reserves for free for one week, to South African travellers. This year, the free entry days will run from the 16th of September to Heritage Day on the 24th of September.
During this time South Africans can enter various parks, including the Kruger National Park, and spend the day exploring. The free entry does not include overnight stays or activities, but for most local visitors, a day spent driving around and looking at wildlife is all they really want.
This will be the 18th free week hosted by SANParks, and each year the event is a huge hit with the locals. Since the event started, it has seen some 691 418 day visitors entering the participating parks!
SANParks’ CEO, Hapiloe Sello, said “The week was established in a bid to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, protected by the national parks system. It is also in line with the SANParks’ vision statement of ‘A Sustainable National Park System Connecting Society.’” He also stated the event is a part of a worldwide campaign which centres on encouraging people to get to know the parks in their area.
During this week, most of South Africa’s 21 national parks will be open to day visitors and some parks this year will be extending their free access week to the preceding and following weekends as well, allowing those who might not have been able to get to the park during the week to take part in the festivities.
“This initiative aims to give the public an understanding of the role that SANParks plays as custodian of the country’s natural heritage. If we are to create a sense of ownership of the natural heritage of South Africa in all South Africans, then all South Africans must be able to have access to such. Visit a national park this year for free during SA National Parks Week, to see what it has to offer and to do your part by getting to know your national parks, celebrating your rich heritage offering and experiencing first-hand the iconic beauty and plethora of natural flora and fauna,” Sello concluded.
There are a couple of ways to make the most of this year’s free SANParks week, here’s some handy tips to keep in mind.
Arrive at the gates early. Access to the parks is on a first come first served basis. Since the gates will soon open at 5am, make sure that you are there early to beat the crowd.
Pack lots of water and snacks. The heat is already here in all its summery glory, so stay hydrated.
If you are staying overnight, make your booking early to not miss out on a spot.
Want to experience an authentic South African safari? Book a Kruger Park safari with Kurt Safari. Our guides and our experience makes the whole trip something really special and one that you will remember forever.