The annual South African National Parks week will this year take place from the 12 to 16 September 2022.
The Spokesperson of the Kruger National Park, Isaac Phaahla, said the purpose of this initiative is to continue to encourage citizens to know their parks and come and enjoy their natural heritage especially communities that are bordering these protected areas as they might not ordinarily be able to afford the general entry fees. The Kruger National Park (KNP) will open its gates only during weekdays and implores people to make arrangements as quotas will be implemented to avoid congestion both at the gates and other public areas within the park.
“We want people to be able to connect to nature and appreciate their natural heritage, hence the decision to restrict it to weekdays and to have quotas at every gate. The free access week takes place during September, which is both Tourism and Heritage month, therefore it makes sense for us to have National Parks week during this period especially for our neighbouring communities. In celebration of the National Parks Week, KNP also has planned activities lined-up to highlight interpretation for some of the Cultural Heritage products available for tourists. These activities will also allow us an opportunity to strengthen relations with the key stakeholders from around the Park who are linked to those cultural heritage sites”; said Phaahla.
Activities will be as follows:
- 12 September 2022 – Launch of the new interpretation displays at Rabelais Interpretation Hut
o Found near Orpen Camp, the hut is a museum display whose interpretation has been upgraded recently. The hut marks the spot of the old entrance gate and contains photographs and history of James Havelock Orpen and his wife Eileen as well as other contributors who helped establish the Park that side of the Park in the past.
- 13 September – Launch of the Mount Tshikumbu Interpretation Site
o Found near Phalaborwa Gate, the site is linked to Chief Tongogara whose Kingdom once flourished in its era. Mount Tshikumbu is regarded as a shrine, a place of holiness; it still maintains its sacredness as rituals are still being practised by Chief Tongogara’s descendants. When Chief Tongogara passed away, his body was laid to rest on Mount Tshikumbu.
- 14 September 2022 – Hosting of Persons with Disabilities at Letaba
o SANParks aims to promote access to all South Africans; whilst creating an inclusive environment; extending it to persons with disabilities such as mobility, visual and hearing challenges for a touch, smell and feel wildlife experience. KNP will showcase the Letaba Elephant Hall to persons with disabilities coming from the local communities bordering the Park, they will also interact with media.
- 14 September 2022 – Visit to the Letaba archaeological sites
o Archaeologists from the University of Pretoria in conjunction SANParks, have embarked on a project to rescue and mitigate two important archaeological sites along the Letaba River in the Kruger National Park; believed to have been occupied between 1 500 and 1 000 years ago. The sites contain some of the earliest evidence for trade between South Africa and countries such as Asia. Media will be updated on the progress.
Conditions applicable to the free entry are that access will only be granted to day visitors upon presentation of an identity document; only children below the age of 16 years gain entry without proof of identity. Groups regarded as commercial ventures: private open safari vehicles operators, tourists who come to the park on tour buses and overnight visitors are not included in this free access arrangement.