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SA National Parks opens its 2023 free access week

South African National Parks (SanParks) has opened its 18th annual South African National Parks Week in Pretoria. The week, opened by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs, Barbara Creecy ends on 24 September 2023.
Source: Morne Carsten via  - Marakele National Park
Source: Morne Carsten via SanParks - Marakele National Park

SanParks chief executive officer, Hapiloe Sello says SA National Parks week is aimed at linking the South African National Parks system to communities and showcasing the best of our country’s national parks.

During the week all South African citizens are allowed to enter national parks for free for a day visit. "On Sunday, the SanParks board chairperson, Miss Pam Yako and I will host media and communities in the Kruger National Park in celebration of the start of SanParks Week."

Sello said that the role of communities in our efforts to protect our parks is of vital importance. "Our communities should be at the forefront of conservation and SA National Parks Week gives these communities an opportunity to freely access parks they might not have been exposed to, and to gain a greater understanding of the importance of conservation."

SanParks Vision 2040

SanParks recently embarked on an ambitious project, the SanParks Vision 2040, which, in part, is about cultivating a collective sense of community, healing, and inspiration that resonates with all South Africans. SanParks Vision 2040 is about looking to the future and reimaging the way we do conservation. "We want all citizens, particularly those living adjacent to national parks, to become champions for conservation and biodiversity and one of the ways do this is to offer free access to and exposure to the importance of national parks."

"This week is also an opportunity to showcase national parks as affordable local holiday destinations that offer unique experiences for families and individuals from all backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles and communities to enjoy."

Total Energies Marketing South Africa’s general manager for strategy, corporate affairs, marketing and communications, Sunil Gandhi says: "Since the inception of this remarkable partnership with SANParks, we have made monumental strides in protecting South Africa’s pristine landscapes and wildlife.

"This aligns with our ambition to be a major player in the energy transition and get to net zero by 2050. Our commitment to environmental conservation is unwavering thus, having been a partner with SanParks for more than 64 years is only a true testament to our shared vision of safeguarding our plant treasures for generations to come

"We are particularly proud of the annual SanParks Week that allows free entry for SA citizens and gives everyone the opportunity to experience National Parks first-hand."

Natural and cultural heritage

Sipho Silinda, CEO, FNB Public Sector Banking says: "The 18th annual SANParks Week is a remarkable milestone in our sustained commitment to enable South African citizens to explore our country’s natural heritage, particularly as we also celebrate Heritage Day this month and as a nation embrace all cultures.

"Our tourism industry continues to be fundamental to the growth of our economy. We urge all our communities and individuals to support our national and cultural heritage and experience South African National Parks."

SanParks started this campaign in 2006 to encourage all South Africans, especially those from communities around the parks, to share in what SanParks believes to be the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world.

"The survival of the national parks system and our natural and cultural heritage truly lies in the people of South Africa, and SA National Parks Week provides us with the opportunity to establish a real multi-cultural visitor profile and assist in developing a deep sense of national pride. Come and experience our parks and enjoy SA National Week as it is for all South Africans. This is your heritage, explore it, learn from it and love it," concludes Sello.

Park-specific dates can be found on SanParks website. The free access to the parks does not include accommodation or any commercial activities in the park.

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