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Posted on: Monday, 13 September 2010

Visit a South African National Park for free this week

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Kruger National Park

From Monday to Friday this week (13 to 17 September 2010), all South Africans can spend a day at one of South Africa’s glorious national parks without paying an entry fee – thanks to the “Know Your National Parks” campaign.

South African National Parks board will allow all South Africans with valid ID documents to enter any park managed by it, completely free of charge (three parks are excluded from this freebie deal, they are Boulders in the Table Mountain National Park, Tankwa Karoo and Namaqua national park and includes entrance fees, not accommodation or other commercial activities within the parks like safaris and activities).

According to SANParks’ general manager of media relations, Reynold Thakhuli, the campaign’s objective is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans with regards to the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage. “The idea of a national parks focus week was conceived in 2006, after we realised that a vast majority of South Africans was not accessing the national parks. SANParks then embarked on this campaign to encourage all South Africans, especially those from the communities around the parks, to share in what we envision to be the pride and joy of all South Africans and the world,” says Thakuli. (source: Bua News)

The South Africa’s National Parks you can visit for free this week include:

Addo Elephant Park

Addo Elephant Park

In the Eastern Cape:
Addo Elephant Park – Situated in a malaria free area just one hour’s drive from the South African coastal city of Port Elizabeth, the magnificently diverse Addo Elephant Park offers a wide variety of game viewing, outdoor adventure, accommodation and cultural experiences. You will be amazed at the variety of South Africa Wildlife that can be experienced in one easily accessible destination … see more about Addo Elephant National Park.

Camdeboo National Park – Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo of South Africa is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Camdeboo National Park provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem of the Karoo as well as splendid scenic beauty. The greater portion of the Camdeboo National park is situated between … see more about Camdeboo National Park.

Mountain Zebra National Park – The craggy heights of the park’s Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys, and has become an entrancing preserve for the Cape mountain zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction. Other mammals found in the park include eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest and gemsbok, whilst caracal are the primary predator … see more about Mountain Zebra National Park.

Agulhas National Park

In the Western Cape:
Agulhas National Park – Lying in what is known as the Agulhas Plain at the southernmost tip of Africa is the Agulhas National Park, just 45 kilometres from the popular village of Gansbaai. This might be the meeting place of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, but the park’s focus is on some of the most splendid examples of lowland fynbos and lowland fynbos on limestone soils – considered endangered … see more about Agulhas National Park.

Bontebok National Park – Sheltered by the Langeberg Mountains and bordered to the south by the Breede River, the Bontebok National Park provides a refuge for not only bontebok, but also for other species such as the Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest and grey rhebok. The park is situated within the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest, but richest of the world’s six floral kingdoms … see more about Bontebok National Park.

Karoo National Park – The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges, such as black rhino and buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra. Over 20 breeding pairs of black eagle find sanctuary within the Karoo National park. There is also a wide diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles. The park is situated close to the N1 … see more about Karoo National Park.

Garden Route National Park – The new Garden Route National Park, established by SANParks and also known as GRNP, spans an impressive 121 000 hectares and includes the existing Wilderness and Tsitsikamma national parks, the Knysna Lakes area and roughly 52 000 hectares of newly proclaimed land. Still regarded as ‘new’ the GRNP was only gazetted in March 2009 and is part of a long-term plan … see more about Garden Route National Park.

Table Mountain National Park – (Free entrance excludes Boulders!) At the south-western tip of South Africa, the Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Peninsula mountain chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south, a distance of approximately 60 km. The narrow portion of land with its many beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is circled by the waters of … see more about Table Mountain National Park.

West Coast National Park – Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders … see more about West Coast National Park.

Augrabies National Park

In the Northern Cape:
Augrabies Falls National Park – The Khoi people called it ‘Aukoerebis’, the place of the Great Noise, referring to the Orange River thundering its way downwards for 60 metres in a spectacular waterfall. Picturesque names such as Moon Rock, Ararat and Echo Corner are descriptive of this rocky region, characterised by the 18 kilometre abyss of the Orange River Gorge and craggy outcrops … see more about Augrabies Falls National Park.

Kgalagadi Transfontier Park – Africa’s first formally declared trans-border conservation area, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, on the border of South Africa and Botswana, was officially launched on May 12, 2000 by then South African President Thabo Mbeki and Botswana President Festus Mogae. The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated approximately 250 km from Upington … see more about Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

Mokala National Park – Mokala is one of South Africa’s newer National Parks, situated approximately 80km south-southwest of Kimberley, and west of the N12 freeway to Cape Town. Nestled in the hills, Mokala’s landscape boasts a variety of koppieveld (hills) and large open plains. The isolated dolerite hills give the place a calming feeling of seclusion. A big surprise awaits when you pass through the … see more about Mokala National Park.

Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park – Proclaimed in 1991 after 18 years of negotiation between the National Park Board and the local Nama people, the park is now managed jointly by the local Nama people and the South African Parks board. The Nama people, who lease the land to the board, continue to live and graze their livestock in the area. This is a harsh and unpredictable land where … see more about Richtersveld Transfrontier National Park.

In the Free State:
Golden Gate National Park – Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north-eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park’s sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp. This 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat  … see more about Golden Gate National Park.

Kruger National Park

In Mpumalanga / Limpopo:
Kruger National Park – Lying in the heart of the Lowveld is a wildlife sanctuary like no other, its atmosphere so unique that it allows those who enter its vastness to immerse themselves in the unpredictability and endless wilderness that is the true quality of Africa. Nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres (20 000 square kilometres) from north to south along the Mozambique … see more about Kruger National Park.

In Limpopo:
Mapungubwe National Park – An extensive savannah landscape situated at the meeting place of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers, this is the land of sandstone formations, mopane woodlands, brooding baobabs, ancient floodplains and unique riverine forests that form a dramatic backcloth for the wealth of animal life – elephant, giraffe, buffalo, white rhino, gemsbok and other antelope, extensive bird life, and … see more about Mapungubwe National Park.

Marakele National Park – The Marakele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains has become a ‘place of sanctuary’ for a vast variety of wildlife mainly due to its location in the transitional zone between the dry western and moist eastern regions of South Africa. The Marakele National Park is characterised by contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys … see more about Marakele National Park.

So what are you waiting for? If you haven’t yet been to your local national park, this is the week to do it. Take a days leave from work, pack up your family and head off to one of the National Parks in your province and enjoy another of the reasons we call ourselves “Proudy South African”!

Please Note:
The Children younger than 16 will be allowed free access without having an ID document.
Free access does not include any of the commercial activities in the parks, such as guided safaris or walks.

For more information, visit www.sanparks.org.

Useful Links:
South Africa Game Reserves
South Africa’s Attractions
South Africa Accommodation

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