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“September is both Tourism and National Heritage month; another milestone in the KNP this year is that the Park is celebrating 120 years of conservation management. We would like to encourage South Africans; in particular, those coming from the local communities that are bordering the Park and have never had an opportunity to visit the Park to come in numbers. It is against this background that the SA National Parks Week offers free access to its National Parks to all the citizens of South Africa, said the KNP’s GM: Communications and Marketing, Isaac Phaahla.
In celebration of the special week, KNP will have activities lined-up in order to engage with various stakeholders to bring in representation from around the Park as follows:
9 September: Since inception, the hosting of the SA National Parks Week launch/official opening rotates from one National Park to another; and this year it will take place in the KNP at Phalaborwa Gate on Sunday, 9 September. Communities from around Phalaborwa and the surroundings will form part of the official opening.
7 – 11 September: The “Walk and Learn on the Wild side” project in Skukuza Camp will automatically fall under this special week as it ends on 11 September. KNP will host the event in conjunction with Mpumalanga’s Department of Education – Bohlabela and Ehlanzeni Districts. The project targets high school pupils specifically Grade 10 and 11 from neighbouring communities, exposing them to conservation and tourism related careers.
9 – 11 September: Visitors will be exposed to an exhibition of services and products rendered by the various community based organizations around the Park as well as tourism private entities. The venue will be Phalaborwa Gate.
14 September: The Arbor Day launch in the KNP will also form part of the SA National Parks Week this year and will take place at Phameni, a village outside Numbi Gate.
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.
“The normal daily quota at the gates will still apply during that week and preference will be given based on first come first served basis. Know your Parks and act in their best interest by conserving nature”, concluded Phaahla.