South Africa National Parks (SANParks) has announced that self-drive excursions for day visitors will be permitted from Monday June 8 in parks that cater for this service.
SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni on June 6 assured the public that SANParks had used the past week to prepare for the expected arrivals of guests at its parks.
“We appreciate that after two months of confinement, the public is keen to engage with nature and the excitement as shown by enquiries from our loyal visitors is encouraging. We are obligated to ensure that the opening of our national parks for self-drive excursions is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests.”
SANParks’ mission is to limit face-to-face contact between staff and guests by encouraging online and telephone bookings and payments.
“Day visit bookings and full payment of conservation fees will be done online and telephonically prior to arrival, where possible. In the case of Wild Card members, guests have to ensure their membership is valid prior to arrival,” said Mketeni.
“The three national parks, as well as the majority of gates at the Kruger National Park will be open, with the exception of Pafuri and Numbi gates. Gate quotas for the Kruger National Park have been revised to about one-third of what they were prior to Covid-19."
Mketeni said that three time slots would be available for day visitors' arrival.
“Slot 1 is from 06:00 to 08:00, Slot 2 from 08:00 to 10:00 and Slot 3 from 10:00 onwards. Hides and picnic spots at all parks remain closed; braaing at picnic sites will also not be allowed during this period. Ablutions will be open in camps, at gates and at some picnic spots.
"A limited number of shops and petrol stations will open in some parks during the course of the week and will be operated in accordance with relevant Level 3 lockdown regulations," he pointed out.
Mketeni said the national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces must be observed within the parks.
“This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not be permitted. Guests therefore must exit into the province from which they entered the park.” he said.