The amended Risk Adjusted Strategy for Tourism Facilities, Services and Products has been announced by Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane.
Guided tour operators, which includes overland safari vehicle (OSV) operators, will now be permitted to operate in national parks from August 7, provided they have applied for a permit.
No permits have been renewed or issued since expiry of the previously issued permits on March 31.
Temporary permits are now valid from issue date to 31 October, and annual permits will be issued from November 1.
“In the intervening period, SANParks will issue temporary permits to all OSV operators provided the said operator is in possession of the required licences and accreditations. OSVs will be required to carry the temporary permit on board every vehicle at all times,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
All tour operators and OSV operators will need to keep records, with the full names, ID numbers and cellphone numbers of all guests on guided tours. These records must be available to the Minister if required.
The amendments also require that all persons on the tour must use masks, or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth at all times except when eating or drinking; all persons must be sanitised before entering a tour vehicle, rail or boat; guests must be frequently sanitised during their tour or be provided with sanitisers for frequent use; guided activities that require walking must ensure that a social distance of 1.5 m is maintained at all times, as well as the loading capacity of guided tour vehicles.
All vehicle door handles, window handles, arm rests and hand rails must be sanitised after every load; all windows on both sides of the tour vehicles, where applicable, must be open 5 cm on both sides; all snacks and drinks provided during the tour must be pre-packed and distributed following strict hygiene and sanitising measures. Disposable bottles, containers, cups and utensils should be utilised during tours; waste should be handled and disposed of safely.
To apply for a temporary permit to operate an OSV in the Kruger National Park, please send an email to KNP.OSV@sanparks.org with subject line: OSV TEMPORARY PERMIT APPLICATION or 013 735 4104/5 during office hours (Mondays to Fridays).