Here's your chance to explore a national park without paying a cent

SANParks has announced the dates for this year's National Parks Week, with some parks extending the offer so that free entry is available over two weekends

21 August 2023 - 20:52 By Elizabeth Sleith
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An elephant on the road in the Kruger National Park.
An elephant on the road in the Kruger National Park.
Image: utopia88 / 123rf.com

Fancy free entry to one of South Africa's magnificent national parks? Then get set for South African National Parks Week taking place this year from September 16 to 24, when SANParks invites South Africans to get out and explore the guardians of some our greatest natural treasures — for free. 

The week grants free access to most of the country's 21 national parks for day visitors (Namaqua National Park excluded), with a hope that people from local communities, especially, will take the chance to explore the parks. 

This is the 18th year the event is taking place and this year some of the parks will again be extending the dates to include two weekends. This includes Agulhas National Park, Bontebok, Camdeboo, Golden Gate Highlands and the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.

Since its inception in 2006, National Parks Week has seen more than 691,418 day visitors take the opportunity to visit participating parks.

SANParks CEO Hapiloe Sello says the goal is “to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, protected by the national parks system”.

Free access to parks does not include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities, though visitors will be able to, depending on the park, enjoy self-drives, hiking trails and visitor centres.

Sello adds: “It’s important for South Africans to visit and know the importance of national parks ... If we are to create a sense of ownership of the natural heritage of South Africa in South Africans, then South Africans must be able to have access to such.

“Visit a national park this year for free during SA National Parks Week to see what it has to offer and do your part by getting to know your national parks, celebrate your rich heritage offering and experience first-hand the iconic beauty and plethora of natural flora and fauna.”

For individual park dates and participating parks, go here.


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