Kruger Park offers locals free entry

Monday, September 5, 2011
Siphiwe Nyathi

Skukuza - Day visitors to the world-famous Kruger National Park will have free access from Monday to Friday next week.

The free entrance is part of 2011 South African National Parks (SANParks) Week celebration, which aims to raise awareness about national parks in the country.

"South African citizens will have free access to the park for the five days of the celebration as a way to create awareness of national parks and to promote a sense of environmental conservation awareness amongst the people of this country," said Kruger spokesman William Mabasa on Monday.

Mabasa stressed that the free entry was only open to South African day visitors.

He said private open safari vehicle operators, tourists who visit the park in tour buses and overnight visitors would be charged.

"To open this special week, Kruger management will visit the sick children at Matikwane, a local hospital outside the Kruger Gate. We will spend some time with them as a way of taking the park to them because they cannot make use of the opportunity due to their condition," he said.

He added that SANParks Week would include activities such as "Walk on the Wild side" - a project that has been running since 2008 and targets high school pupils, specifically those in Grades 10 and 11.
The pupils come from communities bordering the Kruger.

Mabasa said other targeted groups include taxi associations.

"When they are not busy taking people to and from work, taxi associations could (help) individuals from local communities who do not have their own transport but would like to visit and take part in the activities available in the park," said Mabasa.

He added that the Kruger management would also spend time with teenagers who have disabilities.

"The approach is to ensure that we reach out to these groups of children while also getting lessons from them about life's challenges. We encourage South Africans, young people in general, to visit the park as the intention is to make them understand the value of the environment and the importance of conservation," said Mabasa. - BuaNews

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