Welcome back to the wild nature lovers! South African National Parks (SANParks) announced on the 4th of August 2020 that accommodation in most parks will be open as from 14 August 2020 to intra-provincial residents. They added that Guided Overland Safari Vehicles (OSVs) will be permitted as soon as the regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted.
The re-opening of SANParks accommodation to intra-provincial residents comes after the announcement made by Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s on the response measures and directions for Alert Level 3 Lockdown as it pertains to the tourism industry.
As per the Minister’s announcement, overnight accommodation is only permissible for residents of the various provinces that the respective National Parks are located in. Interprovincial visitors will be prohibited entry into the parks at this time.
In a statement released by SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni, he stressed the importance of stringent health and safety regulations during the phased re-opening of SANParks accommodation to intra-provincial residents.
“We are in the process of ensuring that the opening of our national parks for accommodation is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests. Accommodation will not run at full capacity as we will employ a phased-in approach to opening. Therefore our loyal guests can expect limited availability of accommodation in some parks at these beginning stages of our reopening, with a gradual increase in availability in the next few weeks.” – SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni
Fundisile Mketeni added that SANParks has implemented additional visitor management procedures in line with Lockdown Alert Level 3 regulations to further mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 as well as to ensure that the health and safety of visitors and staff remain top priority.
To ensure no interprovincial travel occurs, overnight guests will be required to provide proof of residence (municipal account or similar legally accepted form of verification of primary residence) at the time of booking accommodation and again when checking in. To ensure strict social distancing guidelines are adhered to, no more than two people will be allowed per accommodation unit except for parents and children.
In addition to the re-opening of SANParks accommodation to intra-provincial residents, tour operators will be allowed to conduct Guided Overland Safari Vehicle (OSVs) tours once regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted. Before resuming operation, all OSV operators need to be registered with SANParks before they are permitted to enter the parks. As per current Lockdown Alert Level 3 guidelines, self-drive guests are still restricted to a 70% vehicle capacity as per the Department of Transport’s regulations and the quota system still applies for day visitors.
With regards to the opening of various tourist attractions and visitor activities and experiences within each park, SANParks stated that it will be in keeping with current Lockdown restrictions and remain aligned with the opening dates set out. As more information is gazetted, SANParks will amend the protocols and inform guests of all updates and changes.
In addition to the opening of SANParks accommodation on the 14th of August 2020 to intra-provincial residents, other parks are scheduled to open their accommodation as follows:
- Addo, Camdeboo, and Karoo National Parks – 17 August 2020
- Mountain Zebra National Park – 20 August 2020
“We look forward to welcoming all our loyal guests, but we appeal to our colleagues, tourists and their friends and families to travel responsibly. Enjoy the parks and please make sure you follow all health and safety protocols” – SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni