The number of people who visited the four South African National Parks in the Frontier Region (Addo Elephant, Camdeboo, Karoo and Mountain Zebra National Parks) during its free entry week more than doubled this year, compared to the same period last year. The ninth annual South African National Parks Week was celebrated from 8 to 12 September, and afforded all South African citizens the opportunity to visit national parks free of charge for a day visit.
A total of 4 847 day visitors passed through Addo Elephant National Park‘s gates during the course of week, Camdeboo National Park (surrounding the town of Graaff-Reinet) welcomed 1 080 visitors, Karoo National Park just outside Beaufort West opened their gates to 701 guests and Cradock’s Mountain Zebra National Park received 745 free entrants. This was a total of 7 373 guests, compared to last year’s 2 216 – a growth of 233%.
Included in these figures were 1 612 people who attended People and Conservation programmes in the four parks, and who were bussed in by the parks to attend the programmes. These facilitated visits were mostly for community groups who would usually not have the opportunity to visit a national park, such as schools groups, the elderly and orphaned from the surrounding areas. The individual park figures were: Addo Elephant – 832, Mountain Zebra – 386, Karoo – 266 and Camdeboo – 128.
Regional Manager, Dries Engelbrecht, says “We are ecstatic about what our figures are telling us. We knew we were in for a record year early last week, judging by the number of vehicles we had queuing outside our gates every morning, but this has by far exceeded our expectations.”
“With each passing year we strive to introduce who we are and what we do to more and more people who in the past would not be exposed to national parks, hence our established theme ‘Know Your National Parks’. The objective of the campaign is to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.”
“Many thanks must go to our partners, First National Bank – who has been with us since the inception of the campaign, and Total South Africa, who came on board this year. This open week would not be possible without the assistance of corporate South Africa, and we thank them for their support.”
The following two tabs change content below.