Accommodation in the majority of national parks will be open to intraprovincial tourists from next week, South African National Parks (SANParks) announced on Tuesday.
The national parks scheduled to open for overnight leisure travel on August 17 are Addo, Camdeboo and Karoo. The Mountain Zebra National Park will open on August 20.
“This comes after the announcement made by minister of tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, on the response measures and directions for alert level 3 lockdown as it pertains to the tourism industry,” said SANParks.
SANParks said overnight accommodation would only be allowed to residents of the various provinces in which the respective national parks were located. Interprovincial visitors will be prohibited from entering the parks.
“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,” said SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.
“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.”
Mketeni said SANParks had implemented additional visitor management procedures in line with regulations and to further mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus.
“No more than two people will be allowed per accommodation unit except for parents and children,” he said.
Tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in OSVs [guided overland safari vehicles] once regulations pertaining to their operations are gazetted.
“All OSV operators need to be registered with SANParks before they are permitted to enter the parks. 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,” added Mketeni.
“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.”
Bookings for accommodation at the national parks can be made by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 012 428 9111 or via the SANParks website.