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South Africans can look forward to entering most national parks for free when SA National Parks (SANParks) launches its annual week on 17 September.

Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa will officially launch the week at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park (GGHNP) in the eastern Free State.

Since its inception in 2006, National Parks week has seen an influx of over 220 000 day visitors in all participating National Parks.

The concept of National Parks Week was established in a bid to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage, protected by the National Parks system.

After the official opening, people can start making their way to a national park of their choice including Mapungubwe, Marakele and Kruger in the Limpopo Province.

GGHNP, Mapungubwe and Marakele will extend the week to Sunday, 24th September, while Kruger will allow free visits only until Friday, 22 September.

“We are hoping to see an influx of people at all our parks especially because Sunday the 24th is Heritage Day which is all about celebrating our heritage and culture and what a better way to celebrate that if not spending a day in a national park,” said Lombard Shirindzi, General Manager of the Northern Region Parks.

“Our theme for this year is still ‘Know your national parks’ and we encourage one and all to visit these parks that are full of rich history and heritage,” Shirindzi said.

All people from school groups, community members and higher education institutions are encouraged to use this opportunity that will give them a wealth of knowledge about the deep heritage entrenched in the country’s national parks.

All that is required is for individuals to produce their green bar-coded South African identity document.

A detailed programme on the activities lined up for the week will be posted on the SANParks website soon.

Large groups such as schools and communities are encouraged to call the parks and pre-book to avoid waiting for too long.

Parks contacts are as follows: Mapungubwe (015) 534 7923/4, Marakele (014) 777- 6929 and Golden Gate (058) 255 0937. – SAnews.gov.za







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