South African National Parks (SANParks) welcomes the announcement made yesterday (Thursday, 30 July 2020) by Minister of Tourism, Honourable Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane’s of the response measures and directions for Alert Level 3 Lockdown as it pertains to the tourism industry.
Commenting after the tourism minister’s speech, CEO of SANParks, Fundisile Mketeni, said: “We appreciate that after four months of confinement, the public is keen to engage with nature, however, we are obligated to ensure that the opening of our national parks for accommodation is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests”.
Mketeni said that SANParks is likely to implement some additional visitor management procedures to ease entry into the parks and further mitigate the risk of the spread of coronavirus.
He said in due course SANParks will make further announcements regarding the opening dates of accommodation in individual parks… “as and when we are comfortable with their state of preparedness to welcome you back. We therefore beg your indulgence as the opening needs to be done in a responsible manner for the safety and enjoyment of all our guests.”
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. Therefore guests will be required to provide proof of residence at the time of booking accommodation and again when checking in. Interprovincial visitors will be prohibited entry into the parks.
Tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles subject to directives that are still to be communicated and gazetted. Self-drive guests are restricted to a 70% vehicle capacity as per the Department of Transport’s regulations published on April 2.
Further details for overnight accommodation protocols will be available on www.sanparks.org.