South African National Parks (SANParks) announced its decision to close all its tourism facilities to the public with effect from today (Wednesday, 25 March 2020) in support of the nation-wide lockdown for 21 days to combat the spread of the COVID 19 (coronavirus) epidemic as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, 23 March 2020.
SANParks CEO, Fundisile Mketeni said as we all face this unprecedented and unpredictable situation, “we would like to assure our staff and visitors that their health and wellbeing is of critical importance.
“We therefore request that all overnight guests vacate the parks today, Wednesday 25 March 2020 and ensure they have adequate time to return to their homes by the lockdown time of midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020. Day visitors will also not be permitted to enter the parks from today.”
Guests from High Risk Countries Must NOT Leave Parks
He said guests from high-risk countries currently resident in the parks who arrived in the country before March 9 are instructed NOT to leave the parks.
“All such guests have been identified and staff on the ground will provide them with support and further information regarding their travel arrangements as well as facilitate contact with their embassies.”
According to Mketeni, SANParks has reviewed its reservations policy to accommodate its valued guests and are happy to announce that all amendments and postponements will not be penalised or charged extra fees (T&Cs apply).
Postpone Rather Than Cancel
“It is for this reason that we request guests whose trips have been cut short or those who cannot make their SANParks bookings due to the lockdown to rather consider postponement to a later stage instead of cancellations.”
He said in instances where the traveller may not have a fixed date for the postponed booking, they should contact the call centre at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cancellations will however be subjected to the standard cancellation terms and conditions.
Anti-Poaching will continue
SANParks said it would like to assure the public that essential services such as food delivery, fuel provision, security and emergency services as well as wildlife crime operations will continue during this time.
“We would like to thank the public for their on-going support in line with government’s strategy to mitigate the impact of COVID 19, we all have an obligation to flatten the curve,” Mketeni concluded.