South Africa National Parks (SANParks) today announced that self-drive excursions for day visitors will be permitted from Monday, 8 June 2020 in parks that cater for self-drives.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said SANParks used this past week to prepare for the expected arrivals of guests to parks.

“We appreciate that after two months of confinement, the public is keen to engage with nature and the excitement as shown by enquiries from our loyal visitors is encouraging. We are obligated to ensure that the opening of our national parks for self-drive excursions is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests,” said Mketeni in a media statement on Saturday.

As a result, SANParks is limiting face-to-face contact between staff and guests by encouraging online and telephonic day-visit bookings and full payment of conservation fees prior to arrival where possible.

Bookings can be made at 012 428 9111 or from Monday 8 June.

In the case of Wild Card members, guests have to ensure that their membership is valid prior to arrival.

Mketeni said Namaqua National Park as well as Boulders and Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park remain closed for the meantime and the majority of gates at Kruger National Park will be open with the exception of Pafuri and Numbi gates.

Gate quotas for Kruger have been revised to approximately one third of what they were prior to COVID-19.

Three time slots for arrival will be introduced with the understanding that booked day visitors must arrive at the gate within that time span.

  • Slot 1 is from 06:00 to 08:00,
  • Slot 2 from 08:00 to 10:00 and
  • Slot 3 from 10:00 onwards. H

Hides and picnic spots at all parks remain closed; braaing at picnic sites will also not be allowed during this period.

Ablutions will be open in camps, at gates and at some picnic spots. A limited number of shops and petrol stations will open in some parks during the course of the week and will be operated in accordance with relevant Level 3 lockdown regulations.

Further information and updates will be available on SANParks’ website on Monday 8 June 2020.

The national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces must be observed within the parks.

“This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not be permitted,” said Mketeni. “Guests therefore must exit into the province from which they entered the park.“

He said everything as we knew it has been fundamentally changed by COVID-19, “therefore we are requesting guests to adhere to all official alert level 3 regulations when inside the parks including wearing masks, keeping social distance, and following transport capacity directives.

“We also implore guests not to deposit their litter inside the bins within the parks but to leave with as much of it as hygienically possible.”

That aside, at least South Africans can look forward to visiting their favourite parks again from Monday! Please drive slowly… the animals have become accustomed to having the roads to themselves over the last couple of months.