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The West Coast National Park will be open for free during this year's SANParks Open Week. Source: IOL/Brenton Geach

JOHANNESBURG – South Africans can enjoy a free visit for the day to any national park of their choice, according to South African National Parks (SANParks). The offer, which is limited, to South Africans is part of the commemoration of the annual SANParks week.

SANParks Acting Head of Communications, William Mabasa said the objective was to cultivate a culture of pride in all South Africans in their relationship with the country’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.

Under the established theme “Know Your National Parks” the week long campaign runs from tomorrow until September 16. To gain free entry to the parks during the SANParks week visitors will have to produce valid identity documents. Children under the age of 16 years would be allowed free access without proof of identity.

First National Bank is sponsoring SANParks week.

“Once again, we hope that through allowing free access to our National Parks, we will succeed in encouraging all South Africans, to visit the beautiful parks our country has to offer,” said Kgosi Ledimo, CEO FNB Public Sector Banking.

The idea of a national parks focus week is a world-wide campaign and was conceived in South Africa in 2006, after realising that a vast majority of South Africans were not accessing the national parks, Mabasa said.

“The week-long campaign will be applicable to all the national parks managed by SANParks, with the exception of Boulders in Table Mountain National Park and Namaqua National Park. Some of the parks will be extending the week to include the weekend,” said Mabasa.

“The expo will include cultural, conservation, nursery and tourism aspects from the community, rangers and various conservation entities in order to highlight the broader South African biodiversity landscape.”

SANParks encourages South Africans, especially educators and school groups, to visit a national park of their choice and enjoy the free one day access.

– African News Agency