South African National Parks (SANParks) is organising the 17th annual South African National Parks Week from 11 to 16 September 2022. During this week, free access will be granted to all 19 national parks in the country. The initiative aims to showcase the best of South Africa's national parks.
The Kruger National Park, South Africa’s largest, located in the north-east of the country and covering almost 20 000 km2, will be open to the public free of charge from 11 to 16 September 2022, along with 19 other national parks in the southern African country. This is on the occasion of the 17th annual South African National Parks Week.
The event is organised annually, and has been since 2016, by South African National Parks (SANParks). The aim is to connect the South African national park system to the global movement and showcase the best of these biodiversity spaces. “Through our socio-economic transformation programmes and our expanded public works programme, we are working closely with communities living in the vicinity of national parks to be more inclusive in our management of protected areas. This inclusiveness includes access to the parks for cultural purposes as well as raising awareness among young people of the different career options in conservation and tourism,” explains SANParks director Luthando Dziba.
SANParks, the pillar of South African ecotourism
SANParks was established in 1926 by the South African government and comprises a network of 19 national parks, representing a total area of 40 802.61 km2, or about 3.3% of the country’s surface. It develops, protects, administers and promotes South Africa’s national parks in a sustainable manner. Its values are innovation, excellence, responsible tourism and fair distribution of socio-economic benefits.
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Of the 19 national parks managed by SANParks, three are United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage sites and ten are marine protected areas. This potential makes SANParks the largest tourism entity in South Africa, with over 15 000 tourist beds and an annual park attendance of over 7 million.