South African National Parks Week: 09 - 14 September 2018
About the South African National Parks (SANParks)
SA National Parks Week (SANPW) now in its 12th year is held in September every year. This is one of the country’s largest celebration of national heritage. It's about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing South Africa’s best idea - the national parks! It's all happening in your national parks, Know Your National Parks. The week will run from 09 to 14 September 2018 with a limited number of national parks expected to extend free access until Sunday, 16th September 2018.
National Parks Week 2018 official launch is hosted at Kruger National Park, Mopani camp in Limpopo, with the official launch officiated by MEC for LEDET, Mr Seaparo Sekoati on behalf of the Minister of Environmental Affairs. South African National Parks have once again partnered with First National Bank (FNB) and Total SA, to present National Park Week.
South African National Parks, (SANParks), manages a system of parks which represents the indigenous fauna, flora, landscapes and associated cultural heritage of the country, while contributing to the improvement of the lives of local communities and development of the country’s economy.
These national parks play an important part in society, it is hoped that through South African National Parks Weeks the value of conservation is understood and that people across the country will be proud of our parks. Of the 19 national parks, most if not all have overnight tourist facilities, with an unrivalled variety of accommodation in arid, coastal, mountain and bushveld habitats. The national parks are: Addo Elephant, Agulhas, Augrabies, |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Bontebok, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Golden Gate, Karoo, Kgalagadi Tranfrontier Park, Kruger, Marakele, Mapungubwe, Mokala, Mountain Zebra, Namaqua, Table Mountain, Tankwa Karoo and West Coast.
South African National Parks is to embark on developing an annual National Parks Week for South Africa whose inception is based on the following objectives (in no order of importance):
- To instill a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical, specifically that which is protected within the national parks system.
- To educate the public on the importance of the natural and cultural heritage that is held in custody by Protected Area Agencies, specifically South African National Parks (SANParks).
- It is to restore the status of national parks as envisioned in the first national park established, that of creating pride in one’s heritage and uniting the peoples of South Africa and of the world.
- It is to give the public an understanding of the business of national parks, dispelling the current understanding that national parks are either places of tourism or khaki clad right-wingers.
- To give the public a broader understanding of the custodianship role played by SANParks in conservation.
- To raise awareness about the role national parks in the management of endangered species and the community’s rights to sustainable utilisation of natural resources
- To create a greater understanding of the role of CITES in conservation and the survival of wildlife species
‘Know Your National Parks’
In line with the theme that has been adopted by the organisation since inception the above theme will be the theme for the National parks Week this current period. This theme is one that is aimed specifically at encouraging and restoring national pride in these areas that have been set aside for protection of South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage.
The date for the event is 10 to 14 September 2018, which is also a heritage month. The choice of this month is borne by the view that natural resources are a national heritage and as such in line with the theme, ‘Know Your National Parks’, it is deemed fitting that this event be launched on heritage month.
Launch of National Parks Week
A launch of the National Parks Week will be held at the same venue that will be holding the Anchor Exhibition that is planned for the week. The envisaged venue is Kruger National Park, Mopani camp in Limpopo. It is deemed imperative then that the launch of such an event be centered in such an area in order to broadly permeate the consciousness of the South African public.
This event will be held on the opening day of the National Parks Week. The event will be attended by leading politicians, captains of industry as well as leaders in conservation locally and internationally. The event will be launched by the MEC responsible for environmental affairs and tourism in Limpopo.
National (Anchor) Exhibition
There will be a national/anchor exhibition that will be held in Kruger National Park, for the duration of the National Parks Week.
The Exhibition will comprise of displays from SANParks (including all national parks under its management) and other conservation entities in order to bring variety and representation of the broader South African biodiversity landscape. There is also a consideration of also including private players in the conservation industry who may deem it beneficial to participate in this event. The only stipulation, however, will be that the exhibitions should be about biodiversity and cultural landscapes and not biased only towards tourism related matters.
All national parks are going to be encouraged and assisted in developing exhibitions of their own. These can be based on environmental education, a theme that has already been largely established by the People and Conservation division. The Department of Environmental Affairs will be encouraged to participate in pre-publicity as well exhibitions throughout the national parks promoting the Departments services.
Executive Management will be deployed to launch the opening of these exhibitions in key national parks which will be representative of the different geographical regions of the organization. The involvement of local leadership and dignitary will be compulsory.
These exhibitions will be launched the day after the official launch of the National Parks Week at Kruger National Park in Limpopo.
National Park Open Days
A key and most important part of the National Parks Week program will be the Open Access Day programme. The aim is to encourage all national parks to offer Open Access Days to members of the public, especially local communities, for the duration of the National Parks Week. Members of the public are to be given free access into the park and given an opportunity to learn more about the park’s business as they are being guided through the exhibition and other interpretive centers or public facilities in the park.
- The open access does not in any way include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities as the organization may incur unrecoverable and exorbitant costs through such an exercise. However, it is considered to be of importance to consider discounted rates for tourists for the duration of the National Parks Week.
- Personnel in the park should be made aware of this project and be primed to deal with the influx of visitors into the park and be ready to educate, spread awareness and engage with members of the public specific matters pertaining to the natural and cultural landscape of the parks as well as issues of historical importance.
- The National Parks Week must also be used to promote to the public several products on offer within the organization, e.g. the Wild Card, Promotions linked to the National Parks Week will be done on these areas with the specific help and leadership from the affected divisions or units within the organization.
Soutn African National Parks (SANParks)
First National Bank (FNB)