National parks in South Africa to reopen for overnight accommodation

EDENI, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 19: A lion yawns on July 19, 2010 in the Edeni Game Reserve, South Africa. Edeni is a 21,000 acre wilderness area with an abundance of game and birdlife located near Kruger National Park in South Africa. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

South African National Parks (SANParks) will from Aug. 14 be open for overnight accommodation and guided overland safari vehicles, the organization said on Tuesday.

This follows the announcement last week by the Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane allowing intraprovincial visits.

SANParks said they will be permitting overnight accommodation only for residents of that particular province where the park is situated.

“We are in the process of ensuring that the opening of our national parks for accommodation is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both our staff and guests,” said SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.

“Accommodation will not run at full capacity as we will employ a phased in approach to opening,” he said. “Therefore our loyal guests can expect limited availability of accommodation in some parks at these beginning stages of our reopening, with a gradual increase in availability in the next few weeks.”

Mketeni said overnight guests will be required to provide proof of residence. Interprovincial visitors will be prohibited entry into the parks.

He said, “No more than two people will be allowed per accommodation unit except for parents and children. We look forward to welcoming all our loyal guests but we appeal to our colleagues, tourists and their friends and families’ to travel responsibly. Enjoy the parks and please make sure you follow all health and safety protocols.”

South African national parks were closed in March when the government introduced lockdown to flatten the curve of COVID-19.

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