One of the most exciting events on the local conservationist enthusiast’s calendar is happening this month, the SANParks free week!
An annual, much-anticipated event, the free week sees free entry to a few of South Africa’s most beloved national parks, and it is the one time of the year that locals usually pack the Kruger National Park to the brim. This year marks the 16th time the free week is being hosted around the country, in conjunction with Total Energies and FNB. Parks that are participating this year include the Kgalagadi, the Addo Elephant Park, the Tsitsikamma, and, of course, the Kruger National Park.
This year, the free access week will be running from the 22nd to the 28th of November, and it is perfect for a fun day trip.
Background on this Event
There is a bit of history and meaning behind the free week. The campaign has been designed purely to get South Africans into the parks, with the goal of giving guests the opportunity to freely explore their wildlife heritage and to just enjoy the real beauty of the landscapes.
The initiative is also designed to get the surrounding communities and younger people to enter the park and become more involved in the care of the park. If local residents can gain an appreciation for the parks, they can become more involved in the nature conservation and custodianship of their heritage, ensuring the continuation of the work being done.
The free week gives guests the chance to enjoy the complete safari experience and to make the most of your time in the Kruger, we have a few tips that you might find useful.
Kruger Free Week Tips
The hype around the free week starts about a month before the date. Since park guests can enter without paying, the event becomes an excuse for a holiday, even if it is just a day out.
If you are one of the lucky people who intend to make the most of this event, and you are headed into the Kruger National Park for a Kruger Park safari, here is some information you might find helpful.
- Arrive early
If the previous years have taught us anything, it’s that park guests who arrive early tend to actually get in! Because the free week attracts hundreds if not thousands of guests, the park has a quota on the amount of people they can let in without harming the eco system in which the guests are travelling. Normally, the queues will start forming at 4:30 am, sometimes earlier, so plan for an early day.
- Bring Food
The main camps in the park are normally packed full of hungry guests and so it can be difficult to navigate your way into and out of the camps for food stops. If you don’t mind avoiding the main camps, try to either bring along your food or stick to the picnic stops.
- Be Nice
The park might be busier than usual, and you might get frustrated with the crowds, but when you keep in mind that everyone is in the park because they have a love for it, you will understand that you are sharing an exciting experience. So be nice and just enjoy the journey.