With eased Covid-19 regulations for travel and accommodation in place, the South African National Parks board (SANParks) says it is ready to start welcoming back visitors – albeit it at a gradual pace.
Earlier this month the board announced it intends to reopen its hospitality operations gradually to ensure optimum readiness to accommodate guests in compliance with new regulations and protocols of the Covid-19 government stipulations.
Ike Phaahla, GM: Communications and Marketing for SANParks, told The Citizen the overall mood of staff is one of exuberance and that they have had a lot of enquiries and confirmed bookings.
“Strict health protocols, screening, sanitising and social distancing will be enforced. We have compliance officials who will be looking after public areas to ensure compliance,” said Phaahla.
Over the weekend, the CEO of SANParks, Fundisile Mketeni, told Lowvelder that they had some logistical challenges regarding readiness to resume full operations in some parks.
“In addition to planned maintenance work, it has emerged that the bulk of units that were unoccupied during the lockdown were damaged mainly by primates, squirrels and bats. We are, however, moving with speed to repair them,” said Mketeni.
As a result, most of the Kruger camps have reopened and are fully operational.
However, Skukuza and Lower Sabie will operate at minimum capacity until 1 October and 15 December, respectively.
In the past week, operational teams have been hard at work and as such, SANParks advises the following:
- The head office reservation call centre in Pretoria is now operating at full capacity.
- The online booking system has been stabilised and all technical disruptions resolved.
- The accommodation in the majority of parks is now fully operational with the exception of the KNP which is impacted the most by continuing maintenance work. It will open in a multi-phased approach between August and December 2020.
Biyamiti, Maroela and Orpen remain closed with estimated reopening dates:
- Biyamiti: 15 October
- Maroela: 1 November
- Orpen: 7 November
Phaahla says visitors should refer to the SANParks website for more information on events and activities.
“On our website, www.Sanparks.org we have specials for all kinds of products,” he said.