Tourism minister announces Covid-19 directions for overland safari vehicle operators

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane. Picture: ANA

According to the directions, all overland safari vehicle operators need to be registered with SANParks before they will be permitted to enter the parks.

Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has published the amended risk-adjusted strategy for tourism facilities, services and products to include the regulations for guided tour operators which includes overland safari vehicle (OSV) operators.

South African National Parks (SANParks) announced that OSVs would be permitted to operate in National Parks as from 7 August.

All OSVs need to be registered with SANParks before they will be permitted to enter the parks.

All OSV Operators intending to visit the national parks are advised to pre-book day visits in advance to avoid being turned away when daily gate quotas are exceeded.

To operate in SANParks, permits are required for OSV operators and due to the lockdown, no permits have been renewed or issued since the expiry of the previously issued permits being 31 March.

SANParks is introducing a two-phase approach to re-permitting:

  1. Phase One: Issue of temporary permits valid from issue date to 31 October 2020.
  2. Phase Two: Issue of annual permits from 1 November 2020.

In the intervening period, SANParks will issue temporary permits to all OSVs provided the said operator is in possession of the required licences and accreditations. OSVs will be required to carry the temporary permit onboard every vehicle at all times.

The minister’s amendments state that all tour operators and OSVs will need to keep records, with the full names, ID numbers and cellphone numbers, of all guests who partake in their guided tours. These records must be available to the minister if required.

The amendments include regulations concerning sanitisation, masks and social distancing.

OSVs must:

  • not allow a person to the tour if that person is not wearing a cloth mask or homemade item that covers the nose and mouth or another appropriate item to cover the nose and mouth;
  • ensure that every person involved in the tour wears a mask at all times except when eating or drinking;
  • sanitise persons involved in the tour before they enter a tour vehicle, rail or boat;
  • frequently sanitise guests during their tour or provide guests or persons involved in the tour with sanitisers for frequent use;
  • ensure that during guided activities that require walking, a social distance of one and a half metres is maintained at all times among persons involved in the tour;
  • ensure that the loading capacity of guided tour vehicles and other modes of public transport complies with the directions issued by the minister of transport in respect of the loading capacity of public transport vehicles;
  • ensure that the door handles, window handles, armrests and handrails of all vehicles, rail or boat are sanitised after every load;
  • ensure that windows on both sides of the tour vehicles, where applicable, are kept 5cm open on both sides;
  • ensure that all snacks and drinks provided during the tour are pre-packed and distributed following strict hygiene and sanitising measures. Disposable bottles, containers, cups and utensils should be utilised during tours;
  • ensure the safe handling and disposal of waste.

The opening of visitor activities and tourist attractions in the parks will be in keeping with restrictions and aligned with the opening dates set out. As more information is gazetted SANParks will amend the protocols accordingly and inform guests.

OSVs wanting to apply for a temporary permit to operate in the Kruger National Park can send an email to KNP.OSV@sanparks.org with subject line: OSV TEMPORARY PERMIT APPLICATION. Any queries should be directed to email KNP.OSV@sanparks.org or 013 735 4104/5 during office hours (Mondays to Fridays).

Accommodation bookings can be made online, telephonically or via email at reservations@sanparks.org or 012 428 9111 or www.sanparks.org/bookings

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)




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