Day visitors to the Kruger National Park are encouraged to book a time slot prior to their arrival between Friday, June 24 and Sunday, July 17.
“The Day Visitor Quota for the park is a management tool to maintain the carrying capacity of the park,” SANParks said in a statement.
Three time slots are available and visitors will be allowed to book up to 80% of day visitor quota via the SANParks Reservation offices and through the website.
“The three different slots aim to improve the spread of vehicles and, as far as possible, prevent unnecessary waiting periods at gates,” said Glenn Phillips, KNP Managing Executive.
Pre-booked day visitors will get preference over non-booked day visitors at the gate, and must arrive within the time slots as per their reservation.
Open safari vehicles are regarded as booked for all day visitor admissions. Un-booked guests could be denied entry.
The number of visitors to one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations continues to increase.
Locals and international visitors, including higher numbers from the SADC region, are visiting the Kruger National Park (KNP) managed and operated by SANParks. The park, home of the legendary Big Five, is attracting more day visitors in particular.
A total number of 1,659,793 guests passed through the gates of the KNP in the 2014/2015 financial year, compared to 1,556,916 the previous financial year, SANParks and the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Sunday.
Of this number 1,277,397 were day visitors and 382,396 were overnight guests. Between the 2012/2013 and 2014/15 financial years, the number of day visitors entering the Kruger National Park grew by an additional 239 817.
Day visitor volumes picked up noticeably in December, with 148,138 day visitors entering the park. The majority of SADC visitors entered from the Punda Maria Gate (10 378) and the majority of ‘other international’ visitors entered the KNP from Phabeni Gate (76,920).
A total of 382, 396 overnight guests spent a night or more inside the national park generating R 321, 482 million in accommodation fees for SANParks.
Of the 25 SANParks operated camping facilities inside the KNP, the majority overnighted at the popular Skukuza camp.
“These figures are pleasing not just for SANParks but for the country in general: evidence that our abundant wildlife continues to attract our citizens and foreign visitors, and in particular, more visitors from the continent“ says SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni.
Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, congratulated SANParks. “Since the proclamation of the Kruger nearly a century ago, it has continued to be a local and international draw-card for tourists, and this is largely because of sterling management by SANParks,” says Molewa.
“That increased numbers are visiting one of our country’s major attractions furthermore indicates that government’s National Tourism Sector Strategy is well on track, and working,” adds Molewa.
Visitor numbers for the 2015/2016 financial year look similarly promising. The sub-total of day visitor numbers through April 2015 are 108,284 and 35,093 overnight guests.