The Garden Route National Park has promised visitors the adventure of a lifetime with a week of free admission to the scenic Tsitsikamma park.

Three sections of the parks, Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness, are ready to host all South Africans for free until Sunday.

The campaign “Mahal Week” was initiated so that local residents have the opportunity to experience and enjoy our natural heritage.

Visitors to the Garden Route National Park are spoiled for choice. The region is rich in majestic mountains, pristine beaches and lush forests. It is a well-known adventure destination with plenty of lists and activities for thrill seekers.

At the launch of regional SANParks Week in the Tsitsikamma section, Garden Route National Parks Director General Vuiswa Radebe says that although access is free, many concessionaires also offer discounts on their activities.

“It was common knowledge now during mahal week because we allowed our SA citizens to come and visit our parks for free. Provided you present your valid SA ID, we allow you to visit our parks. So in the three areas, which are Tsitsikamma, Knysna and the Wilderness, we have worked closely with our stakeholders, especially our concessionaires, and we even got discounts.”

Tsitsikamma is home to Africa’s oldest marine protected area, which preserves a variety of marine life. Tsitsikamma Park Manager Victor Makoena says adventure lovers are in for a treat this week.

“There’s a lot more going on in the area. So we collaborated on a number of projects. We have many concessionaires operating in the park. We have those who will do kayaking, bungee jumping, scooter tours, segways. There’s a lot more going on in the park. We also have horse-riding tours in this park.”

There is also plenty to see and do in the Knysna and Wilderness sections. At Knysna Ziplines, adrenaline junkies can enjoy a four- or six-zip tour about 200 meters above the Cranshook picnic area.

Lucas Jvara, one of the guides, explains:

“It’s all about adrenaline. People who do these types of activities are adrenaline junkies and the view from the zipline is very beautiful. As you can see, this is our office. You won’t get such an office anywhere.”

At Ebb and Flow Rest Camp in the Wilderness, visitors can take an hour and a half boat ride on the Tuw River with the Wilderness River Safari. Mike Raubenheimer says their boating is more for those who prefer to sit back and relax rather than canoeing.

“We cover twice the distance of a canoe in the same amount of time, and it’s relaxing. You can socialize, you can socialize and have a snack along the way.”

Park visitors have urged other South Africans to also treat themselves to a week of free access…

“I am happy to be here and I think South Africans should take advantage of SANParks week so they can experience and see the beauty of South Africa. This is our country, we need to explore it before we go anywhere else.’

“I think it’s wonderful, everything about it… the scenery, the fresh air, the people, the food. It’s beautiful.”

SANParks Weekend in all three Garden Route National Parks this Sunday.

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