The Garden Route National Park (GRNP) consisting of three sections – Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness, will apply stringent safety measures during this summer holidays.
This according to the Vuyiswa Thabethe, General Manager for the Garden Route region of South African National Parks, who said to help curb the spread of the Corona Virus and the safety of both staff and visitors the region will be deploying a rotation system to all non-essential staff based in the Regional office in Knysna. “Park Rangers will be on high alert during this period keeping visible patrols in all areas to ensure compliance of rules, protection of nature and visitors alike,” says Thabethe.
She said the spike in the number of infections in the Garden Routes is a huge concern. “This has necessitated a call for stringent precautionary measures to curb the increase in infections, we are therefore introducing staff rotations and immediate introduction of a quota system in the Garden Route National Park to manage visitor numbers.”
According to Thabethe, a quota system will be introduced in the Wilderness Section as from the 16th of December 2020. Popular areas like Island Lake, Tarentaal and the Half-collard Kingfisher Trail will have a quota system, restricting the number of people entering the facilities.
The Lagoon area, closer to the Wilderness beach, will be closed completely from the 15th of December 2020 to the 15th of January 2021. Although we understand that these are favourite spots for holiday-makers and local people, SANParks remains committed to responsible tourism.
Other controlled access areas include those leading to Big trees like Krisjian se Nek, Dalene Matthee memorial and popular picnic spots. Visitors will be served on a first-come, first-serve basis.
SANParks will ensure the public is well informed by sending continuous and up-to-date information on their social media pages when recreational areas have reached the set quota and can no longer allow entry to additional visitors. Vessel and boat permits, activity permits and other recreational permits are available at Park reception areas on Thesen Island office (Knysna), Ebb & Flow Rest Camp in Wilderness.
Fishing and bait collection permits can only be purchased from the South African Post Office (SAPO) during official operating hours. Annual or Seasonal Vessel Permits can be bought from the Thesen Island office (Knysna) Monday to Friday 8 am – 4 pm and Saturdays 8 am – 1 pm, only. Emergencies on the Knysna Estuary can be reported to the Knysna Ranger on Duty at 082 269 5007. Cycling permits (annual, monthly, family and daily permits) can be obtained from the Garden of Eden, Harkerville Office or Diepwalle Office. Visitors are reminded that they must be in possession of a valid permit to avoid a fine being issued.
“We encourage visitors to observe social distancing at all times, wear their masks, sanitize hands at all our entrances and be willing to have their temperature checked”, concluded Thabethe.