A celebration of natural and cultural heritage – Access Week 2019

by CapeNature

From 23 to 29 September 2019 day access to all CapeNature reserves will be free.  CapeNature has made this decision in order to celebrate the significance of our tourism and heritage. September is both Tourism Month and Heritage Month in South Africa.

Anton Bredell, the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Development Planning and Local Government says “Tourism makes and enormous contribution to our economy in the Western Cape and is a job creator of note. In addition we are very proud of the beauty of our natural heritage.  Whether you’re heading to the Garden Route, the Overberg, the Winelands, the Karoo or the West Coast, you’ll now be able once again, to visit a CapeNature reserve and experience our natural heritage, at no cost.

The Western Cape Province is home to a number of World Heritage Sites, so named because they meet the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) requirements for containing fauna and flora of outstanding universal value. The Cape Floral Region (one of six floral kingdoms in the world) has the highest concentration of plant species in the world. It contains an estimated 9 500 species of which 70% do not grow anywhere else in the world.

CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar says: “There are so many reasons to be proud of our rich natural beauty. One of our strategic goals is to ensure better access to our province’s natural and cultural heritage for all. Tourism Month being celebrated during September, is the perfect time to take advantage of the free access week offer. This allows all citizens of the Western Cape the opportunity to experience the rich history and beauty of the outdoors.

This year’s theme for World Tourism Day is ‘History and Tourism – a symbiotic relationship’, and with that in mind, CapeNature reminds visitors of the Gamkaberg Heritage Trail. Unveiled in 2018 in collaboration with the local Zoar community. The trail encompasses a stretch of protected land which is now open to the public for the first time.

Further afield in the heart of the Swartberg nature reserve is Gamkaskloof valley, or “Die Hel,” – a small settlement was established there in 1830 by farmers of European origin. Entirely self-sufficient, the community of Gamkaskloof lived in isolation for over a century. The first road into Die Hel, as it is known, was only built in 1962. A variety of walking and hiking trails are available in this reserve, including the Ou Tol, Platberg and De Hoek trails.

During Access Week free day access will only apply at the reserve gate and will not be granted when booking through our call centre. The waiver of the access fee pertains to general access (the conservation fee), day hiking and all other day activities, including mountain biking (with your own bike) or picnicking. Normal conservation fees apply for accommodation and camping bookings, while fees are not discounted on concessions that are run by outside suppliers on our reserves.

The following terms and conditions apply:

•  The conservation fee will be waived for visitors to any CapeNature reserve that is open to the public between 23 and 29 September 2019.
•  Free day access will only apply at the reserve gate. No free access fee will apply when booking through the call centre/online bookings and excludes accommodation bookings (normal rates and access fees apply with any
accommodation booking).
•  Free access fee will pertain to general access (conservation fee) and hiking, mountain biking and picnicking. The waiver will NOT apply to the Whale Trail or concessions (including canopy tours, bouldering, horse riding etc.)
•  Zero (R0) rated permits need to be given to everyone accessing the reserve during this time, as per usual standard procedure to ensure that all access numbers and activity numbers are recorded.
•  Access to Protected Areas during the CapeNature Access Week will be conducted during regular reserve hours and applies to entries at CapeNature reserve gates.

 

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