In a welcome and much-anticipated announcement this week that will have hundreds of people clearing the dust from their camping gear and the cobwebs from their suitcases, SANParks announced that the Kruger National Park will open some of its rest camps for accommodation from Friday 14th August.
In line with the South African government announcement, intra-provincial travel is now open and so lucky residents of Mpumalanga and Limpopo (who have also enjoyed day visits since June) will now be able to stay overnight in camps within the Kruger National Park that are within their province of residence.
Although guests will be able to traverse the entirety of the park when driving around; where guests will be allowed to stay overnight will be strictly limited to the province that they live in.
This is not a SANParks rule but is in accordance with the regulations stipulated by the government during Level 3 of the lockdown imposed due to the presence of Coronavirus in South Africa.
To help when booking stays, SANParks has provided the following list to assist people when booking overnight accommodation within their home province.
The following rest camps and accommodation facilities are in the Limpopo Province: Pafuri Border Camp, Punda Maria Rest Camp, Sirheni Bushveld Camp, Shingwedzi Rest Camp, Bateleur Bushveld Camp, Mopani Rest Camp, Shipandani Overnight Hide, Tsendze Rustic Camp, Boulders Bush Lodge, Shimuwini Bushveld Camp, Sable Overnight Hide, Letaba Rest Camp and Olifants Rest Camp.
(Please note that Punda Maria, Shingwedzi and Letaba will reopen few days later on 20 August 2020).
The following rest camps and accommodation facilities are in the Mpumalanga province: Balule Camp, Roodewal Bush Lodge, Satara Rest Camp, Tamboti Tent Camp, Talamati Bushveld Camp, Skukuza Rest Camp, Pretoriuskop Rest Camp, Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp, Malelane Camp, Biyamiti Bushveld Camp, Lower Sabie Rest Camp and Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp.
The reopening will be phased in gradually so there will be limited availability and less camps to begin with and some camps will only re-open a few days later on the 17th and 20th August respectively.
Guests are advised to check the SANParks website for opening dates and availability of camps. Visitors are still required to follow social distancing & mask-wearing protocols in public and the 70% vehicle capacity rule will still apply.
Despite the fact that only 2 provinces will enjoy the relaxation of restrictions; nobody could argue that it’s an encouraging sign that restrictions are starting to ease and data is trending in the right direction for the tourism industry to start getting back on track.
Visitors from across South Africa and the world are waiting and watching wistfully, eager for a long-overdue return to the iconic Kruger. The good news is, the time will eventually come when everyone can enjoy the park again. Previously, tears were usually reserved for departure from the Kruger, but after such a long absence for many, no doubt there will be more than a fair share on arrival this time.