Official SA information on COVID-19:
Destination Garden Route COVID-19 official info

SANParks Garden Route to introduce stricter measures, remains open

Destination Garden Route - SANParks remains open, covid-19

December 15, 2020 – South African National Parks (SANParks) has introduced stricter measures to curb infections for three of its sections including Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness effective from the 16th December 2020.

Vuyiswa Thabethe, General Manager for the Garden Route National Park says in an effort to curb the spread of the Corona virus and the safety of both staff and visitors, a rotation system to all non-essential staff based in the Regional office in Knysna is effective. A quota system will be implemented as from the 16th December 2020 at all entrance gates in the GRNP in Tsitsikamma, Wilderness and Knysna.

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 Wilderness Lagoon area (Touw River Mouth), closer to the Wilderness beach, will be closed completely from the 15th of December 2020 to the 15th of January 2021. Thabethe says ‘although we understand that these are favourite spots for holiday-makers and local people, SANParks remains committed to responsible tourism. Other controlled access areas in Wilderness 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.’

The Knysna estuary will remain open for water-based commercial tourism activities, recreational fishing and bait collecting (in allowed zones) as well as recreational water activities. Estuary users are requested to comply with the required Covid-19 prevention protocols, including social distancing, regular sanitising and use of masks. All permitted commercial operators on the Knysna estuary have signed COVID-19 declaration protocols to confirm they comply with all the necessary COVID-19 prevention protocols and hence provide a safe and enjoyable experience for guests.

Estuary users are requested to comply with the required vessel capacity, both in terms of safety regulations and in terms of COVID-19 prevention regulations to ensure recreational use of the estuary does not become one of the sources of infections.

All the Park’s hiking and cycling trails remain open and will implement a quota system.

Picnic areas that do not have an entrance gate will remain closed.

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 and de Vasselot camp in Natures Valley.

Visitors are reminded to always be in possession of a valid permit to avoid a fine being issued.

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. Cycling permits (annual, monthly, family and daily permits) can be obtained from the Garden of Eden, Harkerville Office or Diepwalle Office.

“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.

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