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South African Parks and Reserves Face a Renewed Struggle for Survival

Game reserves and national parks remain open under alert Level 3, albeit with limited services and scars from financial losses brought on by the lockdown. The tourism industry continues to take a knock from ongoing restrictions, with game parks, a massive drawcard for international travellers, doing their best to survive on revenues from local holidaymakers.

Covid-19 has continued to have a devastating effect on the local tourism industry. For the country’s beloved game reserves and national parks, the impact varies: while some are surviving, others are barely hanging on as financial losses take their toll.

The shift to alert Level 3 on 29 December 2020 saw the closure of beaches, mass cancellations and financial losses for small accommodation providers in coastal towns. But game reserves have been allowed to remain open to the public if they have existing access control measures and entry limitations in place.

South African National Parks (SANParks), which manages 19 national parks across seven provinces, said it has had to cut back on some of its service offerings to comply with restrictions.

“Accommodation facilities continued to operate as they are not affected in Level 3. However, mostly beaches, picnic sites as well as open access areas…

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