Free entry to national park

THE Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Parks (GRNP) will throw open its gates from September 10 to 15.

This initiative, which forms part of the 13th annual SA National Parks Week, grants free access for day visitors holding a valid South African ID, and is focused especially on attracting people from the local communities surrounding the parks.

The GRNP, covering 155 000 hectares of land, is a mosaic of landscapes and seascapes. It includes indigenous forests, lakes, rivers, wetlands and the sea. It is furthermore home to birds and animals, as well as rare and endangered species.

Scientists have recorded over 465 plant species in the forests, over 22 species of amphibians, 24 reptile species, 84 species of water birds, 305 species of birds and about 43% of South Africa’s 290 mammal species in the GRNP.

According to the IUCN (2001) categories that were used to evaluate the threat status of the South African mammals (Friedmann & Daly 2004), the GRNP protects populations of 28 red data book species.

In the Threatened categories, 7.1% of the Park’s mammals are listed as Endangered (EN) and 14% as Vulnerable (VU).

When visiting the GRNP, look out for the Knysna Seahorse, blue duiker, Knysna Turaco or loerie, honey badger, Cape clawless otter, Knysna dwarf chameleon, slender redfin minnow, velvet worm, African penguin and African crowned eagle.