Home Lifestyle Despite being Covid-19 hotspot, Garden Route National Park assures visitors protocols are...

Despite being Covid-19 hotspot, Garden Route National Park assures visitors protocols are in place

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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 Tsitsikamma Section of the Garden Route National Park is situated at the heart of the picturesque tourist region known as the Garden Route. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

LAST week President Cyril Ramaphosa spared the Garden Route from additional lockdown restrictions after it was identified as a Covid-19 hotspot.

The area is popular with tourists this time of the year, and although it might not see such a massive influx like in previous years, it hasn’t stopped the Garden Route National Park (GRNP) from applying stringent safety measures during the summer holidays.

GRNP consists of three sections – Tsitsikamma, Knysna and Wilderness.

“Park Rangers will be on high alert during this period keeping visible patrols in all areas to ensure compliance of rules, protection of nature and visitors alike,” said Vuyiswa Thabethe, General Manager for the Garden Route region of South African National Parks (SANParks).

Thabethe added that to help curb the spread of coronavirus and the safety of both staff and visitors, the region will be deploying a rotation system to all non-essential staff based in the regional office in Knysna.

According to Thabethe, a quota system will also be introduced in the Wilderness Section as from December 16, 2020.

“This has necessitated a call for stringent precautionary measures to curb the increase in infections, we are therefore introducing staff rotations and immediate introduction of a quota system in the Garden Route National Park to manage visitor numbers,” she added.

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 Lagoon area, closer to the Wilderness beach, will be closed completely from December 15, 2020 to January 15, 2021.

“Although we understand that these are favourite spots for holiday-makers and local people, SANParks remains committed to responsible tourism,” said Thabethe.

Other controlled access areas 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.