GARDEN ROUTE NEWS & VIDEO - The SA National Parks Week in the Garden Route kicked off on a high note on Monday 16 November with a function at the Ebb&Flow north camp in the Garden Route National Park, Wilderness.
It was attended by youth representatives from George, Wilderness and Sedgefield, as well as other stakeholders.
All South African citizens can gain free entry to one of the national parks during this week, up to Friday 20 November. All they have to do is show their ID document. According to the organisers of the event, this year the SA National Parks Week campaign aims to reconnect society amidst the pandemic that caused this annual event to be postponed from September to November.
At the event SANParks showcased its role as a conservation organisation, which includes conserving nature in national parks and imparting skills to young people.
Dr Sandra Taljaard, park manager of Wilderness, delivered the welcoming address and said the completely unexpected events of 2020 gave us an opportunity to reflect and see how we can better our lives.
Photo gallery: SA National Parks Week in the Garden Route
Phumla Nyathikazi, socio-economic transformation officer for Wilderness, spoke about reconnecting society. She stressed the importance of the community. She said at this time people are tired, but we look to the youth, the ones with energy, to stay upbeat and multiply their talents. "Let's find time to make meaningful change. The opportunities will not find you in a negative space," she said.
Watch a video below:
Sharon Hendriks, CEO of Ithemba Lobomi, had some advice for the youth for dealing with the present situation. She said Covid-19 is the new normal, but it won't last forever. She asked the youth to take care of themselves and embrace the change. There is hope. Covid-19 is just another disease.
"We are going to overcome it," she said. She encouraged people to be active, maybe by helping out at an NGO.
Joan Shaw, CEO of George Tourism, said the impact of the pandemic on tourism in the region was devastating, but this is an opportunity to maximise on products that are safe and that adhere to lockdown regulations.
She stressed the importance of local people upholding the Covid-19 regulations, saying that, when people from other places visit the area, they must know the local people care about their safety.
Watch a video below:
Vuyiswa Thabethe, general manager of the Garden Route National Park (GRNP), said this week is an opportunity for South African citizens to enjoy the parks. The parks belongs to the community and walking in a nature park is therapeutic.
She said it can't be denied that the pandemic had a devastating impact on people’s lives and tourism, but the positive side is that it gave people more time to be with their families and appreciate the small things in life. Another positive is that we will be doing things in a new way, for example not travelling to attend meetings but using technology to hold them virtually.
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