Multiple entrance fees to South Africa’s national parks can be a tad expensive for international tourists, but advising them to buy a Wild Card prior to arrival will lessen the blow, writes Des Langkilde.
The daily conservation fee for International visitors to the Kruger National Park, for example is R204.00 per adult and R102.00 per child. The annual international fee for a Wild Card is R2,785.00 on an ‘all family cluster’ basis, which entitles the card holder, his or her partner and up to five nominated children to visit all 80 national parks.
Let’s assume that your tour group (a family of 2 adults with 3 children under 18 years) are staying outside the Kruger park, the cost of the Wild Card would be recouped in just four visits. Of course as a SADC tour leader, your Wild Card membership would only cost R360.00 as an individual or R745 for a family membership.
Your tour group family’s ‘international all parks cluster’ Wild Card would provide them with access to not only SANParks, but also to Msinsi, eZemveloKZN Wildlife, Cape Nature and Swazi Clusters Parks, which makes sense as tourists usually visit other parks in the network during their stay in South Africa.
“It’s advisable for International tourists to purchase their Wild Card online at least four weeks prior to visiting South Africa. That way the card can be produced and shipped to them prior to their arrival in the country. Many tourists purchase membership after arrival and then expect the card to be immediately available” says Daniel Cornelissen, CRM and Loyalty Manager for Wild Card at SANParks.
Tour Operator Commission
So, if Tour Operators and Travel Agents are going to advise their clients to purchase a Wild Card, shouldn’t they earn a commission on the transaction, I asked Glenn Phillips, SANParks Managing Executive for Tourism and Marketing. “We appreciate that the travel trade is an integral part of our Wild Card distribution network and we are looking into this aspect, but obviously it is a complex arrangement and we need to enable our systems to accommodate this” says Phillips.
Wild Card membership is valid from the date of purchase for 365 days and is available for an individual, couple or family and can be purchased online at www.sanparks.org/wild_new/tourism/purchase.php
Wild Card Q&A
Is an Individual Card only for Adults?
Yes, this card can only be purchased for an Adult (anyone over the age of 18 years), the member must have a valid ID number for South Africans and Passport Number for SADC or International members.
Do I have to be married to get a Couple Card?
No, the Couple Card is for any two people – there doesn’t have to be any legal connection between them. The Couple Card can be used for two friends, siblings or romantic partners. BOTH parties must be listed with ID or passport numbers. This means the card is specific to the two people listed on it.
How many people may be added to a Family Card
The Family card allows for a maximum of seven people added to the card. This could thus be a maximum of two adults and five children or one adult and six children.
If I buy a Wild Card, could I bring a friend along on that card?
A Wild Card gives access to the people listed on that card. If you want access for two people, you have to buy a Couple Wild Card and enter your friend’s details on your card. The second person on the Couple Card is listed for the duration of the year – you cannot change the details to a new friend for every trip.
Can SADC residents purchase Local Cluster Cards?
Only citizens of SADC countries qualify for the same benefits as South African residents. As a SADC citizen, you must provide valid proof of your citizenship when you apply for a Local Cluster Card. You will also be required to show this proof whenever you wish to access one of the partner parks.
My partner is a foreigner with an international passport (no residency). Can we get the Couple Card for locals?
If your partner has no SA residence/work permit status, the only option would be for you to purchase a South African Individual Wild Card for yourself, an International Wild Card for your partner or an International Couple Card.
For more information visit www.sanparks.org/wild_new