Differential fee system for SANParks

Differential conservation fees will take effect in the SANParks Cape region from November next year.

This was announced at a press conference on Wednesday November 1 at the Strand Tower Hotel in the City Bowl.

There will be differential fees at Cape Point as well as Boulders Beach, two of the most popular tourist destinations in the province. At the press conference, officials also spoke about plans to keep visitors safe on Cape Town sites this coming festive season.

SANParks region in the Cape stretches from Signal Hill in the City Bowl all the way down to Cape Point. SANParks general manager for strategic tourism services, Joep Stevens, said that as of November 1 next year, the standard conservation fees for Cape Point will be R300 for international adults, R150 for SADC nationals and R75 for South Africans, while for Boulders this will amount to R150, R75 and R38 respectively.

Mr Stevens said: “The reason that differential conservation fees were not implemented in 2003 was due to the complexity of processing visitors at the two key access points, namely Cape Point and Boulders.

“The process required visitors to provide proof of residence and/or nationality and given these are high volume access points, it would delay access. “A new system is being sourced for these access points with the emphasis on reducing processing at the gates.

Guests and operators will be able to capture permit details online before arrival and certain validation would take place for payment to be made before arrival.”

Mr Stevens said the differential system was implemented to align TMNP fees with the rest of SANParks where differential fees had been implemented in 2003.

Norman Johnson, the general manager of SANParks Cape Region, said Table Mountain National Park was one of the most visited national parks in the country.

He added that he expected the number of visitors to the parks to increase this festive season. “It’s a positive thing in terms of income generation, but it might be negative in terms of environmental management.”

He said dog walking fees and cycling tariffs went toward conservation efforts.

He said they would engage with the tourism industry to discuss the impact of the new tariffs. “We do understand the tourism business.

“We always learn from each other and we try to see how we can accommodate and make life easier.”

Mr Johnson said all fees increase in November.

“This is a special initiative that we are making known to the industry. All the other tariff-related costs will just increase by its normal increases.”

His message to people using the parks during the festive season was to be safe. “One of the key things is to never walk alone on the mountain. The bigger the group, the safer you are.”

He also advised visitors to not carry valuables with them.