27 May 2008
One of South Africa’s most famous tourist attractions, the Kruger National Park, is celebrating 110 years of existence by holding several events over the next three weeks within its borders to highlight the park’s status as a world leader in conservation policies and management principles.
“We believe that this is definitely something worth celebrating and would ask everyone in this country and everyone that has ever been involved in the park to celebrate this achievement with us,” said Kruger National Park communications head William Mabasa in a statement last week.
Most historians and researchers agree that the Kruger National Park has its roots in the establishment of the Sabie Game Reserve in 1898, when the area still fell under the administration of the Transvaal Boer Republic.
Historians thus recognise the birth year of Kruger as 1898, but in spite of numerous attempts at finding an exact date amongst the old Transvaal Volksraad (parliament) records, none could be found, so it was decided to use the date that the National Parks Act was passed in 1926 – the 31st of May – as the actual birth date.
Park management believe the celebration will bring together staff members, other people who work in the park, including those working on concessions or for government departments, the communities living around the park and the visitors who have supported the park since the first tourists came to the park in the 1920s.
Celebrating with the community
Regional events in Phalaborwa on 26 May, Satara on 28 May and Skukuza on 30 May, with will give communities living in close proximity to these areas to celebrate together with park staff and other dignitaries.
Then, on Saturday, 31 May, the South African Mint will officially launch the 2008 set of Krugerrand gold coins. Due to the nature of the event, it will only be open to invited guests, though the SA Mint will be giving out chocolate coins and brochures describing the new gold coins to as many people as possible who enter the park on the day.
The main function of the event will be held on Saturday, 14 of June at the Skukuza Soccer Field, where Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk will deliver a keynote address.
On the same day, My Acre of Africa, a unique initiative to raise funds for the preservation of southern Africa’s wildlife and wild lands, will be relaunched.
“We have engaged with various radio stations and local newspapers and I would encourage everyone to listen to those radio stations and read those newspapers as more details will be made available through them, including details of the exciting competitions we have planned,” said Mabasa.
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