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KNP prepares to celebrate 110 years of successful conservation!

Plans are being finalized, food is being prepared, speeches are being written, cultural dancers are practicing and the final touches are being done in expectation of the Kruger National Park’s (KNP) three week long celebration of 110 years of successful conservation.

The organising team of the event, which is made up of representatives from the park’s Tourism and Marketing Department, Public Relations Department, Safety and Security Section, Conservation Management Department, People and Conservation Department, the office of the Managing Executive, the rangers and representatives from the various organisations and companies involved in the massive event, like My Acre of Africa and the SA Mint, are putting the final touches to what promises to be the highlight of the KNP’s year calendar.

The slogan for the event “Kruger National Park: 110 Conservation Celebration” has been coined in order to highlight the fact that the park is one of the world’s leaders in conservation policies and management principles and it is believed that this is something worth celebrating.

Most historians and researchers agree that the KNP had its rootes in the establishment of the Sabie Game Reserve in 1898. This was still in the days when the area 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 can 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.

This date is thus central to the celebration which both KNP management and the organisers feel that as many people as practically possible should be involved. These include staff members, other people who work in the park (eg concessions, government departments etc), the communities living around the park and the visitors to the park who have supported the park since the first tourists came to the park in the 1920s.

Thus the celebration is as follows

  • Three regional events in Phalaborwa (26th of May), Satara (28th of May) and Skukuza (30th of May), when these regions will celebrate with their staff, the various VIPs from those regions and the members of the local communities.
  • Then, on Saturday the 31st of May, the SA Mint has planned an interesting function in Skukuza where the 2008 set of Krugerrand gold coins will be officially launched to selected guests.
  • The main function of the event will be held on Saturday the 14th of June at the Skukuza Soccer Field. The guest of honour of this event will be the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the Honorable Marthinus van Schalkwyk who will deliver a keynote address.

The organising committee realises, of course, that not everyone who loves the park will be able to attend the event and so are working out the final details of a competition for the general public. Watch this space for details...

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