South Africa is home to an abundance of natural riches, with the Cape’s very own southwestern corner of the country boasting its fair share of awe-inspiring parks and reserves.
While Table Mountain National Park may be the one the Cape is most famous for, adventurous hearts also long to explore the windswept coastlines of Agulhas, the vast expanse of the Karoo, and the lush forests of the Garden Route.
And we haven’t even mentioned the wealth of wondrous wilderness areas that fall under the jurisdiction of CapeNature, a governmental organisation that cares for around 25 nature reserves, including the sacred and silent Cederberg Wilderness Area, the majestic and mountainous Jonkershoek region, the whale-watching paradise of Walker Bay Nature Reserve, and the ancient rock formations of Robberg Nature Reserve.
It’s a vast world waiting to be explored, and the good news is that the SANParks Wild Card grants you free access for an entire year to all parks and reserves throughout the country.
How does the Wild Card work?
If you’re in possession of a valid Wild Card, you have free access to the reserves and national parks that fall within the cluster pertaining to your card.
Certain adventure tour providers will also grant you discount prices if you possess a Wild Card, and you will pay reduced rates on certain toll roads.
For example, Cape Canopy Tour Zipline in Elgin offers Wild Card owners a reduced rate; as does the Chapman’s Peak Drive toll gate (though you have to register as a frequent user to access this discount).
Wild Card: Good to know
- Wild Cards are valid for 365 days from date of purchase.
- Once the 365 days are up, you will have the option to renew your Wild Card membership. Renewals will be registered on the card already in your possession; you won’t need to apply for a new card.
- You can purchase a Wild Card for an individual, a couple, or a family of two adults and up to five children under 18.
- Wild Cards do not cover activities offered by parks, such as cycling. You will still need to acquire a permit for those.
How do I get a Wild Card?
You can apply online. Once your application has been processed, the card will be mailed to you from the central office in Pretoria.
Please note Wild Cards are no longer issued at parks or reserves. You can purchase a Wild Card at select gates, but you will still need to fill in the application form online, and the card will still need to be mailed to you.
Wild Card prices (rates valid until 31 October 2019)
|All Parks (80+ parks and reserves throughout the country, including SANParks and CapeNature)||R640||R1 055||R1 290|
|SANParks (includes 21 national parks throughout South Africa)||R610||R995||R1 195|
|CapeNature (includes 24 CapeNature reserves in Western Cape)||R555||R905||R1 085|
|All Parks (rates for non-SA citizens)||R2 900||R4 530||R5 420|
What is a Green Card?
My Green Card provides an alternative, for those who only seek access to parks that fall under the jurisdiction of the Table Mountain National Park. However, it is only available to residents of Cape Town.
For R157, My Green Card permit holders have 12 free entries into the pay points of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) within a one-year period. If you are a frequent visitor to Cape Point, Boulders, Oudekraal, Silvermine, and the braai and picnic areas at Tokai, Newlands and Perdekloof, this card is worth purchasing.
To apply for My Green Card, visit a TMNP office and bring your ID, two ID photos and proof of residence (no older than three months). An application form is available online, but it needs to be handed in physically at a TMNP office.
Green Card: Good to know
- Anyone who enters on a Green Card will also need to show proof of South African ID. The card will then be clipped to show that one of the 12 free entries has been used.
- As with the Wild Card, My Green Card does not cover activities available in Table Mountain National Park. A My Activity Permit will still need to be acquired for dog-walking, cycling, horse riding or fishing. For more information, contact the Table Mountain National Park office at 021 712 0527
Time to answer the call of the wild!