National Parks
Photo Credit: Katherine Forsythe

South Africa’s national parks are enjoying growth, which means more wildlife and plant species will be protected!


South Africa (02 April 2024) — From the Karoo to the Cape Agulhas, four of South Africa’s national parks have expanded, meaning more spaces for local nature enthusiasts to fall in love with and more animals and plant species can enjoy protection!

The increase in size for some of South Africa’s most loved national parks comes by way of the hard work the National Parks Trust of South Africa and the WWF South Africa have put in. This wholesome news for natural spaces comes part-and-parcel with an important declaration that, on 2 February, incorporates an additional 20 206 hectares of land for the four national parks—some 18 000 hectares of which were added through the Trust and WWF.

“These declarations are part of our work to bring some of South Africa’s most threatened habitats and species under the umbrella of SANParks as the custodian of our country’s very special natural heritage for the benefit of everyone,” said WWF CEO Dr Morné du Plessis.

“All of this work contributes towards South Africa’s commitment to the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) to protect 30% of the planet’s terrestrial and marine habitats by 2030.”

Namaqua National Park saw the largest of the expansions and has enjoyed growth by 18 391 hectares, while the other national parks to have been expanded are Mokala National Park by 844 hectares, Karoo National Park by 397 hectares and Agulhas National Park by 574 hectares.

How Do Parks Grow?

The National Parks Trust of South Africa (managed by the WWF) helps SANParks acquire land that the national parks will then call home. The goal is to meet conservation targets and create spaces where the unique fauna and flora of South Africa can flourish and inspire generations of nature lovers to come.

Why Does the Growth of These Parks Matter?

More threatened species of fauna and flora have a better chance of surviving and growing when there is more space for them to thrive under protection (like that of SANParks). In the recent expansion of the Namaqua National Park, an array of threatened veld types and rare endemic plant species like the kokerboom are now covered.

Additionally, the extra space encompasses a 6km section of a 41km stretch of the Buffels River, as well as the upper catchment of the Swartlintjies river system. Both of these play an important part in the ecological health of the park!

Mokala National Park offers grazing space for a rare range of rare antelope like sable and roan and the disease-free buffalo. And its expansion includes Northern Upper Karoo vegetation (of which less than 1% is protected formally).

There are also the Cape mountain zebras who, under the Karoo National Park have a safer home in nature. The breeding Verreaux’s eagles, almost 900 species of plants and five species of tortoises (the highest density in the whole world) too, can relish in this.

As for the Agulhas National Park, threatened habitats of the Cape Floristic Region on the surrounding Agulhas plain are encompassed.

All in all, the efforts of expansion are efforts for South Africa’s biodiversity health, and that of the planet—something all locals can root for.

Sources: Andrea Weiss—WFF SA 
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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