The summer break is barely behind us and we are already counting the days to our next wild escape! To help you plan your holidays for 2019, we’ve got the low down on amazing specials and discounts, plus tips on making the most of the public holidays.

For many of us, it’s time in the great outdoors that keeps us sane and smiling the rest of the year. Don’t you wish that in 2019 you could spend even more time in our wild places? Well, if you take advantage of senior citizen discounts, seasonal specials and public holidays, you can make that happen.

To help you plan your wild escapes for the year ahead, we’ve done the research on when to put in leave for the maximum time off. Plus we’ve got a round-up of the discounts and special offers in Wild parks and reserves. And remember, your Wild Card gives you 365 days’ free access to our parks, so pop in for a wild fix whenever you can.

Make use of your Wild Card and go mountain biking in Mlilwane. Picture by Big Game Parks.

Max out on public holidays

We all wish our weekends could last longer. Now, with some careful planning, they actually can! Take full advantage of these upcoming seven public holidays and get more days off for less:

21 March 2019: Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is celebrated on Thursday, 21 March this year. Take leave on Friday, 22 March and you’ll have a 4-day weekend.

19-22 April: Easter weekend

This religious holiday gives you a 4-day weekend as Good Friday is celebrated on Friday, 19 April and Monday, 22 April is Family Day. Add a day or two either side and you could have a full week off.

27 April 2019: Freedom Day and 1 May 2019: Workers’ Day

This year Freedom Day doesn’t fall during the working week, but Worker’s Day is on Wednesday, 1 May. Take leave on Monday, 29 April and Tuesday, 30 April to enjoy a 5-day weekend.

16 June 2019: Youth Day

As Youth Day falls on a Sunday in 2019, we will have a public holiday on Monday, 17 June. Let’s hear it for the 3-day weekend.

9 August 2019: National Women’s Day

National Women’s Day is on Friday, 9 August, resulting in another lovely 3-day weekend.

24 September 2019: Heritage Day

Heritage Day is celebrated on Tuesday, 24 September. Take leave on Monday, 23 September and enjoy a wild braai or two during your 4-day weekend.

16 December 2019: Day of Reconciliation

Day of Reconciliation is celebrated on Monday, 16 December 2019. As we near the end of the year, this 3-day weekend is especially welcome.

Go for a swim in the rock pools in Garden Route National Park. Picture by Romi Boom.

Discounts for senior citizens

Are you a South African citizen with pensioner status? With up to 40% off on rates at various national parks and nature reserves, pensioners can travel all over the country and indulge in all the thrilling wildlife sightings South Africa has to offer.

SANParks

South African pensioners can save big on camping, accommodation and exciting game drives at national parks. The discounts apply during these key periods:

15 January – 14 March 2019

5 May – 13 June 2019

20 August – 19 September 2019

10 October – 28 November 2019

Camping: Get 40% discount on all camping during the discount period.

Accommodation: Save between 20% and 40% on a range of accommodation – Fridays, Saturdays and long weekends excluded.

Game drives: Enjoy 40% off on game drives during the above dates at Kruger National Park, Mapungubwe National Park, Marakele National Park and Mokala National Park. Fridays, Saturdays and long weekends are excluded.

Contact:  SANParks Central Reservations on +27 (0)12 428 9111. It is important to note that the senior citizen discount does not apply to online bookings.

Download the SANParks’ senior citizen discount on all accommodation, camping and game drive rates for 2019.

Take advantage of the senior citizen discount to visit Skukuza in the Kruger National Park.

CapeNature

Planning to break away to the Western Cape? Senior citizens will save 30% on all CapeNature accommodation in 2019. Note that the Easter school holidays (including Easter weekend) and the December/January holidays times are excluded from this offer. Tariffs are subject to change without notice.

Contact: Senior citizen discounts are only available through CapeNature’s Central Reservations on +27 (0)21 483 0190. Email [email protected] for more information.

Travel to see the mountain fynbos in CapeNature’s reserves and pay 30% less as a senior citizen. Picture courtesy of CapeNature.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

South African citizens that are 60 years and older will receive a 20% discount on accommodation prices during the low season. These discounts exclude wilderness trails, overnight hiking, bush camps and bush lodes.

Low season dates

9 January – 19 March 2019

9 April – 13 June 2019 (excluding 19-22 April 2019)

16 July – 19 September 2019 (excluding 8-11 August 2019)

7 October – 4 December 2019

Contact: Ezemvelo Central Reservation Office at +27 (0)33 845 1000 for more information.

Seasonal specials

The festive season might be over, but that doesn’t mean the summer fun can’t last. These seasonal specials are the perfect excuse to plan your next holiday – all at a discounted price!

SANParks long-stay camping special (28+ nights)

Valid until 14 March 2019. Stay must include all of February 2019.

Get 50% off on camping at Augrabies, Bontebok, Camdeboo, Garden Route, Golden Gate, Karoo, Kruger, Mapungubwe and Marakele national parks.

For more information and to book, visit the SANParks long-stay camping page.

Get 50% off you go camping for more than 28 days at above SANParks national parks. Picture from iStock.

Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife summer special

Valid until 15 March 2019.

Get great discounts of up to 20% on hutted accommodation and up to 30% on camping getaways.

Offer excludes Hluhluwe Park Resorts.

Contact: Ezemvelo Central Reservation Office at +27 (0)33 845 1000 or email [email protected] to make a reservation.

Big Game Parks of Swaziland safari special

Valid until 31 March 2019 and 1 May – 30 June 2019

Save up to 20% on stays at Mkhaya Game Reserve and Reilly’s Rock Hilltop Lodge. Get up to 30% off at Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary and Hlane Royal National Park.

Guests have to book a minimum of two nights to qualify for these special offers.

Contact: Central Reservation Office at +268 2528 3943/4 for more information. Make a booking online or email [email protected]

Don’t miss the special offers on accommodation in the beautiful grasslands of Swaziland. Picture courtesy of Big Game Parks.

Msinsi Resorts and Game Reserves

Msinsi has a host of special offers running until 30 April, from getting three nights for the price of two at Albert Falls to a romantic weekend in a safari tent at Nagle Dam for R1,910. And until 30 June, you can save on boat cruises at Inanda Dam.

Whether you decide to camp out under the stars at Albert Falls, take the family for some R&R at Bon Accorde or go paddling on Nagle Dam, you won’t want to miss these special offers:

View the details of Msinsi discount offers.

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