Some of Cape Town’s top tourist attractions will soon introduce differential conservation fees. This means South Africans and foreign tourists will pay different prices in order to enter key attractions that fall under South African National Parks (SAN Parks) management.
According to SAN Parks, this will enable them to lower prices for local visitors, many of whom are unable to afford entrance fees to natural attractions like Cape Point and Boulders Beach. Of course, this also means that prices for international visitors will be going up, in some cases markedly – international visitors without a South African identification card will pay double for these attractions.
For example, from November 2018, entrance into Cape Point National Park will drop from R145 for an adult to R75 for a South African adult. Foreign visitors will have to pay R300 in order to enter.
Boulders Beach, popular for its resident penguin colony, will jump from R75 to R150 for international visitors, and drop to just R38 for South Africans.
The differential pricing structure is currently in place at many of South Africa’s National Parks elsewhere in the country, but until now visitors and locals paid the same in the Cape. As part of a revised strategy, anyone wishing to visit these popular parks in Cape Town will also need to book online in order to avoid delays at the gate.
At the same time, Table Mountain Cableway, a private concession, has limited its special sunset offer to South African residents only. Previously open to all visitors wanting to use the cableway after 6 pm, the half price sunset special is now only available on presentation of a valid South African identity card.
According to SAN Parks, the move is aimed at making top attractions in the Cape more affordable to locals, without undercutting their profitability.
Though some foreigners may be annoyed because of the increase in rates, this is not unique to South Africa. Many developing countries have implemented similar policies, especially where the wage gap between locals and foreigners continues to grow.
In 2015, Thailand raised entrance prices for foreign visitors to most of its national parks; access to Cambodia’s major tourist attraction — Angkor Archaeological Park — costs significantly more for outsiders; and many destinations in the Caribbean have sliding scales depending on country of origin.
If pricing is an issue for you, best you plan your trip to Cape Town before November 1, 2018, when the new pricing model is set to come into effect.