Following a year long challenge with the issuing of Wild Cards to loyal nature lovers, South African National Parks (SANParks) has come clean and offered an apology to hundreds of the Wild Card members. The Wild Card is a programme that provides nature lovers with unlimited access to some of Southern Africa's premier conservation areas.
SANParks managing executive: tourism and marketing Glenn Phillips said that SANParks would like to apologise for the frustration members experienced. "We would like to thank them for their forbearance and continuing goodwill in the Wild Card programme, particularly during the transition into the new system."
He said over the past year, through comprehensive research and customer feedback, it has become evident that a move to a more advanced technology will enable SANParks and its partners to provide relevant benefits to the loyal card members.According to Phillips, since taking over the management of the Wild Card a year ago, SANParks has taken several steps to overhaul the programme and introduce the latest technology.
"The new-look card makes use of a smart-card chip for easier access and improved gate control. The new cards are also personalisedto prevent fraud."
"Because the original member database was incomplete and corrupt, it has had to be completely updated, which caused the frustrating delays in the distribution of cards."
The new card system has already gone through a pilot testing in Augrabies and Mokala National Parks in Northern Cape. "The integration between the systems should be completed by the end of the year. The focus will now fall on getting all the partner parks live so visitors can enjoy seamless access to all properties," Phillips said
SANParks also announced that there will be no increase in Wild Card prices for the coming year – a boon for cash-strapped consumers ahead of the holiday season. With unlimited entry for a year to more than 80 parks and reserves around Southern Africa, the Wild Card remains the most affordable way to enjoy the outdoors.
Partners in Wild Card Programme are the Big Game Parks of Swaziland, CapeNature, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and Msinsi Resorts and Reserves.