We love to visit South Africa’s national parks. So, we wanted to buy a Wildcard, giving us access to all parks for a year. For a couple, this costs 770 Rand in early 2016 – if you’re South African, that is. As a foreigner, it will set you back 3'005 Rand, i.e. about 4 times as much. But let’s accept this bold commercial decision by Sanparks.
The easiest way to buy the Wildcard is online. If you’re South African, that is. As a foreigner, it is unfortunately perfectly impossible to buy the card online - the Sanparks website will insist on a South African ID number. This does not seem to be a deliberate decision, but rather a programming bug.
Thus, we wanted to buy our card from one the points of sale. After some research, the internet provided valuable information on where it is not possible to buy the card. Unfortunately, it remains highly confidential where a Wildcard can actually be bought in or around Cape Town.
It’s only after buying tickets for the Boulders Beach section of Table Mountain National Park, that a helpful person informed us about the possibility to buy the card at the Buffelsfontein visitors center. To get there, one obviously has to buy tickets for the Cape Point section of the park.
And then… success! Nadia, a friendly and knowledgeable Sanparks employee at the visitors center finally managed to take our money and sell us the Wildcard. By then, we had already forked out 380 Rand for entry tickets – and of course, Sanparks refuses to make any refunds.
Whilst the Sanparks website suffers from poor programming, this obviously works in Sanparks favor. It’s thus difficult to know if the frustrating experience is due to bad intentions or sheer incompetence…