South African National Parks (SANParks) will again this year host the Annual Golden Gate Classic Concert from December 6 – 8, the third instalment of this event.

SANParks acting head of communications Reynold Thakhuli notes that the event is aimed at increasing the profile of the Park hosting the event and to attract non-traditional markets, such as those who otherwise would not have visited the park if it were not for this pull initiative.

SANParks will aim to accommodate 500 people for the show and will allow for group bookings, but acknowledges that the number may be limited due to the sensitivity of the natural area/park.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park is one of six of the parks in South African National Parks portfolio that has been targeted for accelerated visitor number growth, Thakhuli explains. The key driver for growth in these identified parks is the elevation of market profile among both domestic and international visitors through leveraging innovative marketing initiatives, as well as the introduction of market-relevant tourism products.

The Golden Gate Classics has shown significant growth since its inception in 2017. In 2018 ticket sales more than doubled to just over a quarter of million, or R250 000 ($16 700).

Various packages for the show are on offer and range from show only packages to weekend packages combining, show and accommodation. Guests can also partake in activities such as abseiling, canoeing, horse riding, nature walks, swimming, hiking, visiting the Glen Reenen Dinosaur Interpretation Centre, and the Basotho Cultural Village tour.

“The event amassed great interest from travellers and music lovers. In 2018 the Golden Gate Classics trended second against an international event, the Global Citizen Concert, proving the massive interest it generated. We believe that 2019 will be no different. Audiences love the fact that the event combines entertainment and travel, and who would not be interested by that?” 

 “The staging of prominent musical, spiritual and sporting events is central to the strategy of attracting new markets to the Golden Gate National Park; as such, the Golden Classics is an annual event conceptualised to become an iconic annual event not only for Golden Gate but for South African National Parks.”

The artists for this year’s concert, which will be hosted at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park have been announced, with the Bokani Dyer trio comprising of Bokani Dyer (piano), Romy Brauteseth (bass) and Sphelelo Mazibuko (drums) and pianist and vocalist Thandi Ntuli that will kick off this year's event on December 06.

The evening of December 7 will showcase the legacy and versatility of Sibongile Khumalo who will join a 40-piece orchestra conducted by maestro Kutlwano Masote. In addition to this classical and operatic line-up, will be soprano Zandile Mzazi and members of the T.U.T Vocal Art Chorus.

The Golden Gate Classics follow Baroque in the Bush, a weekend of yearly Baroque Concerts at Shingwedzi the Kruger National Park for the last 25 years that are hosted by the SANParks Honourary Rangers.

Other activities at South African National Parks include the Mapungubwe Lecture Series in the Mapungubwe National Park in Limpopo from October 25 to 27.