Guest Post by Darryl Lombard
On 18th August 2011 at the SADC Summit in Luanda, Angola, the Presidents of the Republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe signed a Treaty which formally and legally establishes the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).
The surface area of the KAZA TFCA is over 444,000 sq km (almost the size of Sweden) making it the world’s largest conservation area comprising multiple resource use areas including National Parks, Game Reserves, Forest Reserves, Conservancies, Game/Wildlife Management Areas and Communal lands.
By signing this Treaty, the five partner states aim to ensure that the natural resources they share across their international boundaries along the Kavango and Zambezi River Basins are conserved and managed prudently for present and future generations within the context of sustainable development.
Tourism development in the TFCA will be one vehicle for socio‐economic growth in the region, aimed at improving the livelihoods of the primary beneficiaries of this TFCA ‐ the people that live within and around the TFCA who bear the opportunity costs for the biodiversity conservation.
The KAZA concept was agreed by the five partner states
in July 2003 in Katima Mulilo, Namibia, and from that time, the five partner states have led its process of establishment with visionary leadership and sense of partnership. The KAZA vision has received tremendous support from international development partners in particular, the German Government through KfW, Peace Parks Foundation, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Agency of Development and Cooperation and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) who have all been instrumental in getting the TFCA to where it is today.
The KAZA TFCA will include 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas. Most notably, the area will include the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, Chobe National Park in Botswana, the Okavango Delta (the largest Ramsar Site in the World) and the Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe (a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World). In particular, the KAZA TFCA includes the following conservation areas that already exist:
Angola: Luiana Partial Reserve, Mavinga Partial Reserve, Longa-Mavinga Hunting Area, Luengue Hunting Area, Luiana Hunting Area and Mucusso Hunting Area.
Botswana: Okavango Delta (including the Moremi Game Reserve), Chobe – Linyanti river system (including the Chobe NP) and Makgadikgadi-Nxai National Park.
Namibia: Bwabwata National Park, Mudumu National Park, Mamili (Nkasa Lupala) National Park, Khaudum National Park, the Caprivi State Forest and conservancies and community forests between these Protected Areas.
Zambia: Kafue National Park, Sioma-Ngwezi National Park, Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and their adjoining game management areas and the Lumbe, Kwemba, Njoko and Luanja river catchments in the open area of Sesheke District.
Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park, Zambezi National Park, Victoria Falls National Park, Kazuma Pan National Park, Chizarira National Park, Matusadona National Park, Matetsi, Deka, Chete, Chirisa and Charara Safari Areas, including Bembesi, Fuller, Gwayi, Kazuma, Mzola, Ngamo, Panda Masuwe, Sijarira and Sikumi Forests incorporating Hwange, Tsholotsho, Bulilima, Binga, Gokwe, Nyaminyami and Hurungwe Communal Lands, as well privately held state land and conservancies extending eastwards to Lake Kariba Recreational Park and Kariba Town.
KAZA promises to become Africa’s premier tourist destination with the largest contiguous population of the African elephant on the continent. Conservation and tourism will be the vehicle for socio-economic development in the region.
The biodiversity of this area includes savannah, miombo and mopane woodlands, as well as wetlands distributed in the five countries. The population of the African elephant in the KAZA area is approximately 250,000, which is more than in any other area in the world, and so are major populations of a wide range of species such as buffalo, hippopotamus, lion, lechwe, roan, sable, eland, zebra, wildebeest, waterbuck, puku, bushbuck, sitatunga, wild dogs, spotted hyaena and so on. As can be expected over such a vast area, the plant life is phenomenal with about 3,000 species, some 100 of which are endemics and more than 500 species of birds that are characteristic of the southern African savannahs, woodlands and wetlands.
The KAZA TFCA is characterised by a mosaic of land uses; diversity of cultures, peoples and languages; differing national capacities, priorities and natural resource management practices; biodiversity of global significance; vast geographical extent; immense and in many places untapped tourism potential; and a growing human population with corresponding development needs. These features offer both opportunities and challenges for realizing the KAZA vision.
The KAZA Treaty signifies an enabling instrument through which these challenges can be addressed and these potential opportunities maximised.
This article was submitted by Darryl Lombard. Darryl is an International consultant on tourism product conceptualisation, Strategic Tourism Master Planning, project feasibility assessment and tourism-driven LED. You can read more of Darryl’s tourism articles at http://tinyurl.com/32by8ht