Transfrontier Parks in Southern Africa
Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.
This week Alan explores the Transfrontier Parks of the region. These parks herald a new era in cooperation between countries in Southern Africa. And new opportunity for wildlife as traditional migration routes reopen.
If a person lives in, say, South Africa they are South African – yes? But an elephant in South Africa is not South African. It may move between Mozambique and Zimbabwe for example...at least traditionally that is. Until colonial borders were erected, which still define today’s make-up of countries in Africa.
Often a border between two countries will have a national park or wilderness area on either side – separated by a fence and sometimes a corridor of land. But now? Throughout Southern Africa, these fences are being torn down. The result is that the animals suddenly have a massive new range to roam and can often return to traditional migration routes.
Transfrontier parks are also called ‘Peace Parks’. The vision? ‘Peace Parks Foundation envisages the establishment of a network of protected areas that links ecosystems across international borders.’ And this regional cooperation is symbolic of a peaceful region.
The Parks...One by One
What a great idea! And here they are:
What Else Are They For?
The parks have a range of purposes and some are better funded than others. Promoting regional peace and cooperation, sharing resources, preserving the area’s fragile ecosystem etc are a few. Combating poaching is another. In Great Limpopo, rhino and elephant are hunted mercilessly.
And the safari opportunities have increased dramatically. For example you now cross from South Africa to Mozambique through Kruger National Park (and into Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park). This is creating all sorts of exciting safari options. So, think like an elephant...and roam free, past and through traditional country borders.
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