WINDHOEK, Feb. 5 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) along with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) and the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) recently attended an Expert Workshop that focused on Cross-Border Tourism Products within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs).
Zelna Hengari, NWR’s Managing Director explained that NWR has emerged as a leading facilitator in cross-border tourism products that are profitable, while bearing a positive impact on communities (employment and skill-transfer) within the surrounding areas of Namibia’s National Parks.
“A good example of this is the bi-annual Desert Knights Mountain Bike Challenge that happens every April and September within the /Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park”, she added.
NWR launched a tour of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) countries recently, and late last year, some of the KAZA country Ambassadors stationed in Namibia got hands-on experience of the services provided to national, regional and international tourists.
“NWR, therefore, believes that this is a new window of opportunity that can significantly contribute towards Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” said Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Manager of Corporate Communications and Online Media.
Discussions to develop Trans-frontier links between South Africa and Namibia date back to 2000. In 2003, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, signed an international treaty that birthed the establishment of the first Trans-frontier Park in SADC.
The /Ai-/Ais and Richtersveld form The /Ais-/Ais – Richtersveld TP shared between Namibia and South Africa, while the Kavango Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) is shared by Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. An emerging TFCA of Iona, Skeleton Coast is shared between Angola and Namibia.
NWR adopted an approach to join counterparts in joint management of natural resources across national boundaries. The concept of TFCAs is defined by the SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement of 1999 as, ‘a component of a large ecological region that links boundaries of two or more countries including one or more protected areas with multiple resource use areas.’
Exciting cross-border tourism activities and products, such as the Desert Knights mountain bike tour, Desert Kayak trails and Wildrun, have since been developed in the /Ai-/Ais Transfrontier Park.
The workshop was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 30 – 31 January 2018 and Namibia was represented by NWR’s Managing Director, Mrs Zelna Hengari, MET’s Chief Control Warden, Ms Josephine Naambo Iipinge and NTB’s Quality Assurance Manager, Ms Raulin Gomachas. – NDN Staffer