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Pioneering Cross-Border Wilderness Trails in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park

30 September 2014

Traillists enjoying the beauty of the area ©Petro Kotze
Traillists enjoying the beauty of the area ©Petro Kotze
Another successful cross-border wilderness trail, the Trans-Limpopo Walking Trail, was held in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park from 5 - 8 September this year.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP), a joint transboundary conservation initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, presents a unique opportunity to use tourism development as a vehicle to facilitate regional socio-economic development based on conservation.
Cape Eland in the Pafuri area ©Joep Stevens
Cape Eland in the Pafuri area ©Joep Stevens
Great Limpopo has identified a range of cross-border tourism products that could be developed in the context of the transboundary initiative and in partnership with a variety of key stakeholders. These products include transboundary wilderness trails, self-drive 4x4 trails, and the development of a cross-border tourism node in the Pafuri/Sengwe area that forms the heart of the transfrontier park.
The Shangane cultural event ©Joep Stevens
The Shangane cultural event ©Joep Stevens
Based on the success of last year’s pilot Wilderness Trail and Shangane Festival, this year's exciting cross-border tourism initiative was again operated by Wilderness Safaris, a registered operator in both South Africa and Zimbabwe. Two groups of six people each, plus two guides per trail, participated in what has become known as the Trans-Limpopo Walking Trail, from the Makuleke Area in South Africa's Kruger National Park to Zimbabwe's Sengwe Area, from 5 - 8 September. The trail was also linked to a one-day Shangane cultural event in the Sengwe Area on 6 September 2014, resulting in the flow of tangible benefits to two of Great Limpopo's community areas.
A giant baobab on the trail ©Joep Stevens
A giant baobab on the trail ©Joep Stevens
Based on the success of this trail, planning has already started to offer a wider range of cross-border tourism products in the Pafuri area. These could include a similar walking trail linked to a cultural festival, nature-based wilderness trails, and a mountain biking event. All of these will involve at least two or possibly three of the GLTP partner countries. This in turn will ensure that local communities in all three countries benefit from tourism development in the area.

GLTP, at 37 572km² (± the size of the Netherlands), forms the core of the second-phase transfrontier conservation area (TFCA), measuring almost 100 000km².

Story by Piet Theron
International Coordinator
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

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