It includes 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas. Most notably, the area includes the Zambezi Region, Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta (the largest Ramsar Site in the World) and the Victoria Falls (a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World).
Kavango Zambezi promises to be southern Africa's premier tourist destination with the largest contiguous population of the African elephant (approximately 250 000) on the continent. Conservation and tourism will be the vehicle for socio-economic development in the region.
A memorandum of understanding for the establishment of Africa’s biggest conservation area and the world’s largest terrestrial transfrontier conservation area was signed in December 2006.
To guide its development, the five governments commissioned a pre-feasibility study that was facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation. In June 2010 the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through KfW, committed funding for KAZA TFCA’s development. Peace Parks Foundation was appointed as implementing agent by the partner countries to provide financial management and
technical and co-financing support to the KAZA secretariat. The Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation supported various projects.
On 18 August 2011, the presidents of the republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe signed a treaty that formally and legally established the TFCA.
The Kavango Zambezi TFCA was officially launched on 15 March 2012 when the ministers responsible for the environment, wildlife, natural resources, hotels and tourism of the five partner countries hosted various stakeholders in the town of Katima Mulilo, Namibia, and unveiled the KAZA TFCA treaty.
In 2013 BMZ, through KfW, donated further funds for KAZA’s development.
In 2014, Oryx The International Journal of Conservation published a study proving that a population of zebra undertake the longest big-mammal migration in Africa. The zebra travel along a 500 km round-trip route in an almost direct north-south axis between Namibia and Botswana in KAZA TFCA.
In 2014 Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the thousandth site inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
In the same year, the KAZA TFCA master integrated development plan (IDP) was finalised. The five separate IDPs, with the master IDP for KAZA TFCA as a whole, will promote the sustainable and equitable development, utilisation and management of the TFCA.
To further enhance tourism to KAZA, the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe launched the KAZA TFCA univisa. The visa allows visitors access to both countries for the duration of one month. It also covers access to Botswana for day trips through the Kazungula border post, allowing tourists access to three countries.
The KAZA TFCA master IDP was approved by the partner countries and will guide the development of the TFCA. In reviewing the TFCA’s development needs, it was noted that some are geographically specific, while others are more general and relate to the TFCA as a whole. The six geographically specific areas that have been identified are referred to as wildlife dispersal areas and are located in the following areas:
Zambezi-Mosi Oa Tunya
The wildlife dispersal areas emphasise the interconnectivity of the various protected areas. The master IDP identifies location-specific challenges and proposes a range of approaches to help address those challenges. These include land-use mapping, infrastructure development, socio-economic investments, policy harmonisation, transboundary collaboration and natural resource management support. The TFCA-wide development needs have been divided into tourism investment facilitation and community-based enterprise development. Following the adoption of the KAZA TFCA master IDP, KfW donated funding for its implementation.
Lions have vanished from more than 80% of their historic range and estimates place the wild lion population at about 20 000 individuals. Panthera’s vision is to increase the population to a minimum of 30 000 by 2030, by protecting and connecting core lion populations in key conservation areas across Africa. In KAZA, Panthera’s primary goal is to secure existing populations of lion in gazetted protected areas and to enable them to utilise key wildlife dispersal areas between these.
The KAZA univisa was welcomed by tourist operators and put to good use by visitors, as a document that eased accessibility to the TFCA’s marvels. Altogether 50 000 visas were used during the year.