Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA

Revolutionary conservation area on track

THE first steps to establishing the much-vaunted Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier conservation area were taken yesterday with the signing of a precedent-setting memorandum of agreement.

Representatives from Ezemvelo KZN Widlife, SanParks, Tourism KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape Tourism Board, the Free State Tourism Board and the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation signed the agreement in Durban yesterday morning, which paves the way for the roll-out of routes, tourism infrastructure and joint conservation management initiatives for the transfrontier area.

Over half South Africa’s water resources originate in the area and are under threat from unsuitable land use practices. As such, new, alternative income-generating initiatives instead of agriculture, such as ecotourism, need to be given a chance to work.

“This Agreement will pave the way to develop a strategy in order to ensure “that “the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation Area will have a clear identity and that the area will be well positioned in the local and international tourist market by 2010. It would have been impossible to reach this goal if it was not for the level of co-operation between the above-mentioned organisations.

“One of the World Bank’s tourism consultants recently commented that although he works in many countries throughout the world, he has never seen co-operation of this kind,” explained Tourism Specialist – Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier Project, Leonore Beukes.

One drawcard will be the chance to visit nine countries in five days. That includes Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Botswana and, potentially, Angola, as a tourist attraction during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.


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