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28 Oct 2022
THE FIRST phase of the Tshanini poverty relief project, which will see the Ndumo and Tembe parks linked to the Maputo Elephant Reserve in Mozambique, was launched recently.
This forms part of efforts to establish the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation and Resource Area (TFCA), an international initiative directed by South Africa`s Ezemvelo KwaZulu Natal Wildlife.
Known as the Ndumo-Tembe- Futi TFCA, or Elephant Coast Transfrontier Conservation Area Infrastructure Project, the poverty relief initiative entails investment in tourism infrastructure, employment and training for neighbouring communities, promotion of biodiversity and conservation and the creation of a transfrontier conservation area encompassing South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland.
Speaking at theTshanini community conservation launch recently, Aruna Seepersadh from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, confirmed how the development of tourism infrastructure would benefit the local community.
“People cannot benefit from tourism if they do not have the capacity to take advantage of the opportunities tourism creates. Therefore, this project aims to bring tourism infrastructure development to local communities,” said Seepersadh.
Transfrontier conservation initiatives such as this one, added the speaker, created world-class eco-tourism destinations. But for these to be effectively managed, local communities needed to be empowered and public/private-sector partnerships had to play a key role.
“Community involvement is one of the key aspects for the success of the TFCA initiatives. It is envisaged that improving the lives of rural communities will in turn contribute further towards biodiversity conservation by demonstrating the economic and social advantages that can be achieved through partnerships in wildlife conservation.”
The project has four principal areas of implementation, including the Tembe Elephant Park, Ndumo Game Reserve, the Usuthu Gorge and Tshanini Community Conservation Areas. Tourism infrastructure to be constructed as part of the project includes a campsite, water and electricity, an aerial birding boardwalk and an upmarket safari lodge.