Pioneering Cross-Border Wilderness Trails in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), a joint transboundary conservation initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, presents itself with a unique opportunity to use tourism development as a vehicle to facilitate regional conservation based socio-economic development. As such, the GLTFCA has identified a range of cross-border tourism products that can be developed within the context of the transboundary initiative and in partnership with a range of key stakeholders. These products include transboundary wilderness trails, self-drive 4×4 trails, and the development of a cross-border tourism node within the Pafuri/Sengwe area that forms the heart of the GLTFCA.

Based on the success of last year’s pilot Wilderness Trail and Shangane Festival, the implementation of this exciting cross-border tourism product continued in 2014. As per the pilot trail in 2013, this year’s event (referred to as the Trans-Limpopo Walking Trail) was operated by Wilderness Safaris (who is a registered operator in both South Africa and Zimbabwe) and occurred from 5 – 8 September 2014. The trail will consisted of two groups of 6 people each (plus 2 guides per trail), and was operated from the Makuleke Area (in KNP, South Africa) into the Sengwe Area (in Zimbabwe).  The trail was also linked to a one-day Shangane cultural event in the Sengwe Area on 6 September 2014, and result in the flow of tangible benefits between two community areas in the GLTP.

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 a cultural festival, nature-based wilderness trails, and a mountain biking event. All of these will involve at least 2 or possibly 3 of the partner countries of the GLTFCA initiative. This in turn will ensure that local communities in all three countries receive tangible benefits from tourism development in the area.

Piet Theron| International Coordinator| Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area
Cellphone: + 27 82 468 6488
E-mail : piettheron01@gmail.com