Limpopo National Park revenues finally improved in the last quarter of 2014, with the number of tourists visiting the conservation area increasing. The improvement was due in great part to the more settled political situation in Mozambique following the elections.
Negative press and violence in the centre of the country in the run up to the elections had seen a decrease in tourism, with annual revenues dropping significantly, from a high of 8.8 million meticais in 2013 to six million meticais for 2014. In 2013 approximately 15,000 foreign and domestic tourists visited the park. The number dropped to only six thousand last year. A major problem is that most of the tourists come from outside Mozambique and do not have a clear understanding of the situation in the country and any negative news impacts their willingness to visit the country.
Yet, this year has gotten off to a good start. Antonio Abacar, the park administrator, said that nearly all the park’s chalets were busy for the Easter weekend. “Hopefully last year was an unfortunate exception. Indeed, from 2012 to 2013, revenues increased by 30 percent. We believe that this year the situation will improve for the better,” said Abacar.
Created in 2001, Limpopo National Park today has an accommodation capacity of 40 beds, plus numerous camping sites. For those people who prefer the latter, the park offers kitchen and bathroom facilities as well as security.
And, there is plenty to see. Despite pressure from poaching, Abacar says that animal populations remain at a healthy level. “Compared to former times, these populations have been growing. In 2001, for example, the number of elephants was about 40 individuals. A recent census put the estimate at 1300.”