The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a joint initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a process that will link the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique, Kruger National Park in South Africa, Gonarezhou National Park, Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area in Zimbabwe, as well as two areas between Kruger and Gonarezhou, namely the Sengwe communal land in Zimbabwe and the Makuleke region in South Africa. The total surface area of the transfrontier park will be approximately 35,000 km2. The establishment of the Transfrontier Park is the first phase of creating a bigger transfrontier conservation area measuring a staggering 100,000 km2.
Once open, tourists will be able to drive across the international borders of the three countries within the boundaries of the park. In addition to the usual game-viewing opportunities, visitors will have a broad range of new attractions including bird-rich tropical wetlands, lake cruises, tiger-fishing, rugged 4 x 4 adventure drives, and much more. A mix of cultural experiences will be offered, with traditional healers explaining their trade, story-telling, foods, dance, music, handicraft and art to explore and enjoy.
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park will be a world-class eco-tourism destination, with extensive private sector involvement, but managed to optimise benefits for sustainable economic development of local communities and biodiversity conservation.
When will all this happen?
Political support in all three countries was achieved when the Ministers for the Environment of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to initiate the establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park on 10 November 2000.
On 9 December 2002 the three heads of state signed an international treaty to establish the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) in Xai-Xai, Mozambique. Two days later the Ministers for the Environment of Mozambique and South Africa removed part of the fence between the Limpopo and Kruger National Parks to symbolise the creation of what is to become the world’s greatest animal kingdom.
Since the signing of the MoU in 2000 working groups were operational under a technical committee which, in turn, was operational under the ministerial committee. The signing of the Great Limpopo treaty in 2002 effectively transformed the technical committee into a joint management board and the working groups into management committees. The thus established permanent management committees deal with conservation; safety and security; finance, human resources and legislation, and tourism. Facilitating the process and driving the development of the TFCA was an international coordinator, who was first appointed by the partner countries in 2000. This position rotated every two years between the three countries and will be replaced by a permanent secretariat in 2008. Heading the GLTP Secretariat will be Dr Nthabiseng Motete, the new GLTP Project Co-ordinator
While the opening of the Giriyondo Access Facility between Limpopo and Kruger national parks in August 2006 has greatly facilitated movement, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is yet to be officially opened. This will include the removal of further sections of the fence between the three countries. The transfrontier park can only be said to have been fully established once there is free movement of animals and people along the length of the international borders within the boundaries of the park. This is a process that could take a number of years to implement.