Limpopo/Shashe renamed Greater Mapungubwe TFCA

19 June 2009

The Limpopo/Shashe TFCA, shared by Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe was today, 19 June, renamed the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area.

Ministers Kitso Mokaila of Tourism in Botswana, Buyelwa Sonjica of Water and Environmental Affairs in South Africa and Francis Nhema of Tourism in Zimbabwe, announced the new name at the Limpopo and Shashe confluence where the three countries meet.

The Ministers said the decision to change the name of the TFCA was to choose a name that accurately reflects the uniqueness of the TFCA, adding that the name Greater Mapungubwe TFCA was preferred because all three countries already have sites called Mapungubwe.

Furthermore Mapungubwe in South Africa is already a World heritage site and this can be an extension of the status of the entire TFCA. In addition substantial marketing has been done to put Mapungubwe on the tourism map and it would seem financially expedient to capitalize on this. Both the Mapungubwe sites in South Africa and Botswana are already mapped on the Geographical Positioning System (GPS) and the site in Zimbabwe is still to be pointed out on the GPS.

Mapungubwe was a Kingdom with royalty residing at the Mapungubwe Hill. This hill is a site of three royal graves and was the centre of a dynamic settlement involving stonewalls and terraced dwellings. Mapungubwe existed even before international borders were established and research by archaeologists has revealed that the three countries encompassed the Mapungubwe dynasty. The gold objects from the Mapungubwe Hill graves such as rhinoceros, beads and bowls are crown jewels that can still be found in Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Greater Mapungubwe (former Limpopo Shashe) TFCA was established in 2006
through the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the Environment and Tourism Ministers of three countries. A Tri-lateral Technical Committee and other working groups were established to oversee the operations of the TFCA. The MoU was signed at the confluence of the Limpopo and the Shashe rivers, at a point where the three countries meet, hence the provisional name Limpopo-Shashe.

In 2005, the Ministers of Tourism of the nine SADC countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, endorsed a TFCA Development Strategy for 2010 and beyond. The strategy*s main objective is to increase the tourism potential of Southern Africa by consolidating marketing, infrastructure development and investment promotion efforts of the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) initiatives.

The Ministers had an opportunity to interact with the Boundless Southern Africa Expedition team led by Kingsley Holgate during their fourth leg of the 10 000km trip in the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA. A conservation scroll of goodwill was signed and the calabash carried by the expedition team was also filled with water from the Limpopo and Shashe rivers.

The objective of the expedition, which was launched on 11 May at the National Tourism Indaba in Durban, is to raise awareness about TFCAs and promote tourism and investment opportunities in these areas. The expedition has so far concluded visits to the Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA between Lesotho and South Africa, Lubombo TFCA shared by Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland and Great Limpopo TFCA, shared by Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Boundless Southern Africa is the consolidated marketing brand that was launched in May 2008 to raise the profile of the seven TFCAs. The seven TFCAs are /Ai/Ais/Richtersveld, Kgalagadi, Kavango Zambezi, Greater Mapungubwe, Great Limpopo, Lubombo and Maloti-Drakensberg.

The secretariat for BSA was appointed in 2007 and is hosted by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) in South Africa and is one of the legacy programmes for the 2010 Local Organising Committee. The hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup by South Africa is based on the premise that the World Cup event will not only benefit South Africans but Southern Africa and Africa as a whole. TFCAs provide the mechanisms for sharing the tourism benefits of the 2010 event to the region.

A pipeline of 51 bankable investment opportunities has been developed under Boundless Southern Africa. They range from small and medium type lodges to multi million rand developments such as the Kavango Zambezi Waterfront Development. Of the 51 investment opportunities, two are found in the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA, in Zimbabwe. Investment promotion efforts are underway throughout the seven TFCAs

Media Enquiries can be directed to:

Leonore Beukes, Marketing Manager for Boundless Southern Africa on
+27 (0)82 921 1126

Albi Modise, Chief Director Communications: DEAT on +27 (0)83 490 2871

Boundless Southern Africa

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