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Kavango Zambezi

Park Development

© 2009 Koos van der Lende
© 2009 Koos van der Lende
The Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) TFCA spans five southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is centred around the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls area.
The KAZA TFCA process historically evolved from the Okavango Upper Zambezi International Tourism Initiative (OUZIT). However, unlike its predecessor, the KAZA TFCA initiative is owned and led by the governments of the five partner countries. There is a clear focus on conservation as the primary form of land use, and on tourism as a by-product.
On 24 July 2003, the Ministers responsible for environment, natural resources, wildlife and tourism in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe met in Katimo Mulilo, Namibia to discuss the Kavango Zambezi TFCA.
To encourage ownership by the five countries and reflect the priorities determined by these countries, the meeting articulated a clear vision for the KAZA TFCA: 'To establish a world-class transfrontier conservation area and tourism destination in the Okavango and Zambezi river basin regions of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe within the context of sustainable development.'
MoU signing ceremony
MoU signing ceremony
Between August 2005 and October 2006 a pre-feasibility study on the KAZA TFCA was commissioned and completed. This document was an important guiding document for activities related to the KAZA TFCA. It was facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation and supported by The Rufford Foundation and WWF Netherlands.

In July 2006 SADC's Integrated Committee of Ministers (ICM) approved and endorsed the KAZA TFCA as a SADC project.

The cornerstone of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area was laid on 7 December 2006 when the Republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to negotiate and work towards the establishment of the TFCA.

KAZA TFCA became a legal entity when the five partner countries signed a treaty in Luanda, Angola on 18 August 2011.

The objectives of the KAZA TFCA, as stated in the KAZA Treaty include, among others:
  • To maintain and manage the shared natural and cultural heritage resources and biodiversity of the KAZA TFCA to support healthy and viable populations of wildlife species;
  • To promote and facilitate the development of a complementary network of protected areas within the KAZA TFCA linked through corridors to safeguard the welfare and continued existence of migratory wildlife species;
  • To provide opportunities, facilities and infrastructure that shall transform the KAZA TFCA into a premier tourist destination in Africa made up of a range of independent yet complementary and integrated sub-regional tourism development nodes;
  • To facilitate tourism across international borders in the KAZA TFCA;
  • To develop and implement programmes that shall enhance the sustainable use of natural and cultural heritage resources to improve the livelihoods of local communities within and around the KAZA TFCA and thus contribute towards poverty reduction; and
  • To promote and facilitate the harmonisation of relevant legislation, policies and approaches in natural and cultural heritage resources management across international borders and ensure compliance with international protocols and conventions related to the protection and sustainable use of species and ecosystems.
KAZA TFCA was officially launched on 15 March 2012 when the ministers responsible for the environment, wildlife, natural resources, hotels and tourism of the republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe hosted various stakeholders in the town of Katima Mulilo, Namibia, and unveiled the KAZA TFCA treaty.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is the major funder of the KAZA TFCA, through KfW. Peace Parks Foundation was appointed implementing agent by the partner countries to provide financial management and technical and co-financing support to the KAZA secretariat, which is permanently based in Kasane, Botswana and maintains a presence in each of the five partner countries.

Marketing tools such as a website, logo and official brochure have been developed.

Comprehensive and participatory planning process were undertaken by the KAZA partner countries and facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation, where all affected communities and stakeholders were provided the opportunity to identify their needs and priorities for development in the KAZA TFCA.
Zambia and Zimbabwe launch the KAZA univisa Photo: victoriafallswonders.com
Zambia and Zimbabwe launch the KAZA univisa Photo: victoriafallswonders.com
In 2014, Oryx The International Journal of Conservation published a study proving that a population of zebra undertake the longest big-mammal migration in Africa. The zebra travel along a 500 km round-trip route in an almost direct north-south axis between Namibia and Botswana in KAZA TFCA.

In 2014 Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the thousandth site inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

In the same year, the KAZA TFCA master integrated development plan (IDP) was finalised. The five separate IDPs, with the master IDP for KAZA TFCA as a whole, will promote the sustainable and equitable development, utilisation and management of the TFCA.

To further enhance tourism to KAZA, the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe launched the KAZA TFCA univisa. The visa allows visitors access to both countries for the duration of one month. It also covers access to Botswana for day trips through the Kazungula border post, allowing tourists access to three countries.
Wildlife moveent in KAZA TFCA. Click on map to open
Wildlife moveent in KAZA TFCA. Click on map to open
The KAZA TFCA master IDP was approved by the partner countries and will guide the development of the TFCA. In reviewing the TFCA’s development needs, it was noted that some are geographically specific, while others are more general and relate to the TFCA as a whole. The six geographically specific areas that have been identified are referred to as wildlife dispersal areas and are located in the following areas: Kwando River, Zambezi-Chobe floodplain, Zambezi-Mosi Oa Tunya, Hwange-Kazuma–Chobe, Hwange-Makgadikgadi-Nxai and Khaudum-Ngamiland.

The wildlife dispersal areas emphasise the interconnectivity of the various protected areas. The master IDP identifies location-specific challenges and proposes a range of approaches to help address those challenges. These include land-use mapping, infrastructure development, socio-economic investments, policy harmonisation, transboundary collaboration and natural resource management support. The TFCA-wide development needs have been divided into tourism investment facilitation and community-based enterprise development. Following the adoption of the KAZA TFCA master IDP, KfW donated funding for its implementation.
Lions have vanished from more than 80% of their historic range and estimates place the wild lion population at about 20 000 individuals. Panthera’s vision is to increase the population to a minimum of 30 000 by 2030, by protecting and connecting core lion populations in key conservation areas across Africa. In KAZA, Panthera’s primary goal is to secure existing populations of lion in gazetted protected areas and to enable them to utilise key wildlife dispersal areas between these.

The KAZA univisa was welcomed by tourist operators and put to good use by visitors, as a document that eased accessibility to the TFCA’s marvels. Altogether 50 000 visas were used during the year.