Monday, 27 March 2023

Ganizo | Leisure & Luxury

Kavango Zambezi: Tourism without Borders in Africa

Tourism and Leisure business owners in Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Angola can change their game by tapping into the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA); the largest consecration of travel and leisure features in Africa.

The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) evolved from two initiatives namely, the Okavango Upper Zambezi International Tourism Initiative (OUZIT) and the “Four Corners” Transboundary Natural Resource Management initiative. However, unlike its predecessors, the KAZA TFCA initiative is owned and led by the governments of the five partner countries, with a clear focus on conservation as the primary form of land use and tourism being a by-product thereof.

The cornerstone of the KAZA TFCA was laid on 7th December 2006 when the Ministers responsible for environment, natural resources, wildlife and tourism in 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. This process is well underway and the MoU will be repealed when the Treaty to formally establish the KAZA TFCA is signed by these partner countries. The recognition of the KAZA TFCA as a Southern African Development Community (SADC) project in July 2006 means it is a programme encapsulating the SADC vision of regional integration and the SADC objectives for promoting the wise use of natural resources and effective protection of the natural environment.

This area has been branded "Africa's Eden" by the Victoria Falls Regional Tourism Association. The Victoria Falls Regional Tourism Association was established to promote the KAZA destination and adjacent wildlife areas, around the core product of The Victoria Falls. This association is noteworthy as the first multi-country destination marketing campaign entirely driven by the private sector in the region.

The main attractions within Africa's Eden are Chizaria National Park, Chobe National Park, Hwange National Park, Kafue National Park, Lake Kariba, Makgadikgadi Pans, Moremi Game Reserve, Ngonye Falls, Okavango Delta, Sioma Ngwezi National Park, Victoria Falls, and the Mighty Zambezi River.

Each of these attractions have a thousand stories that can be told, but we can just sample the stories of Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Okavango Delta, and 

The Zambezi is Africa’s fourth largest river system after the Nile, Zaire and Niger Rivers. It runs through six countries on its journey from central Africa to the Indian Ocean. Its unique value is that it is less developed than others in terms of human settlement and many areas along its banks enjoy protected status.

The Okavango Delta, one of the world’s largest inland water systems, is a Ramsar site – the headwaters of the delta begin in Angola’s western highlands with tributaries that join to form the Cubango river.

This then flows into Namibia (called the Kavango River) and finally enters Botswana as the Okavango. During the peak of the flooding season, the delta can spread over 16,000km2 and is a magical paradise for visitors. Excellent for wildlife viewing, and spectacular scenic viewing, the Delta’s tourism industry is characterised by high cost, low volume.

Kafue National Park is Zambia’s oldest and largest park, spreading over 22,400km2 – roughly the size of Wales. Although the park has suffered from severe bouts of poaching and limited funding, it still offers excellent game viewing, birdwatching and fishing opportunities.

The Basunga Plains in the north are Zambia’s most significant wetland resource. This vast watery wilderness is flooded in the wet season by several rivers and streams covering up to 750 km2, reaching their height between March and May each year.

In the south, the Kafue runs into Itezhi Tezhi Dam which is surrounded by grassy plains, rocky bays and stretches of submerged trees.

It makes sense for those investing in Tourism in these five countries to consider becoming a participant of this area supported by their respective governments, and to also consider becoming a member of the Victoria Falls Regional Tourism Association. 

The association is founded on collaborative competition, in a geography considered one of the world’s largest and last remaining pristine conservation estates. KAZA is home to The Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, two UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the only quadripoint on earth. Over two million people live in the region with livelihoods strongly supported by tourism and its supply chain.

The Victoria Falls Regional Tourism Association is driven by the private sector, representational membership that surpasses national boundaries and traditional destination definition. The association is based on inclusivity and represents all levels of tourism in the destination, based on a pay-to-play system.

The Victoria Falls Africa’s Eden, as a destination marketing campaign, looks to promote the entire KAZA region and adjoining wildlife areas, through the globally recognised gateway of The Victoria Falls, maximising on unique selling points, traditional destination marketing and technology.

KAZA is one of the hottest topics in the tourism world concerning Africa, especially with the "Brand Africa" global campaign by UNWTO. 

UNWTO’s African Member States will work together to establish a new narrative for tourism across the continent. To better realize tourism’s potential to drive recovery, UNWTO and its Members will also work with the African Union and the private sector to promote the continent to new global audiences through positive, people-centred storytelling and effective branding.

With tourism recognized as an essential pillar of sustainable and inclusive development for the continent, UNWTO welcomed high-level delegates to the first Regional Conference on Strengthening Brand Africa. The conference featured the participation of the political leadership of host country Namibia, alongside public and private sector leaders from across the continent.

Under the terms of the Windhoek Pledge, Members will engage both public and private sector stakeholders as well as local communities to build a new, inspiring narrative for tourism across the continent. They will identify positive, human-centred stories, and through strengthened partnerships with the media, showcase them to the world, reaching new and diverse tourism source markets.

There cannot be an African narrative of tourism without KAZA. 

Sources: Kavango Zambezi, Africa's Eden, UNWTO