Windhoek, 5 February 2018 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) along with the Ministry of Environment & Tourism (MET) and the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) recently attended an Expert Workshop that looked at - Cross-Border Tourism Products within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs).
Reflecting on the discussions that took place, it came out came out emphatically that "NWR has taken a leading role in facilitating cross-border tourism products that are now profitable and branded while having a direct and positive impact on communities (employment and skill-transfer) within the surrounding areas of Namibia’s National Parks. A good example of this is the bi-annual Desert Knights Mountain Bike Challenge that happens every April and September within the /Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park", says Mrs Zelna Hengari, NWR's Managing Director.
In addition to that, NWR recently launched a tour of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) countries were late last year, it took some of the KAZA country Ambassadors stationed in Namibia on tour in order to give them first-hand experience of what NWR will be offering national, regional and international tourists. NWR, therefore, believes that this is a new window of opportunity that can significantly contribute towards Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The workshop was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 30 - 31 January 2018 and Namibia was represented by NWR's Managing Director, Mrs Zelna Hengari, MET's Chief Control Warden, Ms Josephine Naambo Iipinge and NTB's Quality Assurance Manager, Ms Raulin Gomachas.
Discussions to develop Transfrontier links between South Africa and Namibia date back to 2000. These discussions bore fruit in 2003 when the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and Minister of Environment and Tourism, respectively signed the international treaty that signaled the establishment of the first Transfrontier Park in SADC, namely the /Ai-/Ais Transfrontier Park (TP). The /Ais-/Ais – Richtersveld TP is shared between Namibia and South Africa; Kavango Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) is shared among Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe and emerging TFCA of Iona – Skeleton Coast shared between Angola and Namibia.
Similarly, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has adopted an approach to join counterparts in joint management of natural resources across political boundaries. This approach explores the concept of TFCA's which is defined according to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement of 1999 as a component of a large ecological region that links boundaries of two or more countries including one or more protected areas with multiple resource use areas. Very exciting cross-border tourism activities/ products such as Desert Knights mountain bike tour, Desert Kayak trails and Wildrun have since been developed in the /Ai-/Ais Transfrontier Park.