It’s a beautiful morning in Mozambique’s Zinave National Park as the blue, sunny skies overhead make for picture-perfect conditions for the Peace Parks Foundation’s team to get started on their mission of finding the most beautiful and suitable sites that can be developed to host tourists. This is the next step in the development of this remarkable conservation area.

After Johalize, Siewert and Richard get treated to an incredible scenic flight into Zinave the previous day, the team is then shown the lay of the land by two men who know the park inside out –Zinave’s Project Manager, Bernard van Lente, and Peace Parks’ Senior Project Manager, Antony Alexander. 

The team hops into a 4×4, a necessary vehicle to have in a place like Zinave where the roads are rough and, more often than not, a bit of off-roading is required. But even with the help of the most capable 4×4, clay soils and sand remain a treacherous mix…which the team would shortly find out!

Bernard drives the Peace Parks’ crew to various locations throughout Zinave, where Johalize and the team take in the spectacular surroundings. The landscapes vary from ephemeral pans teeming with life, Save riverine forest and miombo and mopane woodlands. Ancient baobab trees believed to be over 2000 years old can also be seen dotted throughout the landscape, providing the team with an overwhelming selection of beautiful sites to look at.

As the road comes to an end, the team continue their mission on foot. Johalize explains that Peace Parks Foundation, which is working together with Mozambique’s National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC) to co-manage the park, plans to develop various tourism infrastructure sites, including campsites, self-catering chalets and mobile fly camps. However, it’s not as easy as simply picking the most beautiful sites available and then building, as the team will need to make sure that many different boxes are ticked. Some of these considerations include having enough shade to provide refuge for guests during the heat of the day, access to water, road network and accessibility to sites, privacy for guests and safety from flooding and other weather conditions.

Not only will tourism development help generate revenue for the park, but it will also assist in creating multiple employment opportunities for the local communities and help fight poverty in the area, meeting both Goal 8 and Goal 1 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. There is a lot to look forward to in Zinave’s future, and the promise of visitors who will soon be able to overnight at several accommodation options within this stunning location is undoubtedly a reason to celebrate – a win-win for all!