After a rejuvenating and relaxing festive season, the Peace Parks Foundation team are back with renewed vigour. This is just as well because there are a lot of exciting projects coming up on the horizon. Today, Peace Parks Communications Coordinator, Lésa van Rooyen, sits down with Peace Parks CEO Werner Myburgh, where they look forward to what’s to come for both Limpopo and Banhine national parks in 2023.

Limpopo National Park

Limpopo National Park’s Wildlife

The challenges that come hand-in-hand with an area as large as Limpopo National Park are not to be underestimated. It is thanks to increased ranger protection, training and other effective counter-poaching methods that the wildlife within this vast 1.1-million-hectare park has increased significantly. This year, an animal census will be undertaken to better understand the impact of the work being done here.

A Long-Term Agreement

It is with great excitement that Peace Parks Foundation and the Mozambique Government will sign a new long-term public-private partnership agreement. This is significant as it paves the way forward for a structured governance mechanism that will focus on increasing investment into tourism development, improved day-to-day operational efficiency and better park management.

One Limpopo, One Health

Many people overlook that a well-balanced ecosystem comprises the health of the landscape, both wild and domestic animals, and the people living off the land. With generous funding from the French Government through the French Development Agency, an exciting programme called ‘One Limpopo, One Health’ will be launched in 2023.

One Limpopo, One Health is an integrated and holistic approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimise the health of people, animals and ecosystems within and around Limpopo National Park. It recognises that the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment are closely linked, and that one is just as important as the other. This will integrate with the already successful Herding 4 Health programme.

Banhine National Park

Building Up Banhine

It is no secret that Banhine National Park is a very harsh environment and prone to periods of prolonged drought. For the communities living here, this can pose serious challenges for them and their cattle, threatening to destroy their livelihood.

But after times of turmoil come times of replenishment, and thanks to some good rainfall, this park has transformed into something truly magnificent. Its extensive pan system stretches throughout the park and fills up with crystal-clear water. These wetlands then become an important stop-over for birds during their annual migration.

Working From The Outside In

As it is a central component in a wildlife corridor that stretches between Limpopo and Zinave national parks, it is imperative that this unique landscape is protected. To do so, uplifting communities must be front of mind when planning development here. Testimony to this importance, Werner discloses that during the next five years, more money has been set aside to assist with community livelihood development projects outside the park than work inside the park.

Peace Parks Foundation has partnered with the Southern African Wildlife College, who will assist with the engagement of partners to look into how Banhine can be further developed into a co-existence model. The goal is for the people, their cattle and the wildlife to live in harmony as it was hundreds of years ago.

Time To Look Forward

Peace Parks Foundation is incredibly excited about what the future holds for Limpopo and Banhine national parks. Their raw and untouched beauty is something rare in this day and age, and to be able to show the rest of the world the magic that each park possesses, is an exciting prospect.