Last year was a spectacular year for Zinave National Park as we saw it become a shining beacon of what successful conservation looks like. For many working here, 2022 brought with it a lot of rewards and joy resulting from years of hard work.

But what does the future hold for one of Mozambique’s flagship national parks? Can it be as exciting as 2022? Peace Parks’ CEO, Werner Myburgh, sits down with Lésa van Rooyen to answer these questions.

The Return Of Rewilding Continues

Yes, that’s right! The rewilding is not yet over! Excitingly, 2023 will see yet another black and white rhino translocation from South Africa to Zinave National Park. This comes after 2022’s historic rhino translocation, which marked the first founder population of rhino resident in a Mozambique national park in over 40 years. This also made Zinave the country’s only ‘Big 5’ national park.

In addition to more rhinos being brought into the safety of the park’s sanctuary, the hope is to also bring back a large number of giraffe. Although the exact number cannot yet be confirmed, Peace Park’s partner in this project, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, thinks this could be one of the largest giraffe translocations ever undertaken. 

Although the species does exist within the park, sightings are few and far between. Rewind to a few decades earlier, and the ideally suited landscape was teeming with these long-necked mammals. The hope is that Zinave will once again become a stronghold for this iconic species, bringing the significance of the park’s logo back with it.

Tourism In Zinave

With the return of the Big 5 to Zinave, the next phase of development is tourism. Although 2023 will more than likely not see the construction of any accommodation facilities, it will establish the park’s first tourism concession. This, in time, will see the addition of accommodation options, such as safari lodges and campsites, being developed. There has already been significant interest from travel operators keen to invest here.

The development of tourism infrastructure will help to build resilient communities in the landscape as 20% of all revenue generated from the park goes back to the people living here.

Community Development

Peace Parks Foundation has partnered with The Hunger Project, which affords those living in hunger access to the education and the tools needed to end it for good. This is done through building self-reliance at a grassroots level, empowering women as key change agents, and forging effective partnerships with local government.

In the areas surrounding Zinave, two epicentres will be created which offer a suite of services to local communities, such as trading opportunities, banking, health and education. These epicentres will support hundreds of families living here.

In addition to this, the REDD+ programme will continue to roll out thanks to the assistance of BioCarbon Partners (BCP). This aims to reduce deforestation and helps protect the forests surrounding the park that have come under tremendous pressure from illegal logging.

The programme will generate income through carbon credits and the local communities then receive a percentage of the sales, which are used for developmental projects. This will motivate communities to conserve their trees and forests by reducing their reliance on logging as a means of survival. You can read more about REDD+ here.

The Poster Child

Peace Parks Foundation is incredibly excited to take part in and watch the progress of Zinave unfold. With wildlife now thriving because of increased protection measures and the promise of tourism developments on the horizon, Peace Parks’ new ‘poster child’ is a conservation success story that we are extremely proud to share.