A trip around Limpopo and Zinave national parks, as well as Maputo Special Reserve is being made in the name of hunting out the best potential experiences to suit the luxury traveller. This is part of Peace Park Foundation’s new initiative called Peace Parks Exclusive Experiences, which are destined to attract capital, jobs and a healthy future to rural communities.
As an important part of researching potential experiences, Colin Porteus and Francois Barnard are crunching numbers to work out the areas’ ‘natural capital’.
Natural capital might be a rather dry term to describe the wonder of the natural world one encounters in southern Africa, but it is an important way of working out how to put a value on what potential opportunities lie in wait that can revitalise communities’ lives. Working out the natural capital – the value of wilderness, of pristine beaches, of wildlife and so on to future tourists – can be used to attract investment and donor funding into areas that have been decimated by drought or unsustainable use of natural resources, areas which currently have few opportunities to maintain robust livelihoods.
What this will mean is that actual capital will be brought to areas in which communities currently struggle to make a living. By bringing low-impact, high-return tourism to these areas, not only do the tourists benefit but importantly the communities do too, making for a sustainable future for all.
Developing tourism to places like Fig Tree Pan, the banks of the Save River and Lagoa Max will generate jobs and a secure future for communities in the area. This means that more of their children will go to school, become educated and therefore have more opportunities themselves when they are older, so it can lead to brighter futures for both the landscape, wildlife and humankind.