Many of the transfrontier conservation areas require significant development in order to cater for the tourists that will help to drive the future economy for the areas and the communities that live there. Peace Parks Foundation puts in significant funding and years of planning in order to develop the right kind of experience that will be low-impact, yet lead to sustainable economic development for the regions.

One of the first steps to scope out the potential of an area is to assess its natural capital. This is a value showing the opportunities the landscape and environment can offer to revitalise communities’ lives. A few months ago, Colin Porteus and Francois Barnard made a trip round Mozambique’s Limpopo and Zinave national parks, as well as Maputo Special and Ponta do Ouro Partial marine reserve to do just that. Looking for unusual and unique experiences to wow visitors in the high-income end of the market, they found many exciting opportunities that will form part of the Peace Parks’ initiative, PEACE Experiences. Imagine luxury camping in the wilderness under the stars? Sleeping inside a baobab tree? Participating in an exciting wildlife translocation or wild swimming with sea turtles and dugongs? As well as providing unforgettable African experiences, this type of tourism can enable travel partners to thrive and help generate funding for conservation and communities.

Once natural capital is assessed and a way forward is agreed, then planning really kicks in. In Maputo Special Reserve, Peace Parks is planning a few new tourist campsites. This means literally everything has to be discussed, even the delicate matter of bush business: where to place the loos. Key to that decision is which spot gives you the best view! Making these and other plans, Johalize Koch, a Peace Parks Conservation Planner, regularly travels to parks and reserve to mark out the new facilities, mapping out everything in detail. After all, it is the careful attention to the direction of the sunset or the situation of a watering hole that can gift a tourist a truly unforgettable African experience.

Peace Parks is extremely proud of the dedication and hard work of all of their planners.