Simalaha is only around 140 kilometres upstream from Victoria Falls, the world-famous waterfall, but many tourists do not venture much further than the Falls itself. After all, the Victoria Falls is an awe-inspiring sight. Almost two kilometres wide, its curtain of water plunges into a gorge over a hundred metres deep, sending columns of spray into air that can be seen from miles away. However, as it lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls makes a good meeting point between the two countries, therefore presenting opportunities for both.
Peace Park’s vision for the future of this area is to open up tourist routes to make tourist access to some of the less well-known but incredible areas, such as Simalaha, easier and to spread economic opportunities throughout the region.
What Peace Parks envisages in the future are links from Simalaha to Victoria Falls, tourism circuits that encourage people to loop into Namibia, Kafue and other areas. This will bring benefits to Simalaha, which has been undergoing rewilding and conservation efforts since 2012, when the two chiefdoms agreed that their land could be developed as a wildlife conservancy.
Simalaha, or the Simalaha Community Conservancy, lies within the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), which is the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area, encompassing 520,000 km2 across 5 countries. Established to provide wildlife connectivity throughout its protected landscape. KAZA’s wildlife corridors allow animals such as elephants to move more freely across the landscape, spurring healthy species population growth and distributing wildlife-dependent economic benefits to more people. In all, six wildlife dispersal areas within KAZA help to provide routes for wildlife to move freely and are based on existing and historical animal migration routes. The Zambezi Chobe Corridor that Gordon describes will provide seasonal and migratory crossings for animals between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and sometimes Zimbabwe.
This means that the region will benefit wildlife as well as tourists. And, ultimately this is good for the communities based in the region.