Within the Zambian component of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area lie the Sioma Ngwezi National Park. At just over 10,000 square kilometres, it forms part of the Zambezi West Game Management Area, a region referred to as th Silowana Complex which was established by the King of the Barotse Royal Establishment more than a century ago. The park has been earmarked for intensive wildlife recovery as it plays an essential role in wildlife movement along the Kwando and Zambezi rivers.
A memorandum of understanding between the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Peace Parks Foundation and WWF Zambia currently outlines the guiding principles on collaboration in the management and development of both Sioma and the greater Silowana Complex. It establishes the responsibilities of the parties, as well as the institutional framework of the joint collaboration for achieving specific objectives, and sets out the platform from which to coordinate investments and funding from the various parties. Planning is directed by a steering committee whilst a Project Management Unit has been established to action the various decisions taken. Discussions and resolutions have taken place around the administration (staff issues and funding), the development of management and business plans, infrastructure development, wildlife management and protection, community development, and tourism development.
2022 will see the signing of a historic, 25-year agreement creating a partnership between the community, NGOs and the Zambian government. Together they will oversee the management and development of Sioma National Park which will unlock significant funding from donors to kickstart programmes that will see to the rehabilitation and rewilding of the park, restoring it to its former glory.
Sioma Ngezi is a stunning, wild landscape with very few access roads leading through the park. It currently attracts the more adventure traveller coming in to see the park’s prides of lion, leopard and plains game such as zebra, wildebeest and impala which were translocated in. During the dry season, access to water here is difficult so plans are in place to augment the fresh water supply, which will attract more wildlife to the park.
Keep watching Peace Parks TV to see how Sioma Ngwezi National Park starts to flourish under the new agreement.