First map ever of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park

1 January 2006

The opening of the Giriyondo Access Facility on 7 December 2005 was the realisation of a dream of many years of Peace Parks Foundation and especially of Dr Rupert, Peace Parks Foundation's Chairman and Founder and of Prof Willem van Riet, its CEO. The establishment of Peace Parks Foundation can be traced back to discussions started in 1990 on the establishment of what was to become the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park.

On 27 May 1990, Anton Rupert, President of WWF South Africa (then called the Southern African Nature Foundation) had a meeting in Maputo with Mozambique's President Joaquim Chissano, to discuss the possibility of establishing a permanent link between some of the protected areas in southern Mozambique and their adjacent counterparts in South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

The concept of trans-border protected area cooperation through the establishment of peace parks had already been accepted internationally. The World Conservation Union (IUCN) had long been promoting their establishment because of the many associated benefits (Hamilton et al, 1996; Westing, 1993). In 1988, the IUCN's Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas had identified at least 70 protected areas in 65 countries which straddle national frontiers (Thorsell, 1990).

As a result of Dr Rupert's meeting, WWF South Africa was requested to carry out a feasibility study, which was completed and submitted to the Government of Mozambique in September 1991. The map (see above) that formed part of that study was produced by Ken Tinley and Prof Willem van Riet, now CEO of Peace Parks Foundation.

The report suggested an important conceptual shift away from the idea of strictly protected national parks towards greater emphasis on multiple resource use by local communities by introducing the transfrontier conservation area (TFCA) concept. In short, TFCAs (or peace parks), were defined as relatively large areas that straddle frontiers between two or more countries and cover large-scale natural systems encompassing one or more protected areas. Very often both human and animal populations traditionally migrated across or straddled the political boundaries concerned. In essence, TFCAs therefore extend far beyond designated protected areas, and can incorporate such innovative approaches as biosphere reserves and a wide range of community-based natural resource management programmes (World Bank, 1996). (PPF subsequently adopted this new paradigm.)

As a result of the political constraints prevalent in southern Africa at the time of the initiation of the GEF-funded programme in Mozambique, only limited attention could be given to the development of formal links between the three main participating countries, i.e. Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and unfortunately this persisted throughout the duration of the study.

Two years after the election of Nelson Mandela, South Africa was experiencing a rapid and significant growth in its nature-based tourism industry, but very few of the benefits associated with this growth were being made available to Mozambique. These concerns prompted Dr Anton Rupert to request another meeting with President Chissano, which was held on 27 May 1996. At this meeting, Rupert emphasised the significant economic benefits that could accrue to Mozambique if the proposed TFCAs involving Mozambique were implemented. The Maputo discussions were followed by a Transfrontier Park Initiative meeting in the Kruger National Park on 8 August 1996 under the joint Chairmanship of Mozambique's Minister of Transport and Communications, Paulo Muxanga, and South Africa's Minister of Transport, Mac Maharaj, where it was agreed that the two countries, together with Zimbabwe and Swaziland, should cooperate to realise the economic benefits of the proposed TFCAs.

Towards the end of 1996, it became clear that interest in the peace park concept was not only growing within the countries mentioned, but also in other neighbouring states. For the first time, southern Africa as a whole was being seen as a tourist destination, and an integral part of this vision was the development of TFCAs or peace parks (De Villiers, 1994; Pinnock, 1996). There was a growing recognition that tourism could be the one industry with the potential to become the economic engine that would create the jobs that were so urgently needed on the subcontinent.

The Executive Committee of WWF South Africa came to the conclusion that, unless a separate body was set up to coordinate, facilitate and drive the process of TFCA establishment and funding, these peace parks would not receive the attention that was required to make them a reality. Accordingly, Peace Parks Foundation was established on 1 February 1997 with an initial grant of R1,2 million (US$ 260,000) from the Rupert Nature Foundation to facilitate the establishment of TFCAs in southern Africa as a first area of focus.

26 July 2018Joining forces to develop Banhine National Park

On the heels of a second partnership agreement signed between Peace Parks Foundation and Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC) to further develop Maputo Special Reserve

 read more

23 July 2018De Beers Group partners with Peace Parks Foundation on one of the largest elephant translocations in South Africa’s history

De Beers Group has begun to transport 200 elephants across 1,500km from its Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve (VLNR) in South Africa to Mozambique. The operation, one of the largest elephant translocatio

 read more

6 July 2018Elephants with a purpose

Why did 53 elephants travel more than 1 250 km across three different countries this month? Here’s why.

 read more

29 November 2017New ranger base for Limpopo National Park's 16th Anniversary

This week, Limpopo National Park (LNP) celebrated its 16th anniversary. Mozambique proclaimed the Park on 27 November 2001 and requested Peace Parks Foundation’s assistance in overseeing the park’

 read more

8 November 2017Unlocking the potential of Zinave National Park

Having been declared a protected area in 1972, only to then be ravaged by sixteen years of civil war from 1977-1992, the sun now rises over a different Zinave National Park in Mozambique. The implemen

 read more

25 August 2017Charles and Lumpy lead the way to Zinave

This week saw the first two of 54 elephants safely released in Zinave National Park, Mozambique. The two elephant bulls, Charles and Lumpy, were translocated from Dinokeng Game Reserve in Gauteng –

 read more

6 July 2017Lions poisoned for bone trade

[Maputo, 5 July 2017] On 3 July 2017 the tracks of three poachers were detected in the Intensive Protection Zone of Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. These were followed and it became clear that the

 read more

28 June 2017Dynamic alliance established to bolster rhino anti-poaching efforts

On the western boundary of Kruger National Park (KNP), private and community-owned game reserves - represented as the Greater Kruger Environmental Protection Foundation (GKEPF) - have joined forces wi

 read more

21 June 2017Rewilding Zinave National Park

This week saw the start of one of the largest wildlife translocation projects that Africa has ever seen, whereby 7 500 animals will find a new home in the 4 000 km² Zinave National Park in Mozambique

 read more

2 May 2017250 Bicycles Donated to Learners from Makuleke Community

On 26 April, Children in the Wilderness (CITW) and Qhubeka donated 250 bicycles to underprivileged learners at N’wanati High School in Limpopo’s Makuleke Community as part of Qhubeka’s innovativ

 read more