Angola is seeking to capitalise on the vast conservation area between the Okavango and Zambezi rivers that it shares with neighbouring Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, reports Lusa.
The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, established in a 2011 treaty, encompasses 36 national parks across five countries for a total area of 520,000 square kilometres. At 90,000 square kilometres, Angola holds the third largest share but has done the least to develop its tourism potential.
That Angola signed, but never ratified, the conservation treaty has created difficulties in accessing international funds and attracting investment for tourism development. Access and a lack of border posts also hinder tourist movement, as does the lingering threat of mines left over from Angola’s nearly 30-year civil war.
Only around 50 percent of the Angolan section of the conservation area, located in the south-eastern province of Cuando Cubango, is currently cleared for travel. The demining process is ongoing and the government is working hard with NGO partners such as Halo Trust to ensure that the area is safe for future tourists.
Thanks to the latter’s efforts, animals have begun returning and once the cross-border posts are made official, tourists are expected to follow. The Polo de Okavango Basin Tourism Development Board (PDTBO) estimates around 10,000 to 15,000 tourists will visit Angola in 2024.
Wild fauna like elephants, buffalo and giraffes will attract many, while others will take advantage of opportunities for sport fishing and camping. The tourism board expects the influx to generate 1,500 jobs in the communities in Cuando Cubango, noting that local ethnic groups such as the Nganguela and the Khoisan “are the best guides” for tourists eager to explore.