Zimbabwe is losing millions of dollars in potential tourism revenue by its lack of commitment to the development of its side of the tri-nation great Mapungubwe Transfrontier Game Park.
Source: Zim losing millions of tourism revenue – NewsDay Zimbabwe December 28, 2016
BY Own correspondent
Mapungubwe lies on the south-western part of the country where Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe borders meet.
The three countries have, in a historic move to show co-operation, pulled down their border fences to allow free movement of shared wildlife.
On their side, Botswana and South Africa have established an official border posts allowing increased movement in their sides of the park.
Zimbabwe is yet to do the same and even build a bridge across the Limpopo river in the area of the park to facilitate increased tourist movement.
Beitbridge’s bottlenecks are not the best of experiences for tourists, hence, suggestions that another bridge should be built.
The suggestions have, however, remained on paper killing potential tourists to the inaccessible Zimbabwean side.
Mapungubwe’s scenic landscapes, sandstone rock formations similar in all three fronts and abundancy of wildlife form one of the most visually and naturally beautiful areas in southern Africa according to research.
In addition to wildlife species to include elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, giraffe and 18 other mammals, 26 plant species and many bird species the park is a natural attraction.
Zimbabwe, contributes 960 square kilometres of the 4 872 square kilometre park, an added attraction is the historical Fort Tuli.
Dinausor fossils, a historic rain-making ceremony venue, Bushmen paintings, a house where Cecil John Rhodes lived, a launch pad for the Jameson Raid in the second Anglo Boer War are all found at Fort Tuli.
These are however, poorly marketed and do not have the all-weather accessibility owing to poor roads.
The envisaged bridge would cure that by quickly linking tourists to better South African and Botswana roads.
South Africa boasts of a lost ancient city headquartered on the Mapungubwe hill where an empire existed before the Great Zimbabwe Empire was built.
Rock walls similar to the Great Zimbabwe monuments are in South Africa creating a possible link between the two.
That country has developed attractive camps and lodges around its section of Mapungubwe and deployed staff who run the park.
“We host thousands of people annually and the park is on every school’s diary as a ‘must visit’. We are busy during holidays with tourists from as far afield as Canada,” a South African Parks official told journalists during a recent tour of the area 70 kilometres west of Musina.
The journalists, two from Zimbabwe and three from South Africa, during the tour joined an Eco-camp of 15 children drawn from the three countries.
The kids aged between 11 and 14 were on leadership and conservation course run by Children in the Wilderness, an organisation with programmes in Mapungubwe.
“We plan to have these eco-clubs extended to target adults in the villages for them to realise the importance of living in harmony with nature,” Sue Snyman said.
Snyman is the regional programme director of Children in the Wilderness and part of Wilderness Safaris contracted by the South African government to promote tourism in Mapungubwe.
Wilderness Safaris host the annual Tour deTuli cycling even, the Wild Run hosted from any of the three countries, but South Africa by virtue of having more infrastructure, government commitment and dedication enjoys the lion’s share.
While South Africa and Botswana rake millions of dollars annually from rheir sections of the common park, Zimbabwe can only watch.