Friday, 11 October 2013

Rediscovering Kafue National Park

From the Times of Zambia (click to read the unedited orginal article)

With the tourism sector ranked only third after mining and agriculture in the importance of country's economy, the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) is hopeful that sites like Kafue National Park can change the status quo. "Kafue National Park is one of the forgotten places in Zambian tourism," acknowledges ZTB director for marketing Mato Shimabale.

The Kafue National Park is named after the river that runs through it - dominating everything on its 250-kilometre stretch but the splendour has not been enhanced by water alone.

The wild sanctuary encloses an area of 22,400 square kilometres - the size of Wales in the United Kingdom - and offers a variety of animals and birds that have enriched its status as the biggest wildlife park in Africa.

It was declared a protected area in 1924 when British colonialists decided to reserve it as a park from the Nkoya hunters in the western part before the Kaondes were equally driven out from the Busanga swamps in the north.

However, despite all the rich history and the gorgeous physical outlook, the park lacks the precision to attract a reasonable number of tourists that can reverberate its rich history after visiting it.

"This is the biggest park in Africa and second largest in the world, so we need to continue to tell that story."

Mr Shimabale added: "We believe that with the Kafue National Park, the Victoria Falls, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks, we have all the ingredients to make Zambia become a tourism destination."

Comparisons with similar big parks on the continent do not make any good reading for Zambia as far as income generation is concerned. For instance, it is estimated that South Africa's Kruger National Park, which is almost as big as the Kafue, attracts a million tourists per year. Kafue only boasts of a paltry 10,000 per annum.

"If you look at South Africa, it earns US$9 billion from tourism alone per annum while Zambia earns US$6 billion per annum from copper exports," Mr Shimabale said. "So this shows that if we put our efforts together on tourism we can actually begin to earn more money from tourism as a country than what we are earning from copper today."

Source and full article: Times of Zambia

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