The Lubombo Transfrontier Park
Did you know?
In Kosi Bay, local people have used fish traps sustainably for over 700 years.
When elephants were released into iSimangaliso Wetland Park in 2002, walking its earth for the first time in over 100 years, former President Nelson Mandela said:
'This must be the only place on the globe where the world's oldest land mammal (the rhinoceros) and the world's biggest land mammal (the elephant) share an ecosystem with the world's oldest fish (the coelacanth) and the world's biggest marine mammal (the whale).'
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is a keystone of the planned Lubombo Transfrontier Park . This is Africa's very first marine and coastal transfrontier conservation area.
It has hundreds of kilometres of coastline and beaches, all the charismatic megafauna you might wish to see, three major lake systems – including Kosi Bay, Lake St Lucia and Lake Sibayi – and dozens of game reserves within the broader Maputaland region, a globally recognised centre of endemism.
There are also five Ramsar wetlands of global importance, and the exquisite beaches are sanctuaries for giant turtles.
This new transfrontier conservation area, involving South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique, is arguably the most complex of the six transfrontier parks involving South Africa.
One of the most notable projects, involving KwaZulu-Natal's transfrontier area, is extending Mozambique's Maputo Special Reserve southwards to the Tembe Elephant Park. This corridor will reconnect two elephant populations fragmented by the civil war in Mozamibique and cut off by a fence in 1989.
The Lubombo transfrontier conservation area may be rich in natural assets, but for decades the people living around here suffered terrible poverty. Conservation efforts are changing all that, creating jobs, training and unprecedented opportunities. New bridges link communities, and roads provide all-weather access to clinics and schools. And this infrastructure itself was created by hiring the poorest of the poor.