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TThe Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park aims to bring together some of the richest and most established wildlife areas in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, including South Africa’s world-famous Kruger, Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou and Mozambique’s Limpopo national parks.
Eventually this transfrontier park, which currently spans around 35 000km², will reach a size of almost 100 000km². Not bad, for an enterprise that began with the formation of a humble nature reserve in the trekboers’ South African Republic more than a hundred years ago.
Visitors are already able to cross to the Mozambican side through Giriyondo border post in the Kruger National Park. The Sengwe corridor joining Zimbabwe’s Gonarezhou to Kruger has yet to be finalised, but tourists will then be able to cross three international boundaries and enjoy a superb range of wildlife, including the African elephant, white rhino, giraffe, blue wildebeest (gnu), leopard, lion, cheetah and spotted hyena.
The development of this enormous protected area was formalised with the signing of an international treaty at Xai-Xai, Mozambique, by the heads of state of all 3 nations in December 2002. Since then, the super-park has seen the relocation of thousands of mammals. With the fences partially down between Kruger National Park and Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park, many thousands more have crossed on their own.
The Kruger National Park, where sightings of the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) are a regular occurrence, has a well-established tourism infrastructure which you could use as a base before heading off to the less-structured Mozambican side.
It’s worth the trip – Limpopo National Park boasts several attractions and camps, including the beautiful Machampane Wilderness Camp, from which trails are being run. You could go on a hiking trail on which you spend every night in the bush with guides – but if you prefer exploring in a vehicle, there are 4-wheel drive self-guided trails
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park has yet to be fully opened – it will only be completely established once there is free movement of animals and people along the length of all the international borders within the boundaries of the park.
But already it conserves wilderness and peace in areas where there was once conflict – at the same time offering some of southern Africa’s most exciting eco-tourism destinations.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Transfrontier Park Destinations (manage several properties in the South African areas of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park)
Tel: +27 (0)21 701 7860
How to get here
The opening of the Giriyondo Access Facility between the Limpopo and Kruger national parks in 2006 means that cross-border travel in the park is a relatively easy experience. Visitors wanting to cross the border should allow enough time to reach their destinations while adhering to speed limits.
Best time to visit
You can visit the park all year around, although many people prefer to travel in the cooler months of the year, from April to September, when wildlife is also more visible.
Tours to do
If you stay at the Machampane Wilderness Camp in Mozambique, they can organise 4-wheel drive and canoe tours.
Self-drive visitors will need a 4-wheel drive vehicle to explore the Mozambique side of the park, as it is still being developed. If you plan to stay on the South African side, a normal sedan car will suffice for most routes. There are also guided tours through the park available through various private tour operators.
Length of stay
You will need several days to explore the Mozambique and South African sides of the transfrontier park.
What to pack
You will need to take precautions against malaria. Good reference material and accurate maps – or GPS map apps – are needed. If you will be crossing the border, don’t forget your passport and make sure that your visa requirements are up to date.
Where to stay
There are a range of accommodation options to suit all budgets in the parks, although you’ll find more options on the South African side.
What to eat
Most camps in the Kruger National Park have shops and restaurants, but you will need to take your own food into Mozambique and cater for yourself, unless you are on an organised tour.
- Transfrontier Parks Destinations
- Machampane Wilderness Camp
- Peace Parks Foundation
- South African National Parks (SANParks)