Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
Infrastructure development (Sioma Ngwezi HQ)
Darter Chobe and Zambezi Rivers
African Elephant, Chobe River, Botswana
KAZA TFCA office-Sesheke Zambia (supported by WWF Netherlands and WWF Germany)
Impalas, Chobe National Park
Traditional Dancers, Botswana
Hippopotamus, Chobe River, Botswana
Chili Production HWC, Namibia
KAZA TFCA Landscapes
Traditional Dancers, Namibia
Ngonye Falls, Visitor’s Center, Zambia (Supported by DGIS and PPF)
African Fish Eagle, Chobe River
Chobe River Sunset


A result of the shift in the paradigm for conservation from people versus nature to people centred conservation initiatives has been the emergence of projects integrating the themes of conservation and development, termed “Conservation-with-Development”, “Community Based Natural Resource Management” and “Conservation and Development Initiatives”.

In several of the KAZA countries, important models of such projects exist, with varying degrees of success. The proposed KAZA TFCA has enabled the opening of doorways for the flow of information between different community based conservation initiatives between the countries.

Over the years, key deficiencies have been identified in various models of participatory management practise in the sub region including poor governance, low participation numbers, limited land rights, low participation of females, over dependence on hunting and tourism, limited decision making autonomy, HIV/AIDS, reduced donor funding, and human wildlife conflict.

Currently there are few models of participatory management in Angola, and none in the country’s KAZA component. A national level framework is yet to be developed as under current Angolan legislation, there are no protected area categories which allow for conservancies in which communities have primary rights over resource management.

“Regional Parks” may be the most appropriate classification, at present, to achieve objectives of community based conservation. A national Angolan NGO, ACADIR, has set up a consultative framework for trans boundary river basin management through the Every River Has its People Programme, and is working with NGOs in Botswana and Namibia on implementation of the framework.

The aim of the project is to establish mechanisms for communities to discuss decisions made by the Permanent Okavango River Basin Commission (OKACOM). The USAID sponsored programme IRBM (Integrated River Basin Management) has also worked with several communities in Mucusso to conduct diagnostic assessments, plan through consultations, build a community centre and mitigate human elephant conflict.

Community Based Natural Resource Management gained momentum in Botswana in the 1990s. CBNRM in the country has enjoyed a reasonable level of success however some of the main constraining factors are related to governance, particularly financial management. The Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust (CECT) was the first child born of the CBNRM process in Botswana in 1993 and includes 5 villages within KAZA. Most income generated by this and other trusts in KAZA is from hunting and photographic safaris, and land rentals to private enterprises and tour companies. Income generated is spent on capital investments for farming, initiating small businesses, investing in capacity building, other community investments such as school buses and football kits, and employment of community members into these opportunities.

Currently Namibia has one of the most successful models of participatory management through the establishment of conservancies. The Caprivi Region, which is the country’s main contribution to the KAZA TFCA, is patterned with 10 established conservancies some more successful than others, with at least 6 more emerging. Conservancies are community run trusts or committees that engage in natural resource management activities such as wildlife population monitoring, reintroduction of game species, leasing land to private tour operators for lodges and hunting, and implementation of human wildlife mitigation schemes.

Revenue generated through these activities is divided between members and fed into a trust through which development programmes are financed. The conservancy model has shown that wildlife and conservation can be viable and fruitful land use options.

Through these conservancies, communities now have limited rights to manage wildlife and natural resources; increased benefit flow from natural resource management in the form of employment, sales of crafts, and meat distribution; increased capacity to enter into agreements with the private sector; and increased capacity to establish their own tourism facilities.

In 1987, the Luangwa Integrated Resource Development Project was initiated which allowed controlled hunting. Revenue generated from the same was directed towards development projects in the local areas and towards the financing of game guards recruited in the National Park.

This project involved many Ministries and government agencies. LIRDP formed the basis of a nationwide scheme for conserving and managing wildlife called Administrative Design Management for Game Management Areas or ADMADE which is still in use in Zambia.

Revenue from safari and other hunting fees is used to offset costs of wildlife management, and to finance local community projects. There is room for improvement with regards to the benefits accrued to communities through these models while simultaneously achieving the conservation goals.

The most well known CBRNM initiative in the sub region is the Communal Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources or CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe. CAMPFIRE has two founding pillars: first, that the people living with wildlife must reap the benefits from wildlife resources as they pay the greatest price for conservation. Secondly, those local communities have a collective responsibility to manage their natural resources.

CAMPFIRE places emphasis on communal initiation and control, with decision making authority over wildlife resources being devolved to the district level. While this is a revolutionary step of devolving power to the local authorities, this power does not lie with the communities themselves. CAMPFIRE envisions a system of natural resources cooperatives with essentially the same rights and obligations as private owners of commercial ranches with the local communities as shareholders and it has been endorsed by the Government of Zimbabwe and is still being recognized (www.campfire-zimbabwe.org).