This past weekend, Tsodilo village in northern Botswana was a hive of activities to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Tsodilo Hills World Heritage Site inscription.
Tsodillo hills, one of the world’s oldest historical sites famous for high concentration of rock paintings were listed as a World Heritage Site on 13th December on 2001 under the 1972 UNESCO Convention in recognition of the immense symbolic religious significance for the human communities, good record of occupation for thousands of years and outstanding rock art.
Speaking at the event, Botswana’s Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism Minister, Ms. Philda Nani Kereng reflected on the important developments over the past two decades.
“Another strategic development within the 20 years has been the gravelling of the Nxmasere-Chukumuchu road that passes through Tsodilo village. Prior to this development, it took more than 3 hours to traverse about 40kms between Nxamasere and Tsodilo. Today it takes less than one hour to cover the same distance. Numbers of tourists have exponentially increased; smaller cars can access the site,” she said.
Other notable developments include development and launch of the Tsodilo-Nxauxau heritage trail that links Tsodilo and Gcwihaba heritage sites, construction of the Tsodilo Hills National Museum and well as the establishment of the Tsodilo Community Development Trust in 2006.
Minister Kereng who paid tribute to the Tsodilo Community Development Trust for effective utilization of proceeds from entrance fees also reiterated government’s commitment to complying with the UNESCO conservation and management tool – the Periodic Reporting. She recognized the support from various cooperating partners including UNESCO, UNDP, the Federal Republic of Germany, KAZA Secretariat, and Birdlife Botswana for their support.
As part of activities, stakeholders participated in the Tsodilo Heritage Challenge Walk, led by the designated Chief Walker, Amantle Montsho, a renowned field athlete and the first woman to represent Botswana at the Olympics. Ms. Montsho, who has represented Botswana at the Summer Olympics and World Championships has won 9 Gold Medals and 3 Silver medals during her career.
With more than 4500 rock art paintings, Tsodilo is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites found in KAZA TFCA landscape. The other two UNESCO sites are the Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta.
Recently, with financial support from the Federal Republic of Germany through KAZA, the Tsodillo Community Development Trust benefitted from Botswana’s share of the COVID emergency relief support for the refurbishment of the community campsite. The project was implemented by Birdlife Botswana as part of the COVID relief emergency support for salaries of community-based organisations’ staff, polers and guides as well as alternative livelihoods projects.
The Tsodilo campsite rehabilitation project was part of the latter and focused on priorities outlined in the business plan for the refurbishment of Tsdodilo Hills World Heritage Site such as renovation of infrastructure at the museum, ablutions and development and installation of signage.
About the KAZA Secretariat
The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Secretariat was established in 2011 by the KAZA Partner States to manage the day-to-day operations of the TFCA. Its overall mandate is to facilitate the development of KAZA TFCA into a world-class conservation area and premier tourism destination. This mandate is executed under the guidance of KAZA Partner States with support from development partners and a consortium of stakeholders.