12 Oct 2014 14:40pm
MANGETTI, 12 OCT (NAMPA)- The Mangetti National Park, situated some 110km south of Rundu in the Kavango West Region, officially opened its gates for tourism and the general public on Friday.
The park, which covers an area of 420 square kilometres, was proclaimed a national park on 15 September 2008 with the aim of reducing rural poverty through conservation and to generate benefits from tourism by local communities.
The most abundant animal species in the park are eland and blue wildebeest, with populations of over 400 and 200, respectively.
Environment and Tourism Minister Uahekua Herunga, who opened the park, said since the proclamation of the park, the ministry has been hard at work putting tourism infrastructure in place such as a reception centre and proper road network, while game have been reintroduced to the park to boost the already existing populations and attract tourists.
He said the park is very special, as it is a pristine piece of nature and is one of the best places in the world to enjoy a true wilderness experience.
The park has a typical savanna landscape, abundant biodiversity, a range of ecosystems; hosts a variety of large mammals such as elephants, eland, rhino, blue wildebeest, plain zebra, giraffe and the rare sable antelope.
As such, the attraction of the Mangetti National Park to tourists is not questionable. Communities neighbouring the national park therefore have an opportunity to utilise these resources in a sustainable manner, he noted.
Herunga added that the park will broadly contribute to the countrys fast-growing tourism sector, and is recognised as having considerable potential to contribute to poverty reduction and local and national economic development.
According to him, Mangetti joins other national parks in providing recreational and educational opportunities to both Namibian and foreign visitors as a source of wildlife.
Herunga announced that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism will soon start with the establishment of a bush lodge in the park and the awarding of tourism concessions on State land.
Such establishment of a bush lodge will generate thousands of dollars to the local communities. All this is aimed at our wildlife conservation and reducing poverty among our communities which our government is committed to address, he said.
The minister announced that since the proclamation of the Mangetti National Park, an amount of N.dollars 1,1 million has been generated through trophy hunting in the park which went directly to neighbouring communities through the Ukwangali Traditional Authority and the Kavango Regional Council.