Gonarezhou Conservation Trust (GCT) has rehabilitated and maintained 260km of roads in Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) allowing for better mobility within the park.
The GCT is a new model for protected area management drawn up between the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society and is directly responsible for the management of Gonarezhou for a period of 20 years.
GNC Business Development Manager, Simon Capon, says the work was done by two teams from the local communities. “The roads are obviously critical for various reasons, primarily for management, being a conservation area and national park.” He adds that, as tourism is a key element in supporting the conservation efforts and investment into the park, it is important that the roads ease mobility and showcase the key attractions in Gonarezhou.
“The work on the roads varies according to the type of road in the park and what the problem is. In some areas we have had to build culverts to cross small streams during the wet season, other areas we have had to fix erosion gullies and other areas is just general maintenance and adding gravel/resurfacing the road,” he says.
Chiredzi-based Lowveld Travel Director, Adelaide Chikunguru commented: “Good roads in the park are important for tour operators and others since it becomes possible to access most areas of interest within the park. Good roads also reduce wear and tear on vehicles, thereby reducing operational costs. With good roads, self-drive game drives are possible and enjoyable, which is a plus for Gonarezhou National Park as more and more tourists will visit.”
“Wild animals move around in almost all areas of the national park. As tour operators, we should be able to follow them wherever they are, whenever it is necessary in order to give full value to our clients. Good roads will make this possible,” says Chiredzi-based Lowveld Wanderer Director, Samuel Mogwai.