By Sharon Chirwa:
Malawi has been named the best destination in Africa to visit in 2019 in terms of wildlife availability.
This is according to a report by Travelling Lemming Africa, a tourism website, which appreciated repopulation of wildlife in Malawi’s national parks.
The new ranking was revealed at a press briefing that African Parks held in Blantyre yesterday to update stakeholders on developments on the parks it manages.
Department of National Parks and Wildlife Director Brighton Kumchedwa attributed the new ranking to repopulation of wild animals.
“As you know, some of the animals had become extinct in the country. What this means is that Malawi Government’s efforts, in partnership with African Parks, has put Malawi on the map, making it the best place in Africa to visit in order to see wildlife,” Kumchedwa said
Majete Wildlife Reserve, Liwonde National Park, Kasungu National Park, Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve as well as Mangochi Forest Reserve have all been repopulated through efforts by African Parks and the government.
Apart from restocking the animals, African Parks has been working with communities surrounding national parks it manages in order to care for the wildlife reserves and reduce poaching.
“All protected areas are surrounded by human population, who are reliant on the natural resources. By working with them, we have introduced a positive mindset in terms of taking care of the environment,” he said.
African Parks Country Director Patricio Ndadzera said communities are benefiting by projects being done by the parks.
“While we manage what is within the park, it is important that the people outside the park also benefit. Honey with a Heart is one of the projects allowing farmers to sell their produce within and beyond Malawi,” Ndadzera said.
He said the annual interaction with stakeholders is beneficial.
“Much as we engage surrounding communities, it is important that we engage them on the national level so that they are aware of what we do with their money,” he said.
Ndadzera also said 2019 will see them improve enforcement of the law to further reduce poaching and make the parks safer for tourists and surrounding communities.