Tuesday, the 12 May 2020 provides an opportunity for the region to celebrate 20 years since the establishment of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. On 12 May 2000, President Festus Mogae of Botswana and President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa formally launched Africa’s first transfrontier park. At the time, it served as a symbol of the long anticipated dawn of transnational interdependence and cooperation in Southern Africa.
The #kgalagadi2020 virtual celebration of 20 years of transfrontier conservation in SADC brought together conservation and tourism partners in Botswana, South Africa and the region in support of a collaborative, cost effective and carbon-neutral campaign. These are key principles that can guide a collective response in the Southern Africa’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 20 days from 12-31 May 2020, a social media campaign was structured around 3 themes: Nature and Landscapes; Adventures and Experiences; Heritage and Community. Kgalagadi Sightings, Northern Cape Tourism Authority, Botswana Tourism Organisation, SANParks, South African Tourism and other partners posted on their social media platforms reaching more than 600,000 Facebook and 340,000 Instagram followers. The public was encouraged to share their experiences and could win prizes including travel guides, locally produced craft and holiday experiences based on the 3 themes.
The national TFCA focal points of Botswana and South Africa were supported by the Boundless Southern Africa unit to coordinate a task team of partners of the #kgalagadi2020 campaign. According to Roland Vorwerk, Marketing Manager, Boundless Southern Africa, "more than 500 people participated in the virtual celebration by sharing photos and experiences using the #kgalagadi2020 tag, generating more than 60,000 likes and 7,000 comments, making it a very cost-effective collective effort."