South Africa

The Republic of South Africa occupies the southernmost part of the African continent stretching from the Limpopo River in the north to Cape Agulhas in the south. Covering an area of 1,219,090 km², the country shares borders with Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe in the north, and with Swaziland and Mozambique in the north east. It  also entirely surrounds the Kingdom of Lesotho. To the west, south and east, South Africa borders the Atlantic and southern Indian oceans. The country’s coastline covers some 2,968 km. Lying 1,920 km south east of Cape Town in the Atlantic Ocean are the isolated Prince Edward and Marion islands, which were annexed by South Africa in 1947.

Summer in South Africa is from October until March and temperatures average between 15 °C at night and 35 °C at noon. Winter is from April to September with temperatures ranging from 0 °C or less at night to 20 °C at midday. Despite regional differences, South Africa’s climate is generally mild throughout the year. South Africa is a semi-arid country with a mean annual rainfall of 464mm per annum, compared to the world average of 857mm per annum, with snowfall limited to the highest mountain peaks of the Maluti-Drakensberg mountain range.

Of an estimated population of 50,586,000, around 77 % are of African origin, 10 % of European descent, Asians 3 % and those of mixed origins, known as Coloureds, 9 %. There are 11 official languages: English, Afrikaans, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa and Zulu, each of which is the first language for many of South Africa's people. The first democratic elections were held in 1994 and South Africa was then divided into nine new provinces including the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, North- West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Northern Province. Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa, other main centres are Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Democratic elections are held every five years and the Head of State is the President. The last elections were held in 2004

The South African economy is the most advanced on the African continent, with a sophisticated financial system that includes one of the top 10 stock exchanges in the world, and well developed physical, telecommunications, and energy infrastructures. As an emerging market in the global economy, South Africa is a leader and a competitive producer of raw commodity exports and value-added goods, such as motor vehicles. Major contributors of the manufacturing sector include chemicals, food, transport equipment, and iron and steel. Modern and sophisticated metal and engineering industries represent one-third of the manufacturing sector's contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Some 325,000 people are employed by over 9,000 companies. The dependence of the South African economy on mining has declined, and with that also its degree of exposure to commodity prices.

The tourism industry is rapidly developing into an important generator of employment opportunities. It is presently the fourth largest economic sector in South Africa with around 700 hotels, 2,800 guest houses, and more than 10,000 restaurants. The fastest-growing segment in the industry is ecotourism, including photographic safaris, bird watching, botanical studies, mountaineering, snorkelling and hiking. There are 17 national parks in South Africa, the largest being Kruger National Park in the Northern Province and Mpumalanga. Major tourist attractions include Table Mountain and the cable way, Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, Oudshoorn (Cango Caves, Cango Crocodile Ranch, Highgate and Safari Ostrich Farm), Karoo National Park, Sea World, Howick Falls, Drakensberg, Umfolozi Game Reserve, Natal National Botanical Gardens, St. Lucia Game Reserve, Pilgrim’s Rest, Gold Reef City, Pretoria National Botanical Gardens, Warmbaths, Sun City, Lost City and Pilanesberg National Park.

Lubombo Vulture Safe Zone

The following criteria have to be met in order to qualify as a VSZ:
1.    Poison is not illegally used in the control and killing of mammalian predators such as lion, hyaena, leopard, cheetah, jackal and caracal.
2.    Poison is not illegally used in the control and killing of crop raiding and crop damaging species such as monkeys, baboons, elephants and birds.
3.    Poisons are not illegally used to kill wildlife for its meat/skin or harvesting of body parts for trade and/or use in traditional medicine.

Learning and Knowledge Exchange Programme

The JMB has embarked on a process to support the development of a GLTFCA Learning and Exchange Programme. In order to support this GLTFCA initiative, the JMB submitted a proposal to the GIZ funded SADC TFCA Learning Partnership Micro Fund in March 2017 and the proposal was accepted. The inaugural learning and exchange visit took place from 5 to 9 August 2019 in Gonarezhou National Park.  Approximately 5 delegates from each one of the GLTFCA Partner Countries participated in this event.

Integrated Water Resource and Freshwater Management Strategy

The JMB has initiated a process to develop a Transboundary Freshwater Resource Management Strategy for the GLTFCA. The rationale is therefore to build on present momentum of recent river management successes through Integrated Water Resource Management and expand the systemic approach of aquatic ecosystem conservation to the entire scale of the GLTFCA. Immediate benefits of this approach are the delivery of resilient transboundary outcomes.

Rhino Protection Programme

The project works closely with the South African government and its conservation management authorities, South African National Parks (SANParks) and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife (Ezemvelo), as well as with Mozambique’s National Administration for Conservation Areas, to develop and implement practical, well-considered methods through which to address issues at various critical points along the so-called ‘poaching supply chain’, namely Protected area enforcement support, investigations and disruption of trafficking supply chains, and demand management within the consumer countries. 

“Hlawula Vutomi” Youth Programme

During discussions between Mozambique and South Africa regarding joint initiatives to address the escalating wildlife crime problem, it was suggested that specific interventions should be focused on the youth of the two countries.  It was further suggested that a youth awareness programme be developed as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Areas (GLTFCA) initiative.  The aim of this programme would be to develop interventions specifically designed to create awareness amongst the youth on the value of the natural heritage of the two countries.

Isivivane Anti-Poaching Toolbox

The project will focus on collecting this knowledge from the network of partners involved with joint law enforcement within the GLTP. Using this, it will develop a secure, centralized online anti-poaching toolbox to house and disseminate it.

GLTFCA Joint Security initiative

The project aims to disrupt transnational crime within the GLTP through the standardisation of Joint law enforcement by developing complementary law enforcement plans, facilitating joint law enforcement engagement between law enforcement agencies and boost key capability gaps.

Implementation of Integrated Livelihoods Diversification Strategy

The JMB has developed an Integrated Livelihoods Diversification Strategy with the support of the then USAID funded RESILIM (Resilience in the Limpopo River Basin Program) Programme and PPF. The main outputs of the Strategy development process included the following: 

Packaging of Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area tourism offerings

The Great Limpopo TFCA requires marketing and investment promotion interventions that go beyond conventional marketing, towards market development which focuses on both supply and demand sides, and that adds value to the tourism experience in a manner that expands the benefits of tourism to more than one country. This approach is intended to complement individual Partner Country efforts, while diversifying SADC’s tourism offerings through capitalising on the region’s natural and cultural heritage assets and contributing to socio-economic growth.

Improved Land and Air Access

Tourism offers the best potential for developing a sustainable local economy and growing the gross domestic product of the GLTFCA region.  To realise the tourism potential, facilities need to operate at minimum sustained occupancies to be viable. This is best achieved when the right policy environment helps reduce risk. To extract value, investment is required in facilities, skills and marketing. A well-known destination and a brand make it easier to achieve viability.