German Government support for the development of Namibia’s parks: Inauguration ceremony of Buffalo Park Station – Bwabwata National Park, Kavango East Region
Entrance Gate to Buffalo Park Station, © KfW
The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) celebrates the inauguration of the recently constructed Park Management Station in the Bwabwata National Park. The inauguration ceremony is scheduled to take place on 31 August 2019 at Buffalo and will be officiated by Hon. Pohamba Shifeta, Minister of Environment and Tourism, and Hon. Dr Gerd Müller, the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development.
The new Buffalo park station marks another milestone of a long-term joint development programme to improve Namibia´s National Parks. The Namibia Parks Programme, better known as “NamParks”, is currently in its fourth and fifth phase and has invested more thanN$450 million in the past 13 years in more than six National Parks across the country. NamParks is a programme of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism co-financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through KFW Development Bank.
The efforts of the Namibian-German Cooperation to develop the Namibian National Parks are steadily contributing to effective park management. The Namibian Parks Programme’s integrated approach involves neighbouring communities and other stakeholders: active collaboration and the resulting benefits maintain a permanent interest in the protection and well-being of the parks.
Building important park infrastructure will enable the Ministry to effectively and efficiently manage Bwabwata National Park and its support zones, in cooperation with resident communities and protecting the park’s unique flora and fauna. The park station will further assist in securing national and transboundary migratory routes for wildlife and managing and increasing tourism development in Bwabwata National Park.
The Buffalo park station was constructed with the assistance of the German Development Cooperation, and co-financed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism at a cost of N$32 million. The new park station includes ten two-bedroom houses for Senior Park
Management Staff; ten one-bedroom houses for Junior Park Management Staff; a national park entrance/ control gate across the B8 national road; a tourist reception; an administration building; a service building; a recreational room/common staff room; ablutions block with six toilets; six camping sites; a borehole with submersible pump installed in underground concrete shaft for elephant protection; a predator and elephant proof electrified fence around the entire station. Modern technology includes a solar hot water systems and containerized waste-water treatment plant. The park station will be connected to the national power grid and has a Diesel standby generator. Maintenance training and support for the upkeep of the new park infrastructure is being supported by NamParks.
The Namibian Parks Programme (NamParks) began in 2006 and until today new park stations have been built in Mahango and Susuwe (both Bwabwata National Park), in Mudumu National Park as well as in Khaudum and Sikereti (both Khaudum National Park). NamParks IV focuses on infrastructure development at Buffalo Station in Bwabwata as well as in Tsau//Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park. Beyond infrastructure NamParks has significantly contributed to integrated park management, tourism development planning, land use planning for Bwabwata National Park’s multiple use area, institutional support to the Bwabwata Advisory Committee, management plan development for the Zambezi State Forest, equity capital support for joint tourism ventures between conservancies and private tourism operators, development of park management and operational plans, national guidelines development for zoning and monitoring for protected areas, capacity building for MET park staff, etc.
The last phase of Namibian Parks Programme (Phase V) will focus on the development of Namibia’s coastal parks.