27-28 May 2021, UNDP Botswana, Resident Representative, Jacinta Barrins and the Director of Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Dr Kabelo Senyatso visited Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) of KD1, KD2, GH10 and GH11 as some of target areas for the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands Ecosystem Project (KGDEP). These areas are important wildlife migratory routes between the Kalahari Transfrontier Park (KTP) and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The duo was accompanied by the KGDEP team, representative from the Department of Town and Planning, Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Land board, Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Non-Governmental Organisations such as Kalahari Research and Conservation (KRC) and Cheetah Conservation Botswana (CCB).
The wildlife migratory corridors and in general the WMAs are affected (negatively and otherwise) by other development within the areas and therefore a need to adopt good/proper rangeland management and restore degraded rangelands, while also promoting and maintaining sustainable livelihood activities. It should be noted that the area has been identified as the world’s largest wilderness.
To safeguard this pristine wilderness and taking into account all factors which have relevance to the area, the Kgalagadi and Ghanzi Drylands Ecosystem Project is in the process of developing an Integrated Land Use Management Plan (ILUMP) for the area which aims at achieving the overarching goal of improving livelihoods and conserving the Kalahari wilderness, or ecosystem. The plan is at a scale of the entire wilderness i.e. 22 million hectares.
This field visit was therefore to familiarise stakeholders with pertinent issues to be addressed by the land use plan which is being developed and understand other dynamics within the wildlife management areas. This will usher in informed decision making on all aspects pertaining to the WMAs. The team had an opportunity to meetup with community leadership, community conservation trust and village development committee members of villages in the area. Some of the villages visited are Zutshwa (KD2), Ngwatle and Ncaang (KD1), Bere (GH11) and a site visit to Okwa Valley (GH10).