It was one of the rare occasions filled with excitement and joy, when Hon. Moses Vilakati,Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Kingdom of Eswatini in company of his August visitor, Mr.Curthbert Ncube, African Tourism Board Chairman and other Eswatini tourism stalwarts officially unveiled the Lubombo Biosphere Reserves, first of its kind in the Kingdom.

The event was also attended by the representatives from UNESCO ,other government Officials and the local chiefs who represented the communities within the vicinity .

Hon. Minister Vilakati emphasized the importance of cohabitation between Human beings and nature by saying “we should serve as the stewards and custodians of what has been gifted to us by the Creator which is the nature.

He also emphasised the position of King Mswati III as a lover of nature and a great protector and biggest custodian of it in all sense of it.

“His Majesty, the King, has been on his pro-acrive with his untiring endeavours at bringing this lovely Jewel of the continent to the world through assumption of true stewardship role by nit just appreciating nature but conserving of plants and keeping our animals safe in their habitations across the Kingdom ” .the minister said.

Hon. Vilakati further acknowledged the role of UNESCO in partnership with the Kingdom of Eswatini by including the her amongst the 154 countries that have unveiled the Man & Biosphere Reserves offices in the world.

This project also incorporated the communities as a part of the conservation. It is the best model that should be emulated world wide to curb the scourge of poaching that comes in so many forms, by working closely with the communities and giving them the share capital in the Biosphere Reserves in a sense that community involvement will prevent all kinds of misfortunes that are associated and causes distractions on the conservation efforts.

With multiple conservation Parks, the Mnister indicated an urgent need to consolidate and intergrate them into one or two attractive Parks that will bring a more attractions and convenience in terms of game viewing.
He however pleaded with the Communities to work hand in hand with the government in order to achieve the purpose of the initiative which is to benefit the current communities dwellers and the generations to yet to come.

Hon. Minister Vilakati also acknowledged the important roles the communities have played in preserving some of the historical paintings that dated back to more than 500 years ( The Bushman Paintings ) which attract tourists from all over the world and also the indigenous plants that have been used as medication for centuries that need to be more embraced by all, preserved and guided jealously as a way of protecting the heritage and handing it down from generation to generation.

The reason by the people to own dearly all these beauties – reserves, valleys, the mountains and nature in general came to the front burner through the inauguration of the project which aims at training and creating jobs for the communities as the country navigates towards the path of recovery from the effects of Covid-19 pandemic to an economic prosperous one.

ATB Chairman, Curthert Ncube applauded Hon. Minister Vilakati for his unwavering drive within the tourism space especially on his approach on community based tourism that is geared towards bringing benefits to the custodians of the conservation areas which he decribed as ” a laudable initiative” .

ATB pledged to work and support the minister’s efforts towards branding the Kingdom of Eswatini and ensuring the kingdom becomes another Dubai of Africa by attractions that will place her as one of the preferred destinations for the global and continental tourists .

By Kazeem Balogun

Kazeem Balogun is the Managing Editor of Kalo Africa News.

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