Launched at this year's Tourism Indaba, the new Lubombo Route offers tourists a glimpse of the best of the mountains, big five wildlife, and coastal attractions. The Lubombo Route is a joint undertaking between the governments of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa, with three different routes exploring five of the transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) straddling international boundaries between the nations.
With the relaxation of visa restrictions between the three countries, concerted efforts to eradicate malaria, new facilities and improvements in road and border infrastructure, the Lubombo Route is poised to become what was described at the launch as "a greatly significant tourism route that has, until now, not been formalised or extensively marketed."
The three routes, along with their smaller circuits, cover the coastal TFCA of Ponta do Oura - Kosi Bay (including the world heritage site of the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park); the elephant-rich Usuthu-Tembe-Futi TFCA which encompasses all three countries and hopes to eventually restore historical elephant migration routes; the Nsubane-Pongola TFCA; the Lubombo Conservancy-Goba TFCA; and the Songimvelo-Malolotja TFCA.
Since 1999, the three countries involved have been working on the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative, which saw the heads of state agree to foster greater levels of cooperation around tourism and economic development in the area. At the launch tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said, "We are delighted with the progress made with the route so far, but understand that there is still a long way to go.
We have provided support with infrastructure and marketing through our tourism marketing agencies. It is now critical that the private sector also begins to play a more direct role in the marketing of the region and the identified routes will provide a strong platform for this."
Highlights on the route include Kruger's big five, mountain ranges, diving on coral reefs, coastal lakes and lagoons, Border Cave with the longest record of uninterrupted human settlement in Africa, and cultural centres of the Zulu, Tsonga and Swazi people. For more information contact Roland Vorwerk (082 466 1251) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.