Mangetti becomes newest national park
Let me however inform you all that there will only be one entrance for tourism and the general public, and one will have to go through the authorities and a certain fee has to be paid for entrance unless if the [ministry] has waived such fees in accordance with the Nature Conservation Ordinance” said the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon Uahekua Herunga last week Friday when he officially opened the new Mangetti National Park.
The Mangetti National Park trace its origins back to the former Administration of the Kavango when authorisation was obtained to fence in the area as a breeding area for several game species which needed special protection. The land falls within the traditional area of the Ukwangari tribe. It was known as the Mangetti Game Camp.
Upon independence, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism accepted responsibility for the management of the Mangetti Game Camp in consultation with the Ukwangali Traditional Authority. The camp was however not given any legal status.
In 1992, the Ukwangali Traditional Authority requested the ministry, after consultation, to proclaim the Mangetti Game Camp a conservation area to be managed by the ministry for the benefit of the Traditional Authority and its community. Continuous pressure was exerted by the Traditional Authority led by the Honourable Hompa, Mr. Daniel Sitentu Mpasi, to proclaim the area so that the Ukwangali Traditional Authority can have a park in their area from which they can benefit similar to the arrangements with other Traditional Authorities.
In 2002, the Traditional Authority approached the ministry again with the request that the Mangetti Game Camp should be granted legal conservation status and that game which disappeared from the area be reintroduced for the benefit of the community.
It was then decided that the area must be managed as a national park by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The Mangetti Game Camp was proclaimed a national park on 15 September 2008 after which the ministry started to grade a network of roads and to construct a proper entrance and reception area. In the meantime, certain game species have been reintroduced. It is known for its typical savanna landscape, abundant biodiversity and a range of ecosystems and it hosts a variety of large mammals species such as elephant, eland, rhino, blue wildebeest, plains zebra, giraffe and the rare sable antelope. It has healthy populations of leopard and hyena and it is home to the critically endangered African Wild Dog.
The ministry plans to establish a bush lodge in the Mangetti. Similar to Khaudom, presently only very basic amenities are available.