Tourism is what matters in Kissama
The KissamaNational Park is an attraction for domestic and foreign tourists. With an average of 300 visitors per month, it is the paradise of those who enjoy life outdoors, in contact with nature and wildlife.
The park is located 70 kilometers from Luanda and is almost ten thousand hectares long. It is a natural sanctuary of the fauna and flora of the region and is constituted by ecosystems that have a fundamental role in the balance of the Environment.
Its vegetation is varied. On the banks of the Kwanza river, mangroves and dense forest abound. Within the park the savanna, the open forest and the dry tropical forest with cacti and baobab trees prevail. Quisssama National Park has an inn and bungalows by the river Kwanza.
The park is currently run by the KissamaFoundation, which has been rehabilitating and maintaining it for 14 years. Miguel Savituma, the deputy administrator of the park, says that this nature reserve has contributed a lot to the development of tourism in Angola.
The great effort of the Executive in the struggle for the conservation and preservation of the fauna and flora is to be praised, “because today KissamaPark is returning to be what it was before the destruction it suffered”.
The KissamaFoundation began Operation Noah’s Ark to transport animals from neighboring countries such as South Africa and Botswana to the park. The foundation has a partnership with the Ministry of Environment and the Bengo Provincial Government.
The fruits of Noah’s Ark
Created 10 years ago, the Noah Ark Project continues to be a great investment by the Executive in the conservation and preservation of the fauna and flora in the country.
Several species in the KissamaNational Park are reproducing in a satisfactory way, according to park manager Miguel Savituma, who announced a considerable increase in species such as elephants, giraffes, zebras, steers and ostriches, animals offered by the Government of South Africa in 2001, and placed in the ark. Miguel Savituma told our report that of the 30 elephants received there are already 65. Giraffes have increased from 4 to 14, and the 16 zebras have already given a hundred calves. There are already dozens of gungas. The remaining animals reproduce at rates of 20 to 40 percent because they are more climate dependent.
At first, the animals of the “ark” were placed in an area equivalent to ten percent of the protected and supervised area of the park. Today the animals already live scattered throughout its length.
“Operation Noah’s Ark” was the largest animal transport in history and has made the park restore its natural state.
The continuity of the rehabilitation and repopulation of the park is intended to preserve wildlife, on the one hand, and the protection of the ecosystem, on the other.
The animal species of repopulation come from South Africa and Botswana, because these countries have surpluses and these species of the “ark” offer conditions of rapid adaptability to the Angolan soil.
For the administrator Miguel Savituma, it was thanks to the project “Ark of Noah” that it was possible to do the rehabilitation of the wildlife in the Quissama.
Villages in the park
KissamaNational Park, in addition to animal life, also houses 98 families, which, according to Miguel Savituma, is a major concern for local officials and also for the Ministry of Environment.
According to the administrator Miguel Savituma, the families living inside the park have caused minor accidents, such as fires, which has frightened the animals.
Miguel Savituma acknowledges that thanks to the work of the Ministry of Environment and the Quissama, the populations have received environmental education and notions of conservation and preservation of conservation areas. Thanks to this continuous training, the inhabitants of the park already have respect for nature, which also led to a decrease in poaching within the park.
“Lately we have already noticed that people have respect for nature, especially for animals,” said the deputy administrator. The Ministry of the Environment recommends that villages within the park should be maintained as long as there is no population increase.
But the rule is to encourage everyone out of the limits of the KissamaNational Park, which means building “ecological villages”, according to a recommendation from the Ministry of the Environment.
The Ministry of the Environment will start to charge licensing fees to tour operators and companies that carry out services inside the KissamaNational Park, according to the director of the folder, Fátima Jardim, last week announced.
The governor, who went to the Park to reaffirm the authority of the Ministry, defended the conservation of the parks and the improvement of the management mechanisms, a task for which all sectors intervened, in order to avoid acts of counter-conversion environmental law in the country.
“We are doing studies to requalify the parks, not only in Quissama, but throughout the country, so that they are areas of excellence, using the biodiversity and other wealth they have,” said the minister.
Inspection in the park
KissamaNational Park currently has 24 inspectors, which is insufficient for general control of the park: “we only have 24 inspectors, which gives 12 for each shift, even though it is not enough to respond to our needs,” said Miguel Savituma.
The Ministry of the Environment and the KissamaFoundation set up the inspection body “so that poaching can be reduced or even stopped.”
Miguel Savituma argues that the inspection of the park should be strengthened, given the high number of tourist investments inside the park without the knowledge of the Ministry of Environment or the administration of the foundation.
“KissamaPark has no capacity to accommodate a large number of visitors, hence the need to expand existing structures so that our visitors are accommodated in a more appropriate way,” said the administrator.
Established as a Game Reserve on April 16, 1938, it was elevated to the status of National Park on April 11, 1957, being one of the largest in the country. It is located 70 kilometers from Luanda, in the southern part of the province of Bengo. The park covers an area of 9,600 km².
The KissamaNational Park is bordered to the north by the Kwanza River from Muxima to the sea. The South is bordered by the Longa River from the road from Mumbondo to Capolo to the sea.
To the west the boundary is the coastline between the mouth of the Kwanza River and the mouth of the Longa River, which is 120 kilometers off the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. And, to the east, it is bordered by the road connecting Muxima, Demba Chio, Mumbondo and Capolo to the Longa River.