Celebrating our neighbouring SADC countries, we look at the beautiful Bazaruto Archipelago National Park in Mozambique and 50 years of successful conservation.
Maputo, Mozambique (04 June 2021) – African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities.
The organisation currently manage 19 parks in 11 African countries, including Malawi, Zambia, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Chad, intending to manage 30 parks by 2030.
Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP), Mozambique’s first and oldest marine national park, celebrated its 50th year anniversary on May 28th, 2021, coinciding with the 10th Anniversary of the National Administration of Conservation Areas (ANAC), a division of the Mozambican Government responsible for conservation within the country. To commemorate BANP’s founding, its progress over the last 50 years, and the role the park plays for local communities, a celebratory event was held in Sitone, on Bazaruto Island. Attendees included representatives from the Inhambane provincial government, ANAC, the district government of Inhassoro and Vilankulo, the magistrates, local communities, the tourism sector and media, among others.
BANP was founded on May 25th, 1971, in a progressive move by the Government of Mozambique to protect this outstanding seascape – a natural asset of significant national and global value. Made up of five islands, three of which are home to approximately 5,000 local people, the archipelago provides sanctuary for thousands of fish species, whales, manta rays, dolphins, nesting marine turtles, as well as the region’s last remaining viable population of dugongs. Its sheer beauty and diversity of wildlife have made Bazaruto a coveted Indian Ocean tourist destination.
Bazaruto has experienced some key milestones over the years from its initial founding in 1971, which declared a 1,430 km2 area as the country’s first national marine park, recognising its importance for at least five species of turtles and harbouring a viable population of critically endangered dugongs. In 2017, ANAC invited conservation organisation African Parks to enter into a 25-year-long agreement to restore, develop and manage Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, and revitalise it to become one of the leading and most productive marine protected areas in eastern Africa. Since 2017, Bazaruto now maintains a significant ranger team of 53 well-trained individuals, 16 of whom are women, who actively patrol the park to prevent illegal activities, especially large-scale fishing, within its boundaries.
“We were honoured to partner with ANAC in 2017 to assist them in realising their vision of ensuring that this significant landscape be adequately protected long into the future” said Bazaruto Park Manager, Armando Guenha.
“This is a unique park where thousands of people are dependent on it being managed and protected, because it supports their livelihoods – from the food it produces, to the jobs it creates. It is our privilege to be working with the Government of Mozambique to help protect this profoundly important ocean gem, something they saw worth protecting 50 years ago”.