Water and Wetland Conservation

Umzi Wentaba Project – Great Fish River Valley

The project area is in the Great Fish River Catchment, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The study area is currently under agricultural land-use. The project, managed by the Landmark Foundation, investigated the feasibility of converting the land-use of the privately owned land in the area to a tourism- and game-based economy.The ultimate objective of the project was to align the land-use of a further 45 000 hectares with conservation. This project aimed to conserve the bio-diversity patterns and processes of this unique region. It is believed that this land-use change has the best potential for the socio-economic upliftment of the people of the region. Community empowerment and development of community equity in the business will be a central objective of this project.

This area could become the gateway to the magnificent Great Fish River Reserve, an area that has not been developed to its true potential for tourism (and a reserve that houses more than 100 endangered black rhino). It is the closest access point of the reserve to the enormous potential tourism market of the Eastern Cape. Its spectacular beauty and enormous tourism potential is well recognised. The area can cater for the full tourism spectrum, inclusive of the “Big Five” experience.

The project was completed through to the pre-feasibility stage. It was funded by MercyTech and ECDC