The Department of National Parks and Wildlife says transport challenges have eased in Lake Malawi National Park following a financial rescue by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Promoting Investment and Competitiveness in the Tourism Sector (PICTS) project.
Speaking during a familiarisation tour, the Department`s Division Manager for Upper Shire Division McPhillip Mwithokoma said park rangers are now able to patrol the Park as a result of a donation of a speed boat and other equipment by the Bank.
“AfDB has assisted us much in Lake Malawi National Park mainly in terms of law enforcement as you can see this boat is a boat which has been procured by AfDB is assisting us very much when it comes to law enforcement mainly on the lake.
“To do patrols we use this boat to make sure that people are observing the laws and regulations and are not destroying the natural resources,” said Mwithokoma.
According Mwithokoma, the Department had challenges in patrolling the Park as it was using a plank boat which he says it was not effective on issues to do with law enforcement on the lake.
Previously we were using a plank boat, and to use a plank boat it was big challenge when we have heavy winds on the lake and it was very difficult to reach some of the islands which are that are far away from our office, so with the coming of this speed boat we are now able to cover all the areas and islands under Lake Malawi National Park,” said the Upper Shire Division Manager.
The World Heritage Site 94km2 Lake Malawi National Park is the only Park in the world which has Mbuna species.
And on his part, Lake Malawi National Park Manager Talandila Kasapila has commended the country`s citizenry for patronizing tourism destinations including Lake Malawi National Park.
“Maybe we can say now there is a good publicity from the Ministry of Tourism, previously people were not aware of the treasures that we have in Malawi for instance Lake Malawi National Park as we are now having more locals visiting the Park,” said Kasapila.
The Park has 13 islands and it is only the Park in the world which has enclave villages which are main product of ecotourism.
Apart from the speed boat donation, AfDB has also assisted the Park with capacity building of the Park`s members of staff, floaters, camouflaged field uniforms, life jackets, tents and office equipment like computers and printers.