Edited by David Pearce, Corin Pearce and Charles Palmer
Chapter 9: Valuing visits to game parks in South Africa
9. Valuing visits to game parks in South Africa Brett Day 1 INTRODUCTION The South African province of KwaZulu-Natal sits in the south-eastern corner of the African continent (see Map 9.1). Despite South Africa’s relative development, the area boasts an impressive diversity of natural habitat. In the west of the province, bordering Lesotho, are the mighty Drakensburg Mountains, a unique montane ecosystem and the last redoubt in Southern Africa of the bearded vulture. On the north-eastern coast can be found the huge inland lagoon of St. Lucia, home to an amazing variety of birds and wildlife and a recently declared UNESCO World Heritage site. Further north still is Sodwana Bay, the most southerly extension of coral reefs on the African continent. And across the north-east of the province lie vast areas of wilderness, home to that most archetypal of African wildlife, the savannah megafauna, including elephants, rhinos, buﬀalo, antelope and big cats. KwaZulu-Natal boasts an extensive system of protected areas managed and maintained by the KwaZulu-Natal Parks Board (KNPB). The protected area network varies from small, local nature reserves a few hundred hectares in size to internationally renowned game reserves covering areas of several hundred square kilometres. Amongst the latter are the game reserves of Hluhluwe, Umfolozi, Mkuzi and Itala, which form the focus of this study (see Map 9.2). The KNPB’s responsibilities are twofold: (1) to protect and conserve the natural habitats and wildlife in these protected areas, and (2) to provide facilities that allow members of the...
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