THE PROVINCE OF KUANDO KUBANGO
Kuando Kubango is the second largest province in Angola, after Moxico. It is situated in the south-west of the country and borders on the provinces of Bié and Moxico to the north, with Huíla and Cunene to the west, with Moxico and the Republic of Zambia to the east and the Republic of Namibia to the south.
The city of Menongue was founded on the banks of the River Kuebe and due to the tremendous efforts of its inhabitants, offers the visitor an architectural beauty which is second to none, apart from breathtaking landscapes which can be seen at the wonderful Dório Cambumbe Dam, eight kilometres outside the city, the River Kuebe swimming pool, the zoo and the Trade Fair in the city centre.
It has an area of 199, 049 km2 and its municipalities are: Kuito Menongue, Cuanavale, Cuchi, Cuangar, Longa, Mavinga, Calai, Dirico and Rivungo. The population (14,999) lives mainly from agriculture.
It was one of the worst affected provinces during the war, which lasted for 20 years, with a high levei of military instability, mainly in the municipalities of Mavinga and Kuito Cuanavale.
Mother Nature gave the region of Kuando Kubango endowed beauty. Its tourist potential is enormous but these are unexploited at present due to lack of investment. However, the state is working to find tourist operators interested in the region.
In all of the nature reserves and hunting reserves in the region, apart from the animals and other tourist attractions, there is a great variety of flora, extremely valuable for the balance of the ecosystem, with great aesthetic beauty and enormous medicinal value, although it is still under-exploited.
The Ministry of Hotelling and Tourism intends to strike a balance between taking full advantage of tourism and the protection of the environment in the natural parks. It is intended to cause the minimum possible negative impact on the parks due to the number of visitors and to guarantee the best possible development of the ecosystems.
Mavinga Nature Reserve: This reserve was created on 17th September, 1966 and has an area of 5,950 km2. Among the many species of animals that can be found here are elephants, black rhinoceros, common black palanca, the lion, leopard, hyena, kaku and ostrich.
Hunting reserves (Coutadas)
Main Tourist attractions
Best known as “ The land at the End of the World”, Kuando Kubango is Angola’s second largest province, but one of the least densely populated, with an area of 77,000 square miles settled by some 500,000 inhabitants.
It is situated in the far southeastern corner of Angola, bordering with Zambia and Namibia. As much of the province’s southern border lies along Namibia’s narrow Caprivi Strip, the countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa are also easily accessible. The province thus forms Angola’s main gateway into the rest of southern Africa, and has the potential to become a crucial hub for cross-border trade.
“Kuando Kubango is one of Angola’s most privileged provinces in terms of geographical position. The only way for our country’s trade produce to be transported by land to the profitable markets of Namibia and South Africa is via Kuando Kubango,” says the province’s governor, Jorge Biwango.
Despite the potential for lively cross-border trade, Kuando Kubango is one of Angola’s least developed provinces. Being so far from the capital city, it has become something of a forgotten region. The provincial capital Menongue lies over 620 miles from Luanda, and the only realistic transport link between the towns is by air.
Another reason for Kuando Kubango’s lack of development is that it still bears the scars of war. In the years following Angola’s independence in 1975, bitter battles were fought there against South African troops, who had occupied parts of the province.
Despite being remote and battle-scarred, Kuando Kubango has the potential to become prosperous. As Jorge Biwango says: “The very name Kuando Kubango refers to our two great rivers, the Kuando and the Kubango. We want to unlock the hydroelectric potential of the rivers, and already have firm plans to build a dam that will provide power for Menongue.”
The province is also rich in timber, as yet untapped, as well as unexploited reserves of diamonds, gold and copper. However, the population of Kuando Kubango is mainly engaged in animal husbandry and agriculture, with maize being the principal crop. With investment and encouragement, they could obviously be doing a lot more.
The governor has a vision of great things for the province. One of his main ambitious is to promote tourism as the province is home to one of Africa’s great elephant reserves, as well as an abundance of other wildlife.
With tourism already thriving across the borders in Namibia and Zambia, and in nearby Botswana and South Africa, Kuando Kubango could become integrated into one of the transnational game reserves currently being developed across the southern African region.
“This huge province is virgin territory in terms of tourism, ” he says. “We have been visited by a number of top-end American travel companies who were stunned by the potential for tourism and game hunting”.
If tourism takes off, together with an increase in cross-border trade, Kuando Kubango could become the land at the beginning rather than the end of the earth.
KUANDO KUBANGO’S TOURISTIC POTENTIALITIES
It is often said that Kuando Kubango is a beautiful province. In fact it is, and those who work for the tourism sector should face this reality with a professional conscience, as Kuando Kubango gathers an enormous natural potential of touristic interest.
In this chapter we consider of great importance the training of the staff on all domains of touristic activity in order to equip, at short-term, the private sector qualified human resources and adequate infrastructures with the necessary conditions for us to be able to put in perspective the development of a tourism of quality in the next times.
We can already speak of touristic development in Kuando Kubango even if still lies heavy on it huge needs of adequate infrastructures and several difficulties. We’ve got a very rich patrimony, with fifteen touristic areas, seven historic centres located at Dirico Municipality, and six at Menongue Municipality.
The pavements are elevated and lovely, and there is a huge natural landscape. All this potential is an invitation to the investors and this investment would be very well used.
And for this information to gain consistence, it also urges the need for the province to create a touristic culture with all areas direct or indirectly linked to the touristic activities. In this set the province holds almost all these attractions and needs to treat them conveniently so that tourists can use them. We know that the nature endowed this region with everything beautiful. The province has got a total of six areas covered and with a statute of partial reserves and an extension of 98.750 Km, what represents 0,49% of the territory of the province.
It allows placing in the market a touristic offer that attracts and competes with other provinces, if we take into account the recovery of what the colonial administration left unfinished.
We would like to refer to the hotels activity and the prices taking into account that we have four hotels with a capacity of 280 rooms in the Municipal headquarters of Menongue and some medium and small units.
The hotels activity differ because of the type of services and businesses as there is a chief activity “sale of lodging” and housing and also because they vary and in accordance with the largeness of the hotel, the services rendered, as well as the quality of sale is at the level of the supply and the demands etc.
So, all this phenomenon goes through the multiform training of the human capital that makes up an undeniable presupposition for the growth of the hotel and touristic sector in the province.
On the other hand, it allows providing the experts with knowledge for them to be in touch with the foreign world. Therefore it is imperious to reactive the cadre’s training actions.