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Sign marking Zimbabwe-Zambia border near Victoria Falls. (Photograph by Samantha Geis, My Shot)
TravelTraveler Magazine

Imagine There’s No Countries

Last year, the presidents of five southern African nations — Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Angola, and Zimbabwe — announced a game changer: the creation of Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA).

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Victoria Falls falls within the newly created conservation area. (Photograph by Sharon Seah, My Shot)

Although not the first, KAZA could be the largest cross-border protected area in the world.

Stretching 169,885 square miles (nearly the size of Sweden), the conservation area brings 36 national parks and reserves together under one umbrella, including celebrated Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta, creating a wildlife wonderland for animals and ecotourists alike.

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A leopard carrying her cubs in the Okavango Delta. (Photograph by Isak Pretorius, My Shot)

The hope is that one day a single tourist visa will allow for easy movement between the five countries. But until then, tour operators such as African Travel can help you plan a KAZA safari.

“Unlike past top-down conservation efforts in Africa, KAZA will involve local communities from the start,” says Chris Weaver, managing director for World Wildlife Fund Namibia, “making sure that they, too, get the benefits and opportunities from increased tourism.”

This article appeared in the November 2012 issue of National Geographic Traveler.