Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, c.13,500 sq mi (35,000 sq km; roughly the size of Belgium), the largest multinational park in S Africa and one of the largest parks in the world, in NE South Africa, SW Mozambique, and SE Zimbabwe; est. beginning 2002. Not yet fully opened, it incorporates three existing parks: South Africa's Kruger National Park, Mozambique's Limpopo Park, and Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou National Park. Geographically, the park consists of a broad swath of flat granitic savannah, bisected north to south by the Lebombo mountain range and drained by four west to east river systems, the Limpopo, Save, Olifants, and Kornati. A broader transfrontier conservation area surrounds the core area.
Parts of the area have been inhabited since the Stone Age, mainly along the rivers, and a number of villages are found within the park, which was formed to promote biodiversity conservation and provide socioeconomic betterment to communites in and around it. The park protects a wide variety of animal life including lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamuses, water buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, impalas and other antelopes, and many species of birds and fish. In the last decades of the 20th cent. Mozambique experienced a long and bloody civil war, which took a vast toll on its wildlife. As part of the park's establishment, South Africa transferred some 5,000 animals, including many elephants and some rhinoceroses, from Kruger to the Mozambique section, but poaching has since killed off some of the transferred animals.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.