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Displacement in Limpopo National Park, Mozambique

Relocation of local indigenous communities in the name of conservation, restrictions on livelihood and grazing land and anti-poaching campaign are threatening the life of locals


Limpopo National Park (LNP) in Mozambique was established in 2001 and is a transfrontier park that connects to Kruger National Park in South Africa. LNP is home to 27,000 people, with approximately 20,000 living in the park's buffer zone. The remaining 7,000 live in eight villages in the park's interior, in the Shingwedzi River Valley. The Shingwedzi River Valley is an area designated for tourism by Limpopo National Park given its ability to provide outsiders with the ‘wilderness’ experience. This type of experience is believed to be what attracts private sector investment. Conservationists from international conservation organizations and national agencies hold the view that people and wildlife cannot coexist - that people are a threat to nature, and thus, should be removed from areas designated to preserve nature or at least restrict their access to it. Resettlement is presented as an opportunity for people that will provide better education, health facilities, public transportation, and employment, however, it has been argued that resettlement and transfrontier conservation are unlikely to lead to development. Residents in villages designated for resettlement expressed concerns about their livelihoods outside the park, such as access to land suitable for agriculture, lack of forest resources, and grazing land for cattle. Competition with other villages for resources is also a concern among residents.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Displacement in Limpopo National Park, Mozambique
State or province:Gaza Province
Location of conflict:Limpopo National Park
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Live Animals
Tourism services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Villagers in the Shingwedzi River Valley are not explicitly resisting relocation. One community, Nanguene, has already been resettled. When the government tells these communities to leave, they plan to do so, as they feel powerless against the government. They are, however, resisting in the form of refusal to accept the state sponsored resettlement plan as they believe it will have negative consequences for their cattle. This resistance is motivated by their intimate link to their cattle, both physically and culturally - as they depend on the cattle for their livelihoods but it is also a large part of their culture and ways of life.

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Type of populationRural
Affected Population:7,000 villagers in the Shingwedzi River Valley
Relevant government actors:Mozambican Ministry of Tourism, National Directorate of Conservation Areas
International and Finance InstitutionsGerman Development Bank KfW (KfW) from Germany - Funders for project
Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) from South Africa - Presided over development in Limpopo National Park
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Refusal of compensation
Villagers refuse to agree to terms of relocation that include placing their cattle in communal grazing areas.
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Still ongoing; there are still plans for the eight villages to be relocated despite their wishes.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

"Limpopo National Park." Peace Parks Foundation. Accessed April 28, 2019.
[click to view]

"Resettlement Project Gets Underway In Limpopo National Park." Http://

Accessed April 28, 2019.
[click to view]

Witter, R. 2013. Elephant-induced displacement and the power of choice: Moral narratives and conservation related resettlement in Mozambique’s Limpopo National Park. Conservation & Society 11: 406-419.

Massé, Francis. "Wildlife, Cattle, and People in the Limpopo National Park: A More-than-human Political Ecology of Conservation-induced Displacement and Resettlement." History Studies International Journal of History, August 2013. Accessed April 28, 2019.
[click to view]

Milgroom, J., & Spierenburg, M. (2008). Induced volition: Resettlement from the Limpopo National Park, Mozambique. Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 26(4), 435–448.
[click to view]

Adams, Jonathan S., and Thomas O. McShane. (1997). The Myth of Wild Africa: Conservation without Illusion. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] Limpopo National park, Peace Park Foundation
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Last update08/09/2020
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