Gcwihaba Caves Are a National Monument [press release]

| April 9, 2014 | 0 Comments

Gcwihaba caves were declared national monument in 2006 because of their unique geological formation of beauty containing stalagmites and stalactites that also supports unusually large colonies of four resident bat species.

Responding to a question in Parliament from the MP for Kgatleng West, the Honourable Gilbert Mangole, the Minister of Environment, Wildl…ife and Tourism, the Honourable Tshekedi Khama explained that the archaeological significance of Gcwihaba caves was derived from archaeological sites found around the caves.

He said archaeological evidence on the sites included late stones age tools, burnt ostrich egg shells, animal bones and a fossilised primate skull. This evidence suggested that the area was inhabited by foraging people about 30,000 years ago

Gcwihaba caves were declared national monument in 2006 because of their unique geological formation of beauty containing stalagmites and stalactites that also supports unusually large colonies of four resident bat species.

Responding to a question in Parliament from the MP for Kgatleng West, the Honourable Gilbert Mangole, the Minister of Environment, Wildl…ife and Tourism, the Honourable Tshekedi Khama explained that the archaeological significance of Gcwihaba caves was derived from archaeological sites found around the caves.

He said archaeological evidence on the sites included late stones age tools, burnt ostrich egg shells, animal bones and a fossilised primate skull. This evidence suggested that the area was inhabited by foraging people about 30,000 years ago.

Minister Tshekedi further explained that the species of bats found at the caves contributed to the ecological balance by controlling insect numbers in the area as they were insect eaters.

He said steps taken by the ministry to preserve the caves included gazetted as a national monument in 2006 therefore protected by the Monuments and Relics Act of 2001, formation of Gcwihaba Management Plan in 2002, establishment of an out-station at Gcwihaba in 2005 currently staffing seven people, formulation of NG4 management plan in 2010 which is a sensitive area, geotechnical survey of Gcwihaba area in 2006 to establish location and extent of caves and to demarcate sensitive areas as well as inclusion of Gcwihaba in the Botswana World Heritage Tentative List of 2010.

He also stated that some included collaboration with Xai-Xai Tlhabologolo Community Trust on the management and use of Gcwihaba caves and multi-disciplinary which entails collaborative research projects by museum professionals and international experts.

He said Gcwihaba as a national monument is a public area with controlled access as per guidelines stipulated in the Gcwihaba caves management plan.

This is to preserve the site itself and material on sites. Guides and custodians on site visit visitors on the site to ensure adherence to the guidelines.

He said the President’s visits were not leisure as he had been involved in cave exploration and fostering collaboration between museum professionals and international experts.

He said the President had also been instrumental in obtain grants and assistance from the private sector through his publicity on the caves adding that this has assisted Botswana in developing and investigating the area faster that would have been possible as government funding is limited.

The Honourable Mangole had asked the minister to state the archaeological significance of the caves, its contribution to the ecology balance of the immediate surrounding areas, and the steps taken by his ministry top preserve the caves with reference to the above and the likely impact of human activity on the area with respect to the above with particular reference to the occasional leisure expeditions by the President and his entourage. (BOPA)

Source : Government of Botswana

Category: Governance

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