WIT Press

The Impact Of Tourism In A Fragile Wetland Ecosystem In Angola: The Arco (Namibe) Case Study


Free (open access)





Page Range

205 - 216




3,344 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


A. O. Tavares, M. A. Máquina & M. H. Henriques


Wetland areas, which are major tourist attractions, are one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world. This article assesses the environmental impacts of tourism activities, namely trekking, camping and leisure pursuits, in the Arco region in the Namibe Desert (Southwest Angola), close to the Atlantic coast. The River Curoca generates a wetland system of small permanent ponds creating a natural oasis, which attracts both domestic and foreign tourists and generates economic resources for the small local community. In order to evaluate the environmental impacts associated with tourism in the region, the magnitude, the spatial and temporal incidence of the impacts were estimated using an interaction matrix supported by a local population survey and an interview administered to regional stakeholders. The results emphasise the impacts associated with trekking in large groups and leisure parties. The study underlines the singularity and attractiveness of the area and the fact that, up to now, such activities seem to have had a minor impact and have led to only slight losses in terms of biodiversity. It also emphasises the need for certain structural and non-structural actions, namely promotion and protection measures, as a means of enhancing the environment in the Arco region. Keywords: Wetland, tourism impact, interaction matrix, Arco region, Angola.


Wetland, tourism impact, interaction matrix, Arco region, Angola.