Cultural mapping

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 05 October 2020

Mosi-Oa-Tunya is a site inscribed on the World Heritage List for its outstanding natural heritage value, however, the site is also associated with key spiritual and religious values that are recognised by communities and people locally, regionally and even internationally. The exercise of cultural mapping has allowed the management of the site to gain a broader understanding of the multilayered significance of site and the different values attributed to it by different stakeholders and rights holders. Through cultural mapping the site is embodied with military values, archaeological values, anthropological values and cultural ecology values, historical architecture values to name a few.

Cultural mapping, with the involvement of multiple local actors and communities, has brought to a wider recognition of the site’s significance and values which has brought to the attention the multiple interconnections between natural and cultural values, and the need to safeguard both for the long-term safeguarding of the site.


Co-management building
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation

Enabling factors

The acknowledgement of the essential role played by local and indigenous communities is the backbone of this building block and the build up to an inclusive value-assessment of the site.

Additionally, the participation of site manager’s in regional and international capacity building activities and training courses on nature-culture linkages in the conservation of World Heritage properties and the exchange with other site manager’s dealing with similarly complex sites is vital.

Lessons learned

The key lesson learned from this exercise is that Mosi-Oa-Tunya/Victoria Falls World Heritage Site is not only a natural World Heritage site, but also an important cultural site and landscape. Through cultural mapping, the multilayered significance of the site has brought to a wider understanding of the property’s values and the multiple interconnections between natural and cultural values as well as the important role played by communities in the identification and safeguarding of the cultural and some of the natural values of the site.

The exercise of cultural mapping has also been an opportunity to bring together institutional stakeholders and local communities, building closer partnerships and opportunities for the inclusion of local actors in decision-making, conservation and management activities.

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