Sustainability and conservation have long been at the heart of Namibian tourism. In fact, Namibia, was the first country in Africa to incorporate protecting the natural environment into its constitution.
Did you know?
37% of the country is protected land, with 19% National Parks and sanctuaries, with a further 18% protected as private conservancies.
Historically, one of the key ways in which the Namibian Government encouraged conservation was that in the early 1990’s, they changed national policies so that both private landowners and rural communities had the right to manage and benefit from local wildlife. This has encouraged local communities to work to conserve wildlife through tourism or trophy hunting, alongside agriculture and livestock. Today there are 86 registered conservancies which engage over 10% of the population with outstanding results.
During 2017, community conservation generated over N$132 million (around £6 million or $7.5 million) in returns for local communities (up from less than N$1 million in 1998) and created over 5,000 jobs.
Namibia is home to some 50% of the 5,500 black rhino that remain in the world - testament to the work being done to protect them in an environment that suits them so well.
With 3,500 cheetahs living in the wild, Namibia is home to the largest cheetah population in all of Africa.
Namibia’s elephant population has more than doubled since 1995 particularly in the Kavango and Caprivi regions.
Whilst free-roaming lions are decreasing across most of Africa, in Namibia they are increasing.
Whilst community conservation has shown that it can improve rural lives and contribute to biodiversity conservation, there are still challenges. Increases in wildlife numbers, have led to increased human-wildlife conflict with particular challenges around protecting crops from elephants and ensuring that farmers with damaged crops are properly compensated. There are also challenges around monitoring free roaming animals and in helping community conservancies to diversify so they are not reliant on one stream of income, however whilst there is still work to be done, community conservancies have been hugely successful across Namibia and are being used as a model in the rest of the continent.
Fact: The Africat Foundation at the Okonjima Nature Reserve, the was set up to conserve and protect big cats and wild dog that are injured in conflicts with farmers.
Namibia has some of the strictest protocol in Africa for building and running lodges, with detailed Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) required to gain permission for lodges to be built. Despite the remote environments in which they are found, the lodges provide a level of comfort and luxury to rival any in Africa and are wonderful places to stay.
Ongava Lodge is a standout example of a property existing in perfect harmony with the surrounding environment and is perfectly positioned near Etosha for a Namibian safari.
Within the lodge wastewater is recycled to help reduce water usage, whilst food is sourced from local suppliers, ensuring fresh, seasonal produce and a low carbon footprint to get it to the lodge. Staff are drawn from local villages and towns, meaning the money they earn and skills they acquire are reinvested in to their communities and directly benefit them and their families. The reserve is renowned for being one of the best places in Namibia to see both black and white rhino, with guests able to approach them on foot and learn about the conservation work being done to protect them.
In all areas, Ongava Lodge is an outstanding example of how to run a lodge in such a fragile environment, with a light footprint, strong reinvestment in the local community and an unrivalled dedication to protecting the wildlife that makes Etosha and Ongava such a popular place to visit.
Our classic Namibian self-drive incudes one night at Ongava Lodge in a private concession next to Etosha and many other highlights including Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Damaraland.