Namibia is a country located along the Atlantic Ocean in Southern Africa and spanning over 800,000 km2 of natural beauties and cultural diversity. Namibia’s population counts a total of 11 different ethnic groups, resulting in a rich mix of traditions and cultural heritage.
Namibia was the first country in the world to address in its constitution the issue of habitat conservation and the protection of natural resources. Nowadays, the country has established 82 communal conservancies, which are areas within which the local community is responsible for the conservation of natural resources and the protection of the wildlife. Thanks to communal conservancies, the local community is more engaged and receives tourism benefits. International tourism to communal conservancies reduces Namibia’s rural poverty levels by creating new job opportunities, generating new income streams, and providing skills and expertise.
If you are planning a sustainable trip to Namibia, check out these four eco-friendly accommodations focused on nature conservation and community engagement.
Grootberg is a great example of Namibia’s progressive approach to conservation and resource management. The lodge was built thanks to the funds donated by the European Union. Its establishment fostered local employment and a sustainable income to the community, who entirely owns and runs the lodge.
Thanks to its active conservation activities, wildlife species once decimated by poaching are now flourishing again. Most importantly, many of those who were once responsible for the poaching are now actively participating to the rejuvenation process.
The lodge comprises chalets built from natural materials and perfectly blended with the surrounding natural environment. All facilities are powered with solar electricity.
Black rhinos and desert elephants wander freely in the land.
Wolwedans is a collection of elegant and ecologically responsible camps in Namibia. Boulders Safari Camp is one of the newest of the collection. It includes 4 spacious safari tents for a maximum of 8 people.
One of the main goals of Wolwedans’ Boulders Safari Camp is to work on the conservation of the NamibRand Nature Reserve and its ecosystem, ensuring its financial viability for present and future generations. This approach is summarized in Wolwedans’ earliest mission statement: “We are committed to sustainable growth by carefully balancing quality leadership, economic progress, social responsibility and care for our environment”.
Wolwedans has the Global Ecosphere Retreat® (GER) certification and it is also a founding member of the Global Ecosphere Retreats. This is an initiative created by the Zeitz Foundation, which aims to move the world towards a sustainable approach.
Environmental conservation aside, Wolwedans has also other priorities. In particular, it works hard on human resource development, social upliftment, and the sharing of economic opportunities to build a better future. The Wolwedans Foundation promotes these priorities by offering vocational training via The Namibian Institute of Culinary Education and The Wolwedans Desert Academy.
Nkasa Lupala tented lodge is a copletely sustainable lodge owned and managed by an Italian family, the Micheletti. It is located on the banks of one channel of the Kwando-Linyanti river, in the Zambezi Region.
The lodge is part of the award-winning Namibian conservancy program and of the Wild Waters Lodges. Wild Waters Lodges is an umbrella company that focuses on sustainable tourism and comprises 3 award-winning Lodges & Camps, including Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge.
By providing safari experiences, Nkasa Lupala tented lodge is able to partially fund the protection and conservation of pristine land and wildlife populations, as well as helping create economic independence within local communities.
The lodge includes 10 luxury tents made out of steel, canvas and wood with en suite bathrooms and blending with the natural surroundings. There is also a central main area with a bar, a dining room, a lounge facility, a kitchen, a storage, an office, and a panoramic viewpoint. The lodge is totally self-sufficient in terms of electricity thanks to the use of solar panels.
What travelers like most about the lodge is the exclusive wild location, the limited number of guests and vehicles, the game viewing, and the exceptional customer service.
The Plains Camp is a luxurious accommodation ideal for wildlife photography, including cheetahs, brown hyenas and leopards. The camp is located within the wilderness area of Okonjima Nature Reserve, which is extended over 200 km2 of plains, mountainous outcrops, and thickets.
In the past, Okonjima was a cattle farm that was purchased by Brahman breeders Val and Rose Hanssen in 1970. Following the Namibian independence in early 1990, the couple needed to address the growing interest in Namibia as a tourist destination. As they sold their herds of Brahmansm, Okonjima transformed into a nature reserve, with a primary focus on carnivore conservation through The AfriCat Foundation.
Today, the Okonjima Plains Camp includes 10 large view rooms, 14 standard rooms and six garden rooms. The camp has also an entertainment area and a gathering place called Plains Camp Barn that includes a dining and lounge area, a bar, a swimming pool, a parking lot and a shop. The entire camp is family-friendly and wheelchair accessible.
The Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to rare and endangered animal species, such as leopards; for this reason, it runs extensive research projects to protect them.