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Tracking Desert-Adapted Rhino In Namibia

  
  

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to stare down an 1,100 kilogram beast with no fence between the two of you? Ron Swilling recently went tracking with the Save the Rhino Trust in the Kunene Region of Namibia. The following is an excerpt of her account of the experience.

A lone cloud trails though a true-blue Namibian sky. Everything slows down and freezes as I face the Damaraland denizen, his prehistoric form linking me momentarily to generations of his ancestors that survived the tumultuous evolutionary journey through the millennia. His ears rotate, small grey radar dishes – listening, certain that he’s heard intruders in his territory. His small, beadlike eyes scan the blurry horizon. I inhale, keeping my mischievous breath prisoner for long seconds, like a naughty child who wants to burst out into the sunshine, while he, head up, serenely contemplates the scenario. The benevolent wind keeps the secret of my presence to herself. My heart beats too loudly.

describe the imageShhhh…I don’t move, my body rooted to the ground with a cement-like weight that feels too heavy to coax into movement, should the need arrive. All is hushed, except for the distant birds and hum of insects that are unaware of the enormity of the movement. And all is quiet, save for the long grass that dances with the memory of a good summer rainshower. The sun shines down, impervious.

The 1,000-kilogram beast lowers his head and moves on. Life’s pause button is released and the day continues as if the frozen hiccup of time has never been. I exhale and gulp the dry air, my throat parched. The blood flows back into my face. I have been given a reprieve to reflect on the power encounter and to consider why, amidst the many possible kinds of adventure, I had chosen this dauntin, heart-stopping and awe-inspiring experience.

Nowadays adventure usually involves catapulting your body through the air in different ways. This more sedate rhino-tracking adventure, although just as intense an adrenaline experience, has its origins and focus in conservation, offering the rare opportunity to view the small population of black rhino that has found a home in Namibia’s Kunene Region. So, leaving the gung-ho adrenaline junkies to their escapades in Swakopmund and at Vic Falls, and the safari-seekers eager to tick off the Big Five in Namibia’s national parks, I had opted to connect to the earth and an animal whose solid four-wheel-drive appearance belies its vulnerability.

To read the full story click here.

Discover Namibia's Sperrgebiet National Park

  
  

The Sperrgebiet National Park is one of Namibia’s newest National Parks and while the park is largely undeveloped and much of it remains inaccessible to visitors there are still ways explorers can access this wild landscape.

Sperrgebiet National Park

Sweeping vistas abound in the park.

The Sperrgebiet (meaning ‘forbidden territory’) covers 26,000 km2 and used to be the site of a massive diamond mining industry. While there is still some small scale diamond mining going on today the Sperrgebiet has largely been left untouched for decades.

Since it has been closed to the public for nearly a century, the habitat is largely untouched and pristine, making a visit to the Sperrgebiet National Park a truly unique wilderness experience.

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A sign board and fence restricting access to the Sperrgebiet.

Unspoilt beauty

Because the public is not allowed free access to this area nature has been able to rehabilitate itself and now the area is of global significance as it forms part of the Succulent Karoo biome that extends down into South Africa.

With a wide variety of succulent species, that in terms of uniqueness and species number is unrivaled anywhere else on the planet, conservation scientists have classified this area as one of the world’s top 25 Biodiversity Hotspots.

Coleen Mannheimer

Mesembryanthemum longipapillosum can be found in the park.
(Image courtesy of Coleen Mannheimer via GEF)

To qualify for hot-spot status, an area must contain at least 1,500 endemic vascular plants (0.5% of the planet’s total) and must have lost at least 70% of its original habitat. Prior to the establishment of the Sperrgebiet National Park, a mere 11% of the surviving Succulent Karoo, which is home to 2,439 endemic plants, fell in protected areas. Now, with the park’s proclamation, 90% is protected. 

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Protected land = Little to no human/environment conflict.

What to see in the Sperrgebiet

Ministry of Environment and Tourism concessionaires from Lüderitz can take visitors into the northern extremity of the park where they can admire the colossal 55-metre tall Bogenfels rock arch, the modern diamond mine and the mysterious ghost town at Elizabeth Bay.

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Standing 55 metres tall the Bogenfels is truly humbling when seen up close.

While in the Sperrgebiet you can also visit the ghost town of Pomona (which is noteworthy for enduring the highest average wind speeds in Southern Africa) and Marchental – the famous ‘Fairytale Valley’, where diamonds were once so common they could be picked up in handfuls as they gleamed in the light of the moon.

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Part of the abandoned mining settlement.

Conservation hero – J.A. (Albi) Brückner

  
  

wolwedansSpace. Vast, open, endless.  Namibia is known for this quality; however, it is not something to be taken lightly. Space needs protection and even a purpose.  Decades ago, Albi Brückner recognized this and began buying livestock farms in the Namib Desert, adding a few at a time and convincing others to join him.  Today this collection of private farms, which have all been rehabilitated and turned back to nature, is dedicated to sustainable conservation and covers 172,000 hectares (425,500 acres). 

Known collectively as the NamibRand Nature Reserve, it is one of the largest private nature reserves in the world.  For his pioneering spirit and dedicated vision towards conservation, Albi Brückner is a true Namibian Conservation Hero. 

Removing farm fences to allow for the seasonal migration of game, the NamibRand Nature Reserve protects a rich diversity of desert habitats. From dunes to desert plains sprinkled liberally with fairy circles; to mountains and inselbergs, the area attracts cheetah, oryxk, springbok, hartebeest, ostrich, zebra and leopard, as well as many smaller desert denizens such as the endemic golden mole, geckos, snakes, beetles and an abundant variety of birds, including Namibia’s only true endemic, the dune lark.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the reserve, tourism concessionaires and exclusive safaris are offered on sections of NamibRand. Each collects a park fee from guests on behalf of the Reserve and this revenue is used to cover operating expenses, conservation expenses such as game re-introduction and research expenses such as satellite monitoring collars for wildlife.  The Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET), an exceptional centre for sustainable development and education, also has its home on NamibRand.

wolwedans2The NamibRand Nature Reserve offers a plethora of tourism experiences. Those seeking adventure can soar over the beautiful landscapes in a hot air balloon, or get a closer look at the wildlife and geology by taking a hike with Tok Tokkie Trails and spending a night at the NamibRand Family Hideout. If you prefer to relax in five-star luxury while soaking in your surroundings, the Wolwedans Collection and Sossusvlei Desert Lodge offer seclusion at its finest! And finally, if you are looking for a rewarding experience working to ensure the sustainability of the wildlife, the N/a'ankuse Foundation offers volunteer experiences assisting the Reserve in re-introducing cheetah and leopard in the area.

Albi Brückner purchased his first farm in the Namib Desert in 1984, and though much has changed, what is most striking is how much has remained the same – the view of vast, open, endless space.  For the protection of the desert and the inspiration we draw of it, we owe a debt of gratitude to the partners in NamibRand Nature Reserve and to its visionary founder, Albi Brückner, our Conservation Hero.

Albi Antje Brueckner

Discover the Khaudum National Park

  
  

khaudumHidden away in Namibia’s north-eastern Kavango Region, the Khaudum National Park is not to be taken lightly. Rarely visited, very large, extremely wild and with only a rudimentary tourist infrastructure, it could be described as Namibia’s ‘forgotten wilderness’. If you have an adventurous streak, however, forgetting it would be a big mistake!

A visit to the Khaudum National Park is all about adventure, discovering a true African wilderness and perhaps a bit of self-discovery. Master the challenging and rugged 4x4 trails that weave through plains and thick Kalahari forests. The trails may come as a shock to those used to ‘the path well travelled’ – the park receives fewer visitors than elephants in a year. Relax at one of the state-of-the art hides and enjoy watching the wildlife that congregates around the 12 established waterholes. The Khaudum National Park is home to large herds of elephants, the African wild dog, Africa’s most endangered large predator, rare sable antelope, and over 320 species of birds. Listen, not only to the sounds of the wild, but also to the voices of the local people, conservancy members and Ministry of Environment and Tourism personnel. In their stories of spirits, rescues, ordeals, struggle and strange events; the park comes alive.

Namibia Country Lodges group has recently taken over the Sikereti and Khaudum camps within Khaudum National Park and have made extensive upgrades to the sites. They are also in the final stages of building two small lodges at both Sikereti and Khaudum. They don’t want to tame the park, though. The lodges will be built away from the campsites, which will remain rustic and wild. It would be impossible to tame this place anyway.

Just south of Khaudum National Park is Bushmanland. The Historic Living Museum at Grashoek village offers visitors the opportunity to meet traditionally dressed Ju/’Hoansi-San people and learn about their culture through demonstrations of what it takes to survive in the wild armed with only a bow and arrow, a digging stick and an intimate knowledge of the environment passed down for generations.

Have a look at this video blogger's experience....

Conservation Hero - Chief Mayuni

  
  

Chief MayuniA traditional leader from Namibia’s Caprivi region who has travelled the world sharing his innovative approach to conservation and development, Chief Mayuni has been described as a leader, a visionary and a motivator.  A tireless champion for conservation and community development, Chief Mayuni is a Conservation Hero. 

The Chief was one of the first to realize that tourism was the key to conservation and the recovery of wildlife numbers in the Caprivi, after years of war and poaching. By negotiating joint venture agreements with lodges he helped to increase employment in the area and to secure the funds needed for conservancy game guards.

As a result, poaching was radically reduced and wildlife numbers recovered, but that brought problems. Elephants trample and eat crops. Predators take livestock. Tourism provides jobs, but that doesn’t help the farmers. Chief Mayuni’s response was to negotiate a compensation scheme with one of his lodge operators, so if a lion took a cow, the lodges would pay compensation. It became the forerunner of a nation-wide scheme that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has embraced where communities are encouraged to use their income to pay those farmers that have suffered at the hands of wildlife.

As an advocate for conservation, community development and its links to tourism, Chief Mayuni participated in the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit. In 2007, the Namibia Nature Foundation named Chief Mayuni their Environmentalist of the Decade.

Find out more about how tourism is helping to preserve wildlife in Namibia in the video below.

A World Without Borders

  
  

Fish River CanyonRecognizing that political boundaries have no place in ecological systems, Namibia signed a treaty on 1st August 2003 with neighboring South Africa to form the Ai-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. As a result of the union, the park protects a vast area that crosses the South African border, and encompasses one of the richest botanical hot spots in the world, the Succulent Karoo Biome.

Visitors to this magical part of Namibia can now experience the wilderness on a scale previously unimaginable. Standing at the edge of the largest natural gorge in Africa, and the second largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon, is simply breathtaking, as are the dramatic views from Hell's Corner, where one can only try to imagine the dramatic natural forces that shaped that very canyon millions of years ago.

History was made on Thursday, March 15, 2012 when Namibia Elephantgovernment Ministers from Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe met to put their official seal on a cross-border treaty set to combine 36 nature preserves and surrounding areas. Known as KAZA, the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Park, the park represents the world's largest international conservation area in an effort to protect nearly half of the continent's elephants and a vast range of animals, birds and plants, many endangered by poaching and human encroachment. The World Wildlife Fund said the countries will cooperate on measures to allow animals to roam freely across their borders over 170,000 square miles (440,000 square kilometers), an area almost the size of Sweden.

KAZA is a tourist’s dream, encompassing 36 game reserves and management areas, national parks and community conservancies. It boasts remarkable diversity in animal, bird and plant life. The area features woodlands and wetlands, around 3,000 species of plants, and over 500 species of birds. Those visiting the area for thrills and spills can choose from extreme sports such as white water rafting on the mighty Zambezi, 4x4 and horseback riding trails, hiking, fishing, birding, microlighting, ballooning, elephant safaris, and a host of other activities.

So find a suitable tour for you and start planning your adventure!

Namibia Sets Global Conservation Example

  
  

By WWF Travel

wwf1Namibia’s conservation programs are proving to be so successful that the unlikeliest of admirers - nations and conservation groups thousands of miles away - are taking notice. Mongolia is the latest nation to study how thriving community conservancies are transforming Namibia’s wildlife landscape. WWF is adapting the Namibian model for use in the Congo Basin. And the approach and lessons learned are being shared with colleagues throughout southern and eastern Africa and with WWF's Northern Great Plains field office in Montana.

Before Namibia gained independence from South Africa in March 1990, wildlife populations were plummeting in the country’s communal areas due to military occupation, organized poaching and severe drought. In the mid-1990s, national legislation gave people living in communal areas the opportunity to manage their natural resources. Communal conservancies were established to allow members to receive benefits from wildlife management and tourism development. In 2008, program benefits generated $5.6 million for community participants - earnings that were immediately reinvested in the community’s resource management efforts.

Today, Namibia has 74 communal conservancies, and nearly 33 million acres of land are now managed for wildlife in Namibia’s communal areas. Poaching is strongly discouraged by social pressures which place great value on the income, employment and other benefits that recovering wildlife are generating. Some animal populations have been restored, while others are still in the infancy of their recovery stage. And living conditions for the Namibian people are improving.

The success also shows how focused collaboration by a variety of stakeholders, including the conservancies, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, NGOs, the private sector, and the international donor community, strengthen such a program.

“What the Namibia program demonstrates,” says Chris Weaver, managing director for WWF’s Namibia program, “is that if people can benefit from the presence of wildlife - even if they are by nature ‘conflictual’ species like elephant, lion or cheetah - strong incentives can be created for people to participate in the responsible management and conservation of these animals.”

Think you know Namibia pretty well? Take WWF's Namibia quiz and find out!

Annual Game Count

  
  

Game count HelgeSeven million hectares, seven thousand kilometres, three hundred people, twenty-seven conservancies, two weeks... The numbers may sound impressive, but what do they mean?

Namibia has been innovative and successful in developing community-based monitoring systems. A prime example is the annual North-West Game Count: what began as a pilot project in 2000 has become the largest road-based game count in the world. The count is repeated religiously at the same time and with the same methodology each year. It provides useful population estimates, as well as trends over time, both for individual conservancies and for the entire area it covers. Wildlife numbers in individual conservancies may vary significantly from year to year due to large scale game movements, triggered by the erratic rainfall in this open system. Yet regional populations of game such as springbok, gemsbok and zebra have shown remarkable population increases since the formation of conservancies in the late 1990s.

Conducting a project of this scale requires an incredible amount of time and effort, but can be an extremely rewarding experience. Aaron Price, an American intern with the World Wildlife Fund, describes his experience being part of the annual game count:

"So there I was…on top of a WWF 4x4 truck luggage rack with a sleeping pad to help me brace for rugged road bumps, snapping away with my Canon camera, frantically switching between my two lenses depending if I was going for wildlife or wide scenery shots, trekking across the Sesphontein Conservancy, helping conduct the worlds largest wildlife game count survey with the Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism staff and other various NGOs. When you’re out in the bush looking for wildlife and doing game counts, one has to wake up super early. Try having everything ready to go at 5am! At midday the animals lay down in the grass and avoid spending time and energy when its hot, so you have to start early. But the colors and charismatic wildlife one finds is absolutely breathtaking. I almost had to pinch myself to make sure I was really seeing all that beauty.

biospehereDuring the game count I saw baboons, elephant, oryx, giraffe, jackal, kudu, ostrich, springbok, warthogs, and mountain zebras. There were probably other lions, rhinos, cheetahs, etc. but special survey techniques are needed to pick up their numbers. That morning, Chris said there might be a chance we could see elephants but wasn’t promising us anything. Just before we saw the elephants, there was a herd of oryx I was taking pictures of, and when we came around this mountain my jaw dropped: we found elephants walking in a dry river bed! Tall, brown, quiet, and slow. It’s amazing how well such large animals can blend into a landscape."

If you are interested in taking part in a game count, tour operators such as Biosphere Expeditions offer visitors the unique opportunity. Their game count trip which was honoured in the Wall Street Journal's "Best Volunteer Travel" list.

Conservation Hero – Omba Arts Trust

  
  

By Ginger Mauney

describe the imageBecause Namibia recognizes that conservation is about more than just a species or a place, I nominate Omba Arts Trust as my conservation hero.  They not only help local artisans keep traditional skills alive, they also change lives. 

Omba’s roots go back 20 years when founder Karin le Roux developed a range of textiles with a group of unemployed women in a small rural village in the south of Namibia. Today, Omba Arts Trust partners with over 600 producers in ten regions of Namibia and is the largest operation in the country marketing Namibian craft exclusively.

From stunning pieces of jewelry to baskets, beadwork and textiles, their unique pieces of art are rooted in culture but always with a contemporary twist.  The products are developed and produced in remote villages, under trees, in church halls, and are sold at the Namibia Craft Centre in Windhoek and at high-end galleries and shops around the world. 

Located in the historic Old Breweries Building in Tal Street, the Namibia Craft Centre is a haven of local creativity. Visitors are able to purchase anything from soap made from wild melon seed and marula oil, to table linen, African-style shirts, unique postcards, candles, jewelry and shoes made from kudu leather, Namibian music and dried mopane worms. The idea behind the Craft Centre is to give a platform to local Namibian businedescribe the imagesses and enterprises. It’s about strength in numbers and has become a focal point of development for these community businesses. The craft sector contributes significantly to job creation and poverty alleviation - particularly amongst rural women.

At the recent re-launching of the Omba Arts Trust, Namibia Women's Summit President Anne Gebhardt spoke of the importance of social entrepreneurship.  “Just as entrepreneurs change the face of business, social entrepreneurs like the Omba Arts Trust act as the change agents for society, seizing opportunities others miss and improving systems, inventing new approaches, and creating solutions to change society for the better."

Discover more activities for your visit to Windhoek!

Twyfelfontein Rocks!

  
  

describe the image, Twyfelfontein (meaning "doubtful fountain"), is a massive, open air art gallery. With over 2,000 rock engravings, Twyfelfontein represent one of the largest and most important rock art concentrations in Africa. In June 2007 this striking natural red-rock gallery of tumbled boulders, smooth surfaces and history etched in stone was awarded World Heritage Site status, making it Namibia’s first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site to date.

The engravings are estimated to be up to 6,000 years old, and it is believed by many that their creators were San medicine people or shamans, who created their engravings as a means of recording the shaman’s experience among the spirits while in a trance. Among the most celebrated of the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein are a giant giraffe, a "lion man" with a hand at the end of its tail, and a dancing kudu.

35 percent of the revenue received from tourism through entrance fees at the Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site is shared with members of the local community to help them meet their basic needs. As a result, not only do tourists to the area benefit from local insight; local people are also made aware of the importance of preserving their cultural heritage for long-term benefit.

Such culture heritage preservation can be found at the nearby Living Museum of the Damara. This traditional Damara project is the only one of its kind, and the possibility to experience the traditional Damara culture in this form exists nowhere else in Namibia or in the world. Here the visitors have the unique opportunity to get to know the fascinating traditional culture of the Damara, thus contributing to the preservation of the culture as well as to a regular income for the Damara community that built the museum.

Learn more about Namibia’s unique cultures here.

Conservancies – By the people, for the people

  
  

describe the imageFollowing Namibia's independence in 1990, one of the government’s priorities was to enable local communities in communal areas to legally access and benefit from their natural resources. Rural residents gained the rights to manage and benefit from the wildlife and related tourism resources in their area by forming conservancies. Management committees appointed by the people make decisions and benefits go directly to conservancy members. As important as the benefits is the sense of ownership over a resource. In 1998, the first four conservancies were registered, and as of May 2012, there are 74 conservancies in Namibia, covering over 18% of the land and affecting one in four rural Namibians.

Conservancies are vast, unfenced sanctuaries for free-roaming wildlife in some of the most spectacular landscapes of Namibia. People are living with wildlife, including predators and large mammals, and are managing their natural resources wisely. Joint venture lodges offer stylish accommodation in stunning settings and around 25 community campsites offer excellent camping opportunities.

Damaraland20Damaraland Camp, the first joint venture lodge in Namibia, is the successful result of a partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Torra Conservancy, and has become an inspiration for communities and conservationists throughout Africa and beyond. The camp is situated in the Huab River Valley, arguably the most pristine wilderness area in Namibia. In 2005, Damaraland Camp won the 2005 WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award.

The luxury camp consists of 10 adobe style thatched units, each raised on wooden decking - part of which extends out to form a large viewing deck with magnificent vistas. The spacious, thatched living area features a restaurant and bar, complete with fireplace. Evening meals at Damaraland Camp are often prepared over an open fire and served out in the open in an area near to the camp lit by an assortment of small lanterns. The swimming pool is conveniently sited next to the bar. An open campfire and outdoor 'boma' can be enjoyed during calm evenings, with superb stargazing in the crystal-clear night skies.

‘A Today show anchor left speechless!’

  
  

By Conrad Brain

Keeping track of one elephant herd is a mammoth task – even with high tech tracking devices, an aircraft and many years of experience with the particular herd. Yet, on occasion they vanish, out of tracking range and out of your realm of expertise. It as at those times you have to reach out and take advice from superior knowledge. Luckily, like the elephants themselves, a small group of local people in Namibia also never forgets.

They have lived with elephants for centuries and have a deep understanding of them and their habits and when I run out of ideas, and the elephants run from me, I turn to them. The Hei//om (pronounced Hi – cum) people of Etosha National Park in their own humble way are usually able to help me out. The Hei//om, and in particular ou Jan Tsumeb, have shown me secret elephant swimming pools, hidden feeding areas and places I thought elephants would never visit. These findings have elevated my appreciation for both elephant and man and have been a starting point for an intense involvement with elephants in Namibia.

Working with elephants never gets tiresome or boring and neither does the response of people to elephants, especially those people who have never before seen an elephant.  Reactions of people vary from delight to outright fear, from disbelief to fascination.  The sounds, size, the silence and the majesty of the elephants intrigue everyone.

When the US television program, the Today Show contacted me with respect to a visit to the desert elephants I thought we might get the same response. I was wrong.

Upon arrival at De Riet in the Huab River, Savanna Guthrie, a Today Show anchor, and her film crew approached De Riet from the east and simultaneously our herd of elephants approached from the west.  With little time to greet or even brief her on the previous three days we had been tracking the elephants, they were upon us.

Within minutes elephants, their scent, their elegance and their offspring – two tiny babies, surrounded us one only day old.  Savanna was transfixed, an experienced television anchor left speechless at the spectacle. Hours later, the elephants simply and effortlessly merged into the desert. So with the elephants went a fleeting touch of newborn fantasy, for the elephants and for us – most significantly those who had not been in contact with elephants before. It was a brief time that influenced those present but hopefully through the massive reach of the television show touched the souls of millions that share our planet with the magnificent elephants.           

If you are interested in getting up close and working with these amazing animals, then contact Elephant Human Relations Aid.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Photography in Namibia

  
  

The late Des Bartlett said, “photography is painting with light.” 

Des and his wife, Jen, who filmed and photographed wildlife on six continents for more than 50 years, found inspiration in Namibia. Their work here won Emmy awards, was featured on National Geographic magazine covers, and inspired other photographers to come and experience Namibia in all its shining light.

Sunrise and sunset are usually the best times to photograph, and each season brings it own inspiration. Frans Lanting is one of the latest top international photographers to be captivated by Namibia and to - in turn - captivate us with his stunning photographs of the country.

camel thorn tree dune 375

Photo: Frans Lanting/National Geographic

Namibia is a diverse and contrasting place to photograph. Photography safaris offer both amateur and professional photographers a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve their portfolio and experience one of Africa’s truly unique destinations.

But as one Roël at Roël.me points out

"Don’t forget to really “see” things. Sometimes, we photographers get so caught up in trying to capture the perfect picture that we don’t fully enjoy what is right in front of your eyes. The wildlife and landscape in Namibia are simply breathtaking – the best image you will ever create is by putting your camera down and just taking in everything through your senses – all of them. I especially remember being in Deadvlei and feeling the emotional impact this place had on me – and I hadn’t even picked up my camera yet. I just stood there in awe of it. It was so hauntingly beautiful and I felt an immediate connection with everything there. No camera could ever record that. Just put the camera down periodically and take it all in."

So get your camera ready and join the guides of established tour operators like Wild Safari Africa on the ultimate photographic experience in Namibia.

Conservation Hero – John Kasaona

  
  

The son of a wildlife poacher turned protector, John Kasaona is a new breed of conservationists: one that understands the past, works tirelessly in the present and is excited to inspire the future generation of conservationists.

Under South African rule, wildlife numbers in Namibia shrank dramatically. After independence, the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) turned to local communities - like John's - to become the custodians of wildlife . They asked the village heads, "Who in the community knows the bush and the animals of the bush the best?" The answer was simple, "Our poachers. Like Sageus Kasoaona." That was John's father.

Instead of shooting and killing poachers like elsewhere in Africa, the IRDNC was helping villages reclaim their ability to manage people and their right to own and manage wildlife. Poachers now became game guards and helped to monitor and protect wildlife. As these communities renewed their connection to nature, wildelife prospered. 

In Africa we say ‘God gave the white man a watch and gave the black man time.’  The story of community conservation in Namibia is a long one, not easily told in a few minutes or one or two pages of a magazine – but let me try to at least tell you a part of my story

 

Discover Namibia’s Iconic Etosha National Park

  
  

View one of the greatest wildlife spectaculars on earth where herds of elephant, black-maned lions, and the world’s last remaining populations of black rhino roam the plains. More than 110 large and small animal species call Etosha National Park home, and 340 bird species soar above the plains.

Savor the thrill of spotting animals hidden in the bush while you drive along Etosha’s 763km of open roads - or simply wait for animals to come to you. Herds of wildebeest, lines of zebra and flocks of ostrich emerge from the heat haze to drink at one of seeps found at the edge of the blinding Etosha Pan. At one of the 86 springs, fountains and waterholes, springbok spark, kudu drink, and giraffe approach cautiously, as they all try to elude Etosha’s predators.

At night, soak in both the silence and the charged atmosphere at one of the three floodlit waterholes where you never know what might appear out of the darkness. Grab a seat - Etosha National Park stages live theatre at its best!  

If you are looking to spend some time within Etosha on your visit, Namibia Wildlife Resorts operate the only accommodation within the park. They offer a range of lodging options, whether you are looking for adventurous camping, or a luxury five star resort. And for the first time in the 100 year history of the park, guided night drives from the three camps in are being offered, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience an entirely different side of Etosha's wildlife treasures.

Click here for more information on visiting Etosha.

nwt

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