General Overview of Conservation in Namibia:
Namibia became a leader in conservation and was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution. Through the creation of communal conservancies, rural communities are given the opportunity to manage their natural resources sustainably and to benefit from wildlife. This is now considered as a complimentary land use method in conjunction with agriculture and livestock herding.
As a result, poaching has become less and less socially acceptable, as conservancy members are committed to protecting and sustaining wildlife for their tourism value. Namibia’s conservancy movement and other conservation efforts, such as eco-tourism, have restored populations of lions, cheetahs, black rhinos, zebras and other native wildlife of the world’s richest dry land.
There are many types of conservation categories including wildlife conservation, soil conservation and habitat conservation, amongst others.
Wildlife conservation in Namibia is one of our most important priorities, as we love the flora and fauna that our ecosystem can support.
If you go anywhere in Namibia, you’re likely to find that some part of the experience involves wildlife conservation in one way shape or form as 42% of the land is dedicated to wildlife conservation initiatives under private or public ownership.The Nature Travel Namibia team offers you the opportunity to be part of this conservation experience when you join us on our Conservation Safari.Conservation areas we will visit on this safari:
• Na’an ku se Wildlife Sanctuary
• Namib Naukluft National Park (Sossusvlei)
• Dorob National Park
• Cape Cross Seal Reserve
• Palmwag Concession
• Etosha National Park
• Okonjima Nature Reserve (AfriCat)
Note: Should you feel you would like to contribute to any of the above conservation areas or conservation establishments, please let us know in advance and we will arrange the details for you.
ITINERARY – NAMIBIA CONSERVATION SAFARI
DAY 1: Welcome to Namibia
You will arrive at Hosea Kutako International Airport and be transferred to Na’an ku se Lodge. Depending on your arrival time you might have time to explore the grounds around the lodge. Relax around the swimming pool area and absorb the wonderful views over the natural stone canyon.
Conservation at Na’an ku se
Originating as a small wildlife sanctuary nestled in the Namibian bush, Na’an ku sê is now a world-famous conservation organisation.
The Na’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary provides a safe haven and second chance for countless injured, orphaned, and conflict animals. Wherever possible our aim is to release animals back into the wild.
Only animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. This is done purely for their safety and survival chances, particularly vital for big cats. The release of carnivores, both cheetahs and leopards, is a top priority at Na’an ku sê – “returning wildlife to the wild” being the mantra that forms the backbone of our projects.
Orphaned animals are raised with dedication, and their natural needs are carefully considered. We tend away from the feeling of “captivity” and instead create an environment where their natural behaviours are nurtured and encouraged. For example, baboons thrive in large enclosures and enjoy daily bush walks. The sanctuary provides a home to the smallest of meerkats, mongooses and rock hyraxes, to the largest of big carnivores such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs, with a wide range of feathered, furry and scaled animals in between.
DAY 2: Na’an ku se
After a hearty breakfast, join one of the many conservation activities on offer at Na’an ku se. Activities available are: Various Carnivore Feeding Tours, Ancient San Skills Academy, Guided Nature Walk, Guided Horse Riding Excursion, Ancient San Stories under the stars, Cheetah Walk, Caracal Walk, Hunting with San Bushmen. Please let us know in advance which activities you would like to participate in.
DAY 3: Sossusvlei
After breakfast , we will depart for Sossusvlei. We will drive through the Khomas Hochland and down the escarpment via one of the scenic mountain passes into the Namib Desert. This journey will take about 4 hours depending on the number of stops for photographs. After lunch and settling in at the lodge we will depart for a late afternoon scenic nature drive. Dinner and accommodation will be at one of the best lodges in the area perfectly situated to explore the surrounding desert and its attractions.
Conservation in Namib Naukluft Park
The Namib-Naukluft Park is Namibia’s most versatile and largest conservation area. The park is home to some of the most rare plant and animal species on the planet. The top attraction in the park and one of the country’s major tourist destinations is Sossusvlei, renowned for its spectacular, desiccated white pan surrounded by majestic star-shaped dunes with deep, warm hues, and close by, the eerie Dead Pan with its bleached skeletons of ancient camel-thorn trees. Other features in the Namib-Naukluft Park are Sesriem, the Welwitschia Trail, Sandwich Harbour, the Naukluft Mountains and the Kuiseb Canyon.
The Naukluft section of the park was created to serve as a sanctuary for Hartmann’s mountain zebra competing with livestock for grazing on farms. With its massive and varied rock formations, Naukluft is a geologist’s paradise. The intermittent layers of horizontally folded igneous rock, quartzite, dolomite and shale are impressive with their giant symmetrical patterns. Five different vegetation communities within the park ensure a wealth of tree and shrub species, and a variety of aloes.
Animals found at Naukluft in addition to Hartmann’s mountain zebra are kudu, gemsbok, klipspringer, duiker, steenbok, leopard, baboon, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, African wild cat, caracal and aardwolf. Naukluft’s steep cliffs are nesting grounds for various cliff-breeding bird species, including Verreaux’s eagles.
DAY 4: Sossusvlei Lodge, Sossusvlei<.span>
After an early breakfast and coffee we will depart for a morning excursion to Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei. We will stop at the scenic Dune 45 along the way and spend a couple of hours at both Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei. Some of the dunes in the area are a few hundred meters high but the view from the top for those that dare is one you will never forget. After lunch and a well-earned siesta we will join the lodge for a sundowner Nature Drive before returning to the lodge in time for Dinner. Please let us know should you be interested in a Hot Air Balloon excursion or scenic flight excursion.
DAY 5: Swakopmund : Dorob National Park
After breakfast we will join in on one more activity of your choice after which we will depart for Swakopmund via the Namib Naukluft National Park. Swakopmund forms part of the greater Dorob National Park.
(An alternative option would be to take a scenic flight from Sossusvlei Lodge to Swakopmund. Your guide will meet up with you again in Swakopmund. Please let us know in advance should you want to join in on this wonderful experience)
Conservation in Dorob National Park.
Dorob National Park, which incorporates core conservation areas, runs from just south of Walvis Bay to the Ugab River in the north. The entire 976 mile (1,570km) coastline of the country is protected. Collectively, this area is known as the Namib Skeleton Coast National Park, and it consolidates three national parks: Skeleton Coast, Namib-Naukluft and Sperrgebiet, and includes four wetlands of international importance. The 10.754 million hectare mega-park is the sixth largest terrestrial park in the world and the largest in Africa.
Dorob National Park has core conservation areas set aside for rare and endangered species. As the park is allowed to be used for tourism and recreational purposes in restricted areas only, the park has been divided into zones. The identified zones are: Damara tern breeding sites, gravel plains, important bird areas, the Kuiseb Delta, Sandwich Harbour, Swakop River, Tsumas Delta, Walvis Bay Lagoon, birding areas and lichen fields. At the same time other areas are set aside for multiple uses, including adventure tourism. Windsurfing, kayaking amongst dolphins, quad biking and skydiving are popular coastal activities. The Dorob National Park is inclusive, progressive conservation that aspires to great, grand goals.
DAY 6: Swakopmund : Living Desert
After a relaxing breakfast we will depart for a half day living desert adventure where we will learn more about the fascinating desert plant and animal life. We will search for side-winding snakes, scorpions, burrowing lizards, spiders and beetles. We will return to Swakopmund in time for lunch and then you have the afternoon at leisure. We can help organise Quad-biking and sand-boarding in the dunes, scenic flights, curio shopping or just explore the beautiful architecture of this fascinating town with its great coffee shops and restaurants. We will stay in the same hotel.
Living Desert Tours
The Living Desert Tour is a unique 4×4 adventure which specializes in bringing the desert to life while sharing the awesome beauty of the Namib Desert with travellers from all over the world. The coastal dune belt may seem barren and lifeless to many people, but in fact it is alive with a fascinating variety of little desert adapted animals, which are able to survive on the life-giving fog which consistently rolls in from the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Come see the Dancing White Lady Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) cartwheel 44 turns per second down a dune to escape the enemy. Admire the transparent Namib Dune Gecko (Pachydactylus rangei) with webbed feet that are equivalent to snow shoes. Learn about the different beetles and insects and how they survive in the dune desert. Follow in the tracks of a legless Lizard (Fitsimmon’s Burrowing Skink), observe Sand Diving Lizards (Meroles Anchieta) dancing on the hot sand, Sidewinder Snakes (Perinquey’s Adder), Desert Chameleons and many more fascinating creatures. Learn about the geology, structure and formation of the desert, and admire the vast and beautiful landscapes while enjoying a scenic dune drive combined with fun and adrenalin.
DAY 7: Damaraland : Twyfelfontein
Today we continue our safari northwards along the Skeleton Coast. After visiting a shipwreck and the massive Cape Fur Seal colony at Cape Cross Seal Reserve we will turn inland towards Damaraland. We will drive past the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain with the highest peak at 2573 meters. We will be at our lodge in time for lunch and then use the afternoon to explore this unique area that is considered by most to be the most scenic and dramatic landscape in Namibia.
Conservation at Cape Cross Seal Reserve
Cape Cross Seal Reserve was established to protect the largest breeding colony of Cape fur seals in the world. The Cape fur seal, Arctocephalus pusillus, is the largest of the world’s nine fur-seal species.
Damaraland is famous for its geological rock formations and we will visit the burnt mountain, organ pipes and Petrified Forest where we will also find the Namib’s living fossil plant, the Welwitschia mirabilis. We will visit Twyfelfontein where you find thousands of rock engravings and is Namibia’s only world heritage site. We will be on the lookout for the famous desert adapted elephants that manage to survive in this hostile environment. These majestic giants move up and down the dry riverbeds in search of food and water. It is a real humbling experience for those lucky enough to see them.
Twyfelfontein Rock Art
Twyfelfontein is a World Heritage Site boasting one of the richest rock art concentrations in Africa. Thousands of tourists come to this site each year to view some 2, 500 Stone Age rock engravings. The area is home to 17 rock art sites, which collectively encompass 212 engraved stone slabs. There are an additional 13 sites displaying rock paintings.
Set in the Kunene Region of northwestern Namibia, Twylfelfontein is a spectacularly scenic area, featuring one of the largest and most important concentrations of rock art in Africa. The name ‘Twyfelfontein’ translates to ‘Fountain of Doubt’, which refers to the perennial spring situated in the impressive Huab valley flanked by the slopes of a sandstone table mountain. It was this spring that attracted Stone Age hunters over six thousand years ago, and it was during this time that the extensive group of rock engravings and paintings were produced. Visitors can look forward to basing themselves at some wonderfully shady campsites along the Aba-Huab riverbed, while exploring over thirty different sites of these sacred records of ritual practices relating to traditional hunter-gatherer communities.
Conservation at Mowani Mountain Camp
We have recently established a working relationship with IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation), AfriCat, EHRA (Elephant Human Relations Aid) and the Uibasen (Twyfelfontein) Conservancy to increase our conservation footprint in Damaraland.
We have planted a variety of local indigenous plants which are harvested and replanted around the lodge and water hole.
The waterhole has been expanded to provide a local elephant herd of 18 (including 2 calves under 6 months old) with enough water when they visit the lodge.
DAY 8: Damaraland : Desert Adapted Elephants
After an early breakfast we depart on a 4-6 hour drive, where we will be searching for the rare desert adapted Elephants. Returning to the lodge for lunch, you can embark on a nature walk in the areas surrounding the camp to explore the smaller details of the bush up close and personal.
Desert Adapted Elephants
Although not a separate species, and not much different from other savannah elephants Loxodonta africana, Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants are very special nonetheless. They are of high national and international conservation priority, and have been designated as top priority for protection by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). They live in the Kunene Region, encompassing 115,154 km2 of mostly sandy desert, rocky mountains and arid gravel plains in Namibia’s northwest.
They have adapted to their dry, semi-desert environment by having a smaller body mass with proportionally longer legs and seemingly larger feet than other elephants. Their physical attributes allow them to cross miles of sand dunes to reach water.
They survive by eating moisture-laden vegetation growing in ephemeral riverbeds and with their ability to go several days without drinking water. Sometimes they must travel long distances to reach a water source. By living in smaller than average family units of only two or three animals, they decrease pressure on food and water resources. Researchers have noted that they destroy fewer trees than elephants living in higher rainfall areas in other parts of Africa.
DAY 9: Palmwag
After breakfast we will make our way further north to the Palmwag Concession. Palmwag Concession’s freshwater springs support healthy populations of arid-adapted wildlife. Good numbers of Hartmann’s mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok (oryx), springbok, kudu, dwarf antelope (such as steenbok and klipspringer), scrub hare, comical meerkats (suricates), inquisitive ground squirrels, black-backed jackal andsmall spotted genet can be seen. This concession is also rich in reptiles including Kaokoveld sand lizard and Anchieta’s agama. We will enjoy lunch either en-route or at the lodge and join the afternoon game drive, with a stop for a sundowner.
Palmwag is beautifully located along a palm-lined tributary of the Uniab River. Water is scarce in this area, so the river’s presence often lures elephants closer to the camps. Palmwag is situated halfway between Swakopmund and Etosha and is the ideal base from which to see the sights of the Kunene region or embark on one of the many local hiking trails. The predator population is the largest outside of the Etosha National Park, with over 100 lions, cheetah, leopard, brown and spotted hyena. Bird life is prolific and diverse with most of Namibia’s endemics present. This concession supports a healthy population of desert adapted black rhino and elephants, under the management of the Save the Rhino Trust.
Palmwag Lodge manages and operates the 582,000 hectare large concession area. A major drawcard for the region is the presence of the largest free-roaming population of desert-adapted black rhino in Africa, as well as a healthy number of desert-adapted elephant. The Palmwag Concession also holds the core of the rarely-seen desert-adapted lion population of north-west Namibia. Cheetah and leopard are sometimes sighted roaming through this vast, unspoilt area.
DAY 10:Palmwag : Save the Rhino
This morning, after breakfast you will embark on a Half Day Rhino Tracking excursion. Seeing any animal in this inhospitable terrain and to see them doing so well is a truly humbling experience. Palmwag Lodge in a joint venture with the Torra Conservancy, Anabeb Conservancy and Sesfontein Conservancy offers rhino tracking in the Palmwag Concession and in the Torra Conservancy. The communities/conservancies directly benefit from these excursions since part of the income generated through rhino tracking is paid to the Conservancies. Rhino tracking excursions are guided by a qualified guide from Palmwag Lodge and a qualified tracker from the Rhino Rangers/Save the Rhino Trust.After lunch at the lodge we will join an afternoon game drive with Palmwag Lodge.
In Namibia’s far northwest Kunene region (also known as Kaokoland) black rhinos were almost extinct thirty years ago. Today, Kunene has the largest number of free-roaming black rhino in the world – the only rhino worldwide living on communally and traditionally-owned land without formal conservation status. Namibia created a culture of good human-wildlife interactions by involving communities, employing locals in anti-poaching patrols and generating income from rhino-related tourism.
DAY 11:Etosha South
From here we will depart for Etosha National Park where will spend the next 3 nights. Etosha is one of Africa’s biggest and best National Parks and one of the main tourist attractions in Namibia. It is 22 912km2 in size of which the Etosha Pan, a shallow depression that only holds water after good rainy seasons, is 5000km2 in size.
Etosha is known for its spectacular game viewing and the waterholes attract huge numbers of game in the dry season when all the open water has dried up. 114 Species of mammal are found in the park and it is the best place in the world to see Black Rhino. Other game include elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, honey-badger, black-faced impala, kudu, eland, damara dik-dik, warthog and big herds of springbok, zebra, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest and oryx. More than 300 species of birds are found here and it is brilliant for finding raptors. We will do morning and afternoon games drives and relax at the pool or camp waterhole between drives.
DAY 12&13:Etosha East
From here we will make our way across the park in a full morning game drive to our lodge on the eastern boundary where we will spend the next two nights. This part of the park has excellent game viewing
Located in Northwestern Namibia, Etosha East is a protected sanctuary in the eastern part of the world-renowned Etosha National Park, known as one of the most accessible game reserves in Southern Africa. Etosha East boasts vast open plains scattered with semi-arid savannah grasslands dotted with watering holes and secluded bush camps. An impressive 5000-square-kilometre Etosha salt pan makes up a large area of the eastern side of the park and can even be seen from space. This remote area teems with abundant wildlife such as lions, elephants, black rhinos and giraffes, as well as a variety of birdlife featuring flamingos, ostriches, eagles, hornbills, and owls.
DAY 14:Okonjima Nature Reserve : AfriCat
This morning we will leave the Etosha area and make our way to Okonjima Nature Reserve. The 22 000 ha nature reserve is home to AfriCat, a carnivore sanctuary, which gives the captive cats a second chance to be released back into the wild and become completely independent hunters in a protected area right in the middle of commercial cattle farmland. Join in on one of the bush walks, enjoy a nature drive or visit AfriCat where there are a range of activities.
Activities offered on Okonjima range from tracking leopards from a game-view vehicle; Tracking rehabilitated cheetah on foot; Tracking rehabilitated spotted hyena on foot; Tracking rehabilitated wild dog on foot , Guided walking / Bushman trail as well as a visit to AfriCat’s Carnivore Care and Information Centre. Not only is Okonjima a luxury lodge, but it is also home to The AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organisation, committed to long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, especially cheetahs, leopards and lions. A visit to Okonjima will give you an opportunity to witness some of AfriCat’s work.
The AfriCat Foundation
AfriCat is a non-profit organisation set up to conserve and protect threatened cheetah, leopard, and other wild carnivores of Namibia. Visitors will be able to observe some of this programme at work and learn more about these amazing and beautiful animals.
The Cheetah Project
Offers visitors a valuable insight into the ‘welfare work’ of The AfriCat Foundation.
After Dinner, guests are invited to join a guided, night-drive in the 20 000ha / 200km² private, nature reserves. Guests also have the option to do an afternoon Nature drive within the reserve & enjoy viewing various animals in their natural habitat.
Self-guided walking trails of up to 8 km, for those guests who want to spend some time alone in the solitude of the Okonjima wilderness.
Conservation at Okonjima and Africat
Both Okonjima and AfriCat are dedicated to creating conservation awareness through education; Environmental education at all ages and levels, rehabilitation and reintroduction programmes, provides solutions to human-wildlife conflict issues and conducts constructive wildlife research. As Namibia is home to the world’s largest wild/free-ranging cheetah population; the majority of Namibia’s cheetahs and leopards can be found on approximately 7000 commercial farms and vast areas of communal farmland.
These large carnivores occasionally prey upon the livestock that roam unprotected in the bush. As a result, carnivores are often regarded as vermin by the livestock and game-farming community and are deliberately trapped and/or killed. Among the carnivores being rescued, researched and rehabilitated by AfriCat are cheetah, leopard, lion, caracal, wild dog and hyena. Today the 22 000 hectare Okonjima Nature Reserve is still the ‘Home of The AfriCat Foundation’. AfriCat has given more than a 1080 carnivores a second chance since 1993. 86% have been released back into the wild!
Our last morning of this wonderful trip will be spent at the AfriCat foundation with an activity of your choice. You will be transferred to Hosea Kutako International Airport, or extend your visit with night in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. Please contact us for any pre- or post trip extensions.