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Community Conservancies Working for Namibia

Posted by on in Africa Sustainable Travel
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Last month, our family had the pleasure of attending an authentic Braai (barbeque) in the beautiful Parliament Gardens of Namibia's capital, Windhoek. There were tribal groups who were performing traditional dances and displaying their artistic crafts in addition to a vast buffet of food and drink. To top it off, we were graced with the presence of President Pohamba.

At the beginning of this opening ceremony for the Adventure Travel World Summit, President Pohamba was awarded the World Wildlife Fund's (WWF) Gift to the Earth Award for continuing to support communal conservancies. If you do not know about the concept of community conservancies in Namibia, it is actually an innovative way for governments to allow local self-efficacy and social empowerment – among other direct effects of preserving land for future generations.

Windhoek Namibia ATWS Opening Ceremony President Pohamba WWF

Established directly after the country's independence from South Africa in 1990, the visionary leadership of the time not only wrote environmental protection provisions into the constitution, but also established these self-governing conservancies in an effort to increase wildlife conservation, community cooperation and economic opportunities in this sparsely populated nation.

Communities were put in charge of how their land would be used (whether for tourism, hunting, or industry) and in return, they would reap the social, economic and environmental consequences of their decisions.

Over the course of twenty-three years, various strategic partnerships have incorporated a combination of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private sector companies and government led programs that provide the necessary skills for responsible land development.

The result is that today, close to 20% of Namibia is managed by communal conservancies where local residents have the same rights to utilize wildlife and plant life (including the development of medicines and perfumes) as private farmers.

Tribal communities are a controlling part of the political process, which in turn creates a sense of responsibility and transparency. As an added benefit, unlike other areas of Africa, wildlife populations are recovering in Namibia, including increasing populations of elephants (increased to 20,000 in 2013 from 15,000 in 1995), black rhinos, cheetahs and lions.

Conservancies have also provided the foundation for the development of more than 34 joint venture lodges, 44 hunting (not poaching) concessions and approximately 200 enterprises that have generated more than USD $36 million in benefits to communities since 1998.

At a time when fighting over land, water, wildlife and political stability has become commonplace, Namibia offers a visionary policy that is an example for the world.

Watch this video that explains more about the history and development of community conservancies in Namibia, and watch our video about our family travel experience through Namibia.


We're bringing on new trips to Namibia soon, but in the meantime, check out our fabulous eco-lodge trips to Kenya and Botswana

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Irene is the founder & president of Greenloons. She is a dual EU citizen who has lived in 5 countries and visited 32 more in Asia, Oceania, Latin America and Europe. Drawing upon her professional and personal experiences to address authentic ecotourism from community, ecological and financial points of view, Irene is a frequent conference speaker, Huffington Post blogger and radio talk show guest. 


  • Guest
    Wild Adventure Ecotourism group Thursday, 17 March 2016


    We are students from university of namibia, we are interested in ecotourism and conservation. and wow what a blog this is......

  • Guest
    Irene Lane Thursday, 17 March 2016


    Happy to help you get the information that you need. Feel free to email me with any questions. Good luck with your endeavors!!

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