Namibia is located in Southern Africa and it offers over 800,000 square kilometers of natural and cultural diversity, varies from sand dunes and rugged mountains to tropical rainforests and savannahs. The population is a diversity of 11 different ethnic groups, resulting in a rich mix of heritage and traditions. A large percentage of Namibia’s population lives in poverty. The country is home to a high number of endemic species, making wildlife conservation a crucial focus.
Namibia received an award for its conservation efforts and responsible tourism from past President of WWF-International and Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Anyaoku, who presented the award to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba. The country is a global leader for responsible travel and conservation with an annually growing number of 1.5 million travelers to Namibia, its involvement with responsible tourism is important for a positive impact on the economy, environment, culture, and resources. The local people are engaged in and receive the benefits from tourism as creating new job opportunities, generating alternative income streams, and providing new skills and expertise.
Namibia hosted the fifth Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism [GPST] conference in 2015, encouraging the healthy balance of sustainability and tourism.
How Namibia did it?
Part of the success is through well-managed tours, it educates visitors and income from these tours which help to educate local residents and children.
Namibia was the first country in the world to address habitat conservation and the protection of natural resources country by integrating environmental protection into its constitution. The country is defined into 82 geographic areas within which the local residents are responsible for the protection of the wildlife and other natural resources. The residents have the rights over-tourism operations and development within the conservancy boundaries.
“For two decades, Namibia’s community game guards have protected the iconic wildlife this unique country offers to travelers,”
said Chris Weaver, WWF-Namibia Managing Director.
“They’ve made Namibia an inspiring destination and success story in Africa’s struggle against poaching—and they’ve been doing it with minimal equipment much of that time. World Wildlife Fund is grateful to REI Adventures for this incredible gift and for helping the game guards be even more effective as Namibia’s frontline protectors.”
According to the Namibian Sun, one job is created for every 12 tourists that arrive in Namibia. The travel and tourism supports 27% of all jobs.
The Erongo-Kunene region has made it in the world’s Top 100 sustainable destinations by Green Destinations – accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC).
The country is quickly gaining recognition as a leader in responsible travel.
You have plenty of options to choose for sustainable activities. Tourists can tour Brandberg, Namibia’s tallest mountain, and its 2,000-year-old rock paintings or the 280-million-year-old trunks from the petrified forest or the rock engravings of Twyfelfontein are just a small example what the country can offer. By hiring local guides you’re contributing to this positive cycle and help locals.
Badly managed tourism is even more damaging than no tourism. Before booking a tour, ask some questions of your operator: How much involvement does the community have in the tours? How are they compensated? Does your guide speak the local language? Does tourism support community projects?
Watch this incredible video from WWF organization about Namibia.
Some of the reasons why eco-travelers shouldn’t hesitate to pack their bags and visit one of the world’s most popular photographic destinations in this unique country, including the remarkable natural attractions such as Etosha National Park, the Kalahari Desert, the Fish River Canyon, and the Namib Desert, Germanic architecture, and Sossusvlei lake.
Want to find more sustainable destinations? Check our other posts.