If you want to support a country that is serious about conservation, Namibia is the Place to go. The government has realized that Namibia’s natural beauty and resources are its biggest attraction and need to be conserved for future generations. Namibia was the first country to manifest the protection of the environment in its constitution. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) manages Namibia’s national parks and game reserves, which cover 16.7% of the country’s surface area. With many areas protected by community projects or private conservation organizations Namibia’s protected area ads up to 41% of the available land. The country’s first Marine Protected Area already covers 120 000 km² and the government is looking to increase this number.
Namibia is increasingly catering to travellers, who wish to experience natural environments without destroying them. Visitors who are mindful of the environment will find many ways to contribute to nature conservation and enjoy amazing experiences in return. Namibia’s conservation areas protect fragile habitats and fascinating plant and animal species. Visiting Namibia’s main attraction such as Etosha or Sossusvlei will leave you with memorable impressions and you expenses will contribute to the country’s conservation efforts. Many community campsites and projects offer eco-conscious accommodation as well as guided tours and craft outlets. Choosing community run establishments is a great way to empower Namibian people and supporting sustainable tourism. If you are looking for hands-on involvement consider volunteering with one of the conservation organisations.
National Parks and Game Reserves
Namibia is an overachiever in setting aside land for conservation purposes. The existing parks and especially Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft Park are already major tourism draw cards. The former diamond area in the Deep South is being opened to the public as the Sperrgebiet National Park. The Sperrgebiet is part of the Succulent Karoo and a Biodiversity Hotspot.
One of the spectacular developments in Namibia’s conservation efforts is the dawning proclamation of the Namib-Skeleton Coast National Park (NSCNP). The park will cover Namibia’s entire coastline from the Orange River to the Kunene excluding only the coastal towns. Namibia will be the only continental country to protect its entire coastline, a whopping 1 5700 km. The park will include the Namib-Naukluft Park, the Skeleton Coast Park, Dorob National Park and the Sperrgebiet National Park. An expanse of 107 540 km² will make the Namib-Skeleton Coast Park the largest protected area in Africa.
The idea of protecting wildlife and habitats across borders materialised in Africa when the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park joined parks in South Africa and Botswana. The concept was a great success and Namibia’s first Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), the /Ai-/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, was established in 2003. The park joined the South African Richtersveld National Park with /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Park and Hunsberg Conservation Area in Namibia.
The Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KaZa TFCA) will be the largest transfrontier park yet. Namibia along with Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe is involved in creating a conservation area the size of Sweden. The Peace Park will include famous wildlife areas such as Chobe National Park, Hwange National Park and the Okavango Delta as well as human development and sustainable farming, business and tourism projects. Namibia has dedicated Bwabwata National Park, Mudumu National Park, Mamili National Park, Khaudum National Park, Mangetti National Park, the Caprivi State Forest as well as the Nyae Nyae and N#a-Jaqua conservancies to the project. The KaZa Park is aimed to reduce human-animal conflict, improve tourism and open ancient migration routes for several species including Chobe’s large elephant population.