By Business Reporter
IN a new joint venture between Natural Selection, the local communities and Dr Julian Fennessy, Africa’s foremost giraffe expert, the safari tourism business will open a sophisticated new camp, Hoanib Valley Camp, in the remote and wild Kaokoland in northwest Namibia in May 2018.
Located in the Sesfontein Community Conservancy, the camp sits on the banks of the Obias River, just outside the private 500 square kilometres Palmwag Concession and overlooks the ephemeral Hoanib River that teems with resident elephant.
From the camp, guests can track elusive desert-adapted lion, elephant and black rhino, enjoy cultural experiences and discover more about Fennessy‘s work at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF).
Hoanib Valley’s six guest tents blend seamlessly into the rugged environment around them. Raised on large decks, all have views out to the Hoanib River valley and beyond. The colours, textures and patterns used in the camp have all been inspired by the experience the Hoanib offers. Natural Selection has sourced locally, wherever possible, working with local craftsmen from the Rundu carpenters, Himba carvers and basket weavers, via the Omba project in Windhoek.
Days at the Hoanib Valley Camp will be spent exploring one of Africa’s most astonishing landscapes.
An impressive 42 percent of Namibia has protected wilderness and the country boasts some vast, spectacularly beautiful landscapes, of which Kaokoland may be the most incredible of them all.
It’s a land characterised by rolling dunes, rocky mountains and desert plains, all crisscrossed by ancient, dry riverbeds – the roads of the area. Temporary Himba settlements dot the landscape, and scattered herds of desert-adapted elephant are a common sight.
Very few people realise the giraffe that are endangered, as they are often overshadowed by larger species, such as rhino and elephant.
The Giraffe Conservation Fund’s genetic work on giraffe has revealed four distinct species of giraffe across Africa, instead of what was formally thought to be sub-species. This is crucial information concerning the future conservation of giraffe populations throughout the continent.
Guests will have an opportunity to meet a researcher and learn about the critical work going on in the area. For those interested in a deeper experience, they can spend time in the field with the team, for a donation of US$500.
In the Hoanib area, the Giraffe Conservation Fund is investigating the population dynamics and social structure of this unusual desert-dwelling population. Natural Selection donates 1.5 percent of their gross revenue to conservation, and the GCF is one of the partners who receive funds. It is crucial to Natural Selection’s DNA that each camp in the portfolio makes a difference in the area it operates.
Dave van Smeerdijk, co-founder of Natural Selection says: “I started building camps in Namibia in 1999 and I am thrilled to be building a responsible business again in Namibia. We believe our camp can not only deliver an outstanding safari experience, but also make a meaningful contribution to the conservation agenda, via our partnerships with the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.”
Natural Selection believes that all camps should be “clean and green” – this means the camp will be entirely solar powered, to ensure carbon emissions are kept to a minimum. The tents sit on top of decks of a composite wood of bamboo and 70 percent recycled material. Grey water is properly treated and all rubbish is separated and recycled, where possible
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