June 2016 – The international documentary, “Vanishing Kings, Lions of the Namib”, which was filmed in and around Wilderness Safaris’ Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia, has been shortlisted for a 2016 REBEL Award in the “Best Interaction with Neighbourhood” category. The award ceremony is set to take place at the annual LE (Limited Edition) Miami Travel Show, taking place on 9 June 2016 at the Delano South Beach.
“We are extremely excited that this remarkable film has been selected as a finalist in this prestigious awards programme, particularly as it will result in even further exposure for the documentary and the precious desert lion it aims to protect”, says Mike Wassung, CEO of Wilderness Safaris Namibia.
The film traces the amazing story of survival of a small population of lion that live in the arid conditions of the northern Namib Desert. Acclaimed wildlife filmmakers, Will and Lianne Steenkamp spent nearly two years filming this documentary, which tells the story of an old lioness, her two daughters, and their five adolescent sons, known as the “Five Musketeers”. It also focuses on the efforts of Dr Philip Stander of Desert Lion Conservation, who has devoted his life to researching and protecting these uniquely-adapted animals.
In order to include the people of Namibia’s Kunene region, who share their land with the lions and have to deal with the issues of human-wildlife conflict on a regular basis, the film was translated into the local language of Damara. Together with NGO Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) and Wilderness Safaris’ non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness, it was then taken on a roadshow to a number of community conservancies, where large screens were erected and the Damara version of the film shown at sunset outdoor screenings.
In the Bergsig community, some 320 children and 150 adults from the village attended the screening. Further events were held in Windhoek, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Internationally, the documentary was broadcast by ORF in Austria, the Smithsonian Channel in the USA and ARTE in Germany and France.
It is hoped that by creating awareness amongst communities regarding the importance of conserving the desert lion, they will play a meaningful role in their protection. Furthermore, the film’s international exposure has created international awareness around the importance of Dr Stander’s Desert Lion Conservation project, and why this remote region is a must-visit for all ecotourists.
Wilderness Safaris guests visiting Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp have the opportunity to interact with researchers when they are in camp, not only on topics relating to desert-adapted lion, but also the area’s brown hyaena population and various other arid-adapted species found in the region. The researchers have also assisted Wilderness in the creation of lion sighting protocols to ensure minimal disturbance to these sensitive animals.
The annual REBEL Awards forms part of the programme for LE Miami, a travel trade show organised by Beyond Luxury Media, the same organisers responsible for PURE Life Experiences (Marrakech, Morocco) and We Are Africa (Cape Town, South Africa). The Best Interaction with Neighbourhood category recognises those who demonstrate “insightful integration with the local cultural landscape with the power to transform, elevate or highlight the profile of a neighbourhood”. The winners will be selected by attendees of the show.
Three of the stars of “Vanishing Kings” around Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp