Damaraland Camp: A Revolutionary Community Conservancy Model

Mar 7, 2017 Community and Culture
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“Wilderness Safaris changed my life. They trained me up from grassroots level. It is a success story in our Conservancy” – Lena Florry, Wilderness Safaris Area Manager, Torra Conservancy

Set in the Huab River Valley you’ll find one of our favourite wilderness areas in Namibia. This is the setting for Damaraland Camp, a luxury tented camp, offering endless vistas across stark plains, ancient valleys and soaring peaks. But there’s more to this camp than beautiful scenery and wildlife. It’s a living success story.

The story of the Torra Conservancy began in 1996 with a partnership between Wilderness Safaris and the Damaraland community. This joint venture and ecotourism model was the first of its kind in Namibia and soon proved to be a resounding success.

The story begins…

Prior to 1995, the area around Damaraland was in decline: wildlife such as elephants and other larger mammals were perceived as a threat and the potential for tourism in the area was not something that had been considered. There was no formal conservation protection and wildlife numbers were quickly dwindling. To add to this, unemployment was close to 100%.

This all changed in 1996 with the successful partnership and creation of a viable ecotourism model. The story is beautifully told in our short video clip below.

The results?

  • Around 350 000 hectares of land is under protection of the Torra Conservancy

  • Wildlife is thriving – even large species like elephant, black rhino and lion – and “problem animals” are now seen as a resource that can bring money into the community via ecotourism.

  • In addition to formal contractual payments to the conservancy, employment has introduced a local economic driver.

We are delighted to announce that Damaraland Camp has been longlisted for a 2017 African Responsible Tourism Award. Click here to find out more.

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By Kate Collins

Kate grew up exploring the bushveld on her family rose farm, living among Nguni cattle, geese, warthogs, ostriches and horses. After completing an Honours degree at the University of Cape Town, Kate began working at Wild magazine as a journalist and as the Digital Editor of the Wild Card website. Kate has travelled to destinations throughout southern Africa, enjoying the many rich offerings of our country. Her work at Wild magazine helped secure her next move to Londolozi Game Reserve where she worked in their Creative team managing online communications and assisting guests with their wildlife photography. Kate now lives in Johannesburg and is proud to be a part of Wilderness Safaris in her role as copywriter. “I am very excited to work for a company that makes such a huge difference to people’s lives and to the wild places throughout our incredibly beautiful and diverse continent.”

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