Damaraland Camp, Namibia

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damaraland1Founded in Botswana in 1983, Wilderness Safaris is widely acclaimed as Africa’s foremost ecotourism operator. It offers private access to nearly three million hectares of Africa’s finest wildlife and wilderness areas through some 60 luxury camps and safaris across nine African countries. Its Damaraland Camp is situated in the Torra Conservancy, one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Namibia and is a joint venture between the Torra Conservancy and Wilderness Safaris. In this interview, Mr. Brett Wallington, the group’s sustainability manager, shares with us the sustainability philosophy, features and practices at the camp.

 

How did Wilderness Safaris come about? What was the motivation to set it up?

damaraland2Wilderness Safaris registered as a Botswana company in 1983, offering rustic mobile safaris to like-minded guests who were passionate about nature and exploring the country’s remote wildlife areas. It was also the first safari outfitter at the time to realise the need for its financial benefits to flow back to the country and its people, ultimately ensuring the sustainable protection of Botswana’s diverse wilderness.

The initial Wilderness dream was to conserve Africa’s unique wilderness areas by enabling people to visit them and at the same time for local people and the business to earn a return from the process. This was not a grand or complex idea but it was an important one. Wilderness started off by offering “journeys and experiences to discerning globally caring travellers”; however, today Wilderness is in the business of “building sustainable conservation economies”, achieved through the employment of a responsible tourism model.

In the 1990s, with renewed global focus on southern Africa as a luxury travel destination, the company began to broaden its positive ecotourism footprint to Africa’s neighbouring countries – first Namibia, then South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, followed later by Zambia, Seychelles, Congo and Kenya.

In the 1990s, with renewed global focus on southern Africa as a luxury travel destination, the company began to broaden its positive ecotourism footprint to Africa’s neighbouring countries – first Namibia, then South Africa, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, followed later by Zambia, Seychelles, Congo and Kenya.

Today, Wilderness Safaris owns and operates more than 60 camps and various guided explorations in nine African countries, all committed to its 4Cs philosophy (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture). Its reputation and operating experience has enabled the company to successfully tender for prime leases in key wildlife areas, offering guests an unrivalled suite of camps and concessions in Africa, and, in turn, contributing materially to their ongoing conservation.

What is Damaraland Camp’s core sustainability philosophy and what are the key features of it?

Damaraland Camp’s core sustainability philosophy is based on the 4Cs -Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. The increase in the community’s awareness of nature conservation has been immense; where wildlife was once viewed as a threat, it is now regarded as an important asset to the earning potential of the community. Former poachers have become community game guards with great