Off the beaten tracks
Namibians have many reasons to be proud of our country. One example that has gained international respect and mimicry is our community-based natural resource management, or CBNRM.
Since its founding in the mid-1980’s, the CBNRM programme has become and international model for combining tourism, conservation and community development for the benefit of rural Namibians living in communal conservancies.
These communities have rights to manage and distribute benefits from wildlife resources in their areas, gaining not only access to and responsibility for defined areas, but also the motivation to conserve natural resources. The numbers are impressive – 82 communal conservancies, covering approximately 180 000 people living in them, and 37 joint-venture lodges between private tourism operators and conservancy partners.
Well-known Namibian artist and conservationist, Helge Denker, explains that, “Exploring conservancies is now easier with the launch of Conservancy Side-Tracks, an innovative tourism route development project that intends to make the myriad of attractions found in conservancies more accessible, while also guiding tourism traffic onto preferred routes and ensuring land-holders have a say in what happens on their land.”