The Value of Adventure
“A trip to Khaudum should give you a real sense of achievement.”
Called the last frontier by the many involved in the project, Khaudum is positioning itself to be one of Namibias most prolific conservation stories. Khaudum with its untouched remoteness offers travellers the value of adventure and a true experience with nature.
Placing the value of conservation at the forefront, Khaudum forms part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which links Namibia, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in one of the largest conservation initiatives in the world. “Khaudum, formerly known as Bushmanland, was proclaimed a game reserve in 1989 and a national park in 2007, which now encompasses an area of 3 842 km2. The mostly unfenced surroundings allow wildlife to roam freely beyond the park borders and into and through surrounding conservancies” writes Travel News Namibia. 99FM’s MYD Earth spoke to Phil Marshall the Programme Managerfor NamParks III (North Eastern Parks Programme) at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to talk about this epic part of undiscovered Namibia.
99FM’s MYD Earth asked :
Why would you recommend Namibians experience Khaudum National Park?
“If you like to get away from other tourists, Khaudum is THE place to visit. Few tourists go there because it is remote so you might well be the only visitors in the whole park! It’s a great place for keen photographers as you can sit and wait at many waterholes and the wildlife will come to you. You can be guaranteed to see big herds of elephants, a big range of antelopes and the scientists say that Khaudum probably has more Roan antelopes than any other park in the world. If you are prepared to be self-sufficient, there is currently no charge for camping at Sikeretti – (this is in recognition of the poor condition of the campsite facilities, which are due for redevelopment.)”
What are some of the highlights, in your opinion, of this type of self-sufficient travel?
“A trip to Khaudum should give you a real sense of achievement. The access road from the B8 (which starts by the village of Katere, about 90kms west of Divundu) is very soft sand all the way to Khaudum. Four wheel drive is essential, and you must also reduce your tyre pressures by around 35% – otherwise you will get stuck for sure! The tracks in the park have grass growing in the middle, after the rains and then it’s essential to have a good screen over your radiator, otherwise the radiator will become blocked with grass seeds and you will overheat. You also need to check under the car from time to time, to make sure that dry grass is not being caught up. There is a real risk of fire if dry grass gathers next to the exhaust pipe! Take plenty of water in case of breakdowns and travel with two vehicles.”
What has been one of the greatest success stories you have seen in the park?
“The greatest successes are set to come in 2016: We are now starting to rehabilitate the many artificial waterholes in the park using new designs that will provide for separate drinking places for elephants on the one hand, and all the antelopes and other wildlife on the other. Work is currently in progress at Tsoana Fontein in the south west of the park. In the past there has been conflict between elephants and the other animals, because the elephants have dominated the supplies of clean water, leaving nothing for the others. Special elephant troughs will be built, the tops of which will be about 1.5 metres high, so that only elephants can reach in to get the water. Also the water will stay clean, as the elephants will not be able to get into the troughs. The antelope troughs will be at ground level, and will be shallow and safe so that animals cannot fall in and become trapped. The aim is that they will not contain enough water to satisfy elephants. The overflows from both troughs will go into a mud pool where the animals can bathe and wallow in mud. The aim is to rehabilitate most of the boreholes in 2016, and provide new troughs and some new viewing platforms.
This work is being done by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism with financial support from German Development Cooperation, through KfW.
Also in 2016 we are going to build completely new entrance gates to the park, with lots of new staff houses, and offices. This will provide for good living conditions for the staff and sufficient numbers of houses so that the park can be properly managed.”
If you are looking for the value of adventure in 2016, Khaudum certainly offers that and more. For more information on the park and what to take with you on your journey, take a look at the Travel News Namibia article on Khaudum here : Khaudum National Park