Shipwreck Lodge has partnered with two conservancies, namely the Puros and Sesfontein, established in May 2000 and July 2003 respectively. This partnership was made with the longevity of the local people and conservation in mind, and Shipwreck Lodge employs staff from these conservancies, thus supporting multiple households. In addition, the lodge has purchased 4x4 vehicles for the conservancies to assist them with wildlife and environmental management, furthering our commitment to conservation and sustainable tourism efforts.
The local communities that live on the conservancies are primarily Ovahimba and Ovaherero. It is important to note that approaching them should always be done with respect and sensitivity for their culture and ways of life, and a willingness to learn about their unique and traditional customs. The tribes differ somewhat, however, they are primarily farmers with excellent results in these arid regions.
The original four conservancies were established in Namibia in 1998, and they became the model for economic growth and survival in the harsh rural settings. As they have the right to establish tourist enterprise ventures, they began to partner with the private sector and lodges were established on these vast tracts of land. These lodges bring them revenue and experience, and there are a large number of NGOs that have various initiatives in these remote areas, intent on betterment for the communities.
Communal conservancies are self-governing and democratic entities that are managed and operated by members of their communities. These conservancies are typically established in rural areas where communities have come together to collectively manage and protect natural resources, biodiversity, and cultural heritage within their territories.
The boundaries of communal conservancies are defined through consultations among the members of the conservancy, as well agreements with neighbouring conservancies, communities, or private landowners. These agreements help to establish boundaries and ensure cooperation in the management of shared resources.
In their capacity as landlords of this spectacular protected area, the communities are paid monthly Conservancy Fees that total 8% of the turnover of the lodge earnings. This assists them financially, in addition to employment, and gives them a vested interest in tourism and its benefits.
Empowerment of the local communities is tantamount to any lodge within the Journey’s Namibia portfolio, and a matter very close to our hearts. Every effort is made to foster social and economic development as well as conservation of this spectacular country.
Presently, there are 83 registered conservancies in Namibia, with the main source of income either tourism partnerships such as ours, or farming. Climate change is however impacting the ability for success at farming in these arid areas, and makes alternative income streams increasingly important for these communities.