Wolwedans scoops up multiple 2014 Safari Awards

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Thanks to the huge leaps made by Wolwedans Collection of Camps in implementing sustainability goal posts, Namibia once again gains international acclaim as a forerunner in sustainability in Southern Africa.

 

Winner:  Best Ecologically Responsible Safari Property in Africa - Dunes Lodge

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Wolwedans Dunes Lodge  has been awarded the prize of Best Ecologically Responsible Property in Africa by the Safari Awards. The award catapults Namibia to the forefront of eco-tourist ventures in Africa.Wolwedans has already contributed majorly to putting Namibia on the ‘sustainability map’  in when it has been nominated as one of three finalists under the conservation banner for the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow awards. Every year the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) recognizes the very best in sustainable tourism. This Award is one of the highest accolades in the global Travel & Tourism industry. This achievement speaks volumes about the sustainability efforts the Wolwedans operation has been pursuing since its inception.

Winner: Best value property - Wolwedans Dunes Lodge

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The accolades are particularly noteworthy given the fact that more than 4000 vetted tour operators, travel agents and travel journalist were involved in the voting process.

In addition, nominees were selected from more than 1000 luxury travel professionals. The readers of notable publications such as that of Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Brides and Travel Africa Magazine all contributed towards the final result.

Runner up: Most romantic honeymoon room – Wolwedans Private Camp

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The awards recognize an establishment’s efforts to operate an environmentally friendly business, without compromising on excellent service delivery to clients. Wolwedans, which is situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, has been proven to adopt practices which benefit both nature and society, Through its use of solar energy, sustainable waste management and the promotion of conservation, Wolwedans was able to place first in the eco-tourism category.  For 2014, no other Namibian establishment was accorded a placement with the Safari Awards.

Wolwedans chosen to feature among Africa’s Top 50 Truly Sustainable Safari Camps

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Wolwedans Collection of Camps has been handpicked to feature in ‘Africa’s Finest‘, a brand-new coffee table book celebrating the most sustainable safari lodges and camps in Africa. Taking a deeper look at what it really means to run a sustainable and eco- friendly safari operation in Africa, the authors aim to simultaneously celebrate both the beauty of those camps that are run right and thereby add value to the preservation of their environment and its people, but to also expose the beast of the safari industry: ’the safari eco-pirates, cowboys, money launderers, green-washers and fence-sitters’.

Colin Bell, the cofounder and former CEO of the pioneering African travel company Wilderness Safaris, and now Great Plains’ CEO, along with environmental scientist David Bristow have teamed up and launched a revolutionary new book: Africa’s Finest. The book is the result of over two years of field work and writing. Illustrated with photographs taken by over 50 of Africa’s top photographers and in collaboration with a group of independent environmental scientists it is part reference, part coffee-table book.

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What this means in effect is that with Africa’s Finest’ a critical study of tourism in African has been undertaken resulting in an eye-opening book – which educates and delights at the same time. The book includes a check-list of sustainable practice, alerting the novice to look out for environmentally unfriendly practices – literally the other side of the coin often found hiding behind the shiny facades of glamorous lodges praising themselves as being premiere ecotourism destinations.

Bell & Bristow on what they hope Africa’s Finest will achieve:

‘We hope it will become a game changer in the safari tourism industry in helping to reverse many of the negative trends and declines in Africa’s wildlife. We believe Africa’s Finest will become a valuable tool for travel consultants who sell Africa and for potential travellers to Africa to help them decide where they should stay’

17699-TechHouse Through the book’s outstanding photography & field work it tells remarkable stories about Africa’s remaining untouched wilderness, but among these is a more sombre tale;  the book’s foreward by Morne Du Plessis, WWF South Africa’s CEO, points to the cover photo of a giant tusker: ‘this very elephant is dead (probably from a poacher’s bullet), and possibly all large-tusked elephants in the wild will be shot out in the not-too-distant future along with all wild dogs and possibly most free-roaming lions and cheetahs’.

The book’s intention is to give hope and solutions for conservation, ways in which we can all contribute to the changing world to conserve what’s left of Africa’s wilderness.

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‘If Africa’s wild places, and the people associated with them, are to be there to greet our children, their survival can be positively affected by business, specifically a transformed, nurturing, all-inclusive safari and wildlife industry. The operations that follow sustainable and renewable tourism models and partnerships, will be the ones that secure a future for the wildlife, the extraordinary cultures and people living in or around game reserves, as well as the very land on which all this depends.

 

Namib Sand Sea declared a world heritage site

It’s official. Bated breath turned to utter relief in the early morning hours of Friday, 21 June, when it was announced that the Namib Sand Sea has been declared as a natural World Heritage Site. This is the second UNESCO World Heritage site for Namibia.

Namibia-2009-1361Namibia’s delegation to the 37th Session of the World Heritage Committee meeting held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, cheered at the announcement and eagerly began spreading the happy news this morning. This is a wonderful feat for conservation in Namibia.Namibia-2009-1029

The Namib Sand Sea (as the Southern Namib Erg) was identified as a potential World Heritage site in 2002. Preparation for the nomination of the Namib Sand Sea started in 2009. The dossier listing the criteria needed for World Heritage inscription was compiled during 2011 under the leadership of Dr Mary Seely of the Gobabeb Research and Training Centre. The dossier was presented to the World Heritage committee in 2012.

IMG_0018The 1972 Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage makes provision for sites to be inscribed as cultural, natural or mixed (having both natural and cultural values).

Namibia’s first world heritage site, Twyfelfontein, was inscribed in 2007 as a cultural site. The Namib Sand Sea is Namibia’s first natural World Heritage site. NamibRand Nature Reserve and Wolwedans are proud to be bordering on this brand new World Heritage Site!

Wolwedans Guiding Diaries – Part 1

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A GOLDEN MOMENT for Wolwedans Guides

compiled by senior field guide Lucas Mbangu

On 14th June 2013 Wolwedans Guide Jonathan Nangombe chanced upon the near impossible. While on a sundowner drive one hour before sunset he spotted a little animal… when he got closer for inspection, it was the Namib endemic golden mole!!! This is a rare sighting, as this precious little animal is very hard hard to spot! 

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Jonathan did not hesitate to bring the mole back to a group of Wolwedans guides, of which 99% asserted that this was the first time they saw one in their guiding experience. Jan Friede, an experienced pilot guide who has been guiding for over 20 years also admitted that was his first time to have a golden mole in his hand!

This small mammal fits in the palm of your hand and does not have eyes to see. The golden mole is not a relative to mouse as many people assume, it belongs to a super order Afrotheria, which includes elephants, sea cows, elephant shrews, hyrax and aardvark.

golden mole tracksGolden moles have got a very impressive trail, in most cases the trail is seen from grass to grass, this is their way to harvest termites which are found to the roots of the grass. It has broad hollowed-out clans to dig in the sand.

Golden Moles do not construct burrows, they do however take refuge about 50 cm below the surface of the sand,where it is a cool 25 degrees during the dry day.t swims underground to get around and protect itself against nocturnal predators, such as owl and jackals. Breeding is believed to occur between October and November, with a gestation period of 4 to 6 weeks. In return 1 to 2 live young are born. Interestingly, not popular in some of the mammal books, hence little is known about this fascinating little desert dweller.

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Special thanks !!!!!

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for this extraordinary sighting to Jonathan Nangombe (Wolwedans field guide) and another special thanks to Jan Friede pilot guide and photographer of African profile safaris who was at Wolwedans Collection of Camps at the time

 

Leading the way in sustainable tourism….

The Wolwedans Collection of Camps is a very special cluster of safari camps – all snuggled into the dunes sporadically placed against a Namib Desert background. The ethos embedded within the conscience of the people involved in Wolwedans is simple and effective. Wolwedans stands proudly for sustainability, conservation and responsible tourism within the precious and stunning NamibRand Nature Reserve.

Right from its beginnings in 1998 this approach has been adopted by Wolwedans and the proof is in its earliest mission statement which reads, “We are committed to sustainable growth by carefully balancing quality leadership, economic progress, social responsibility and care for our environment”.

 

Jana Brückner, communication officer for the camps and the reserve, excitedly relayed news of Wolwedans’s recent progress in the field of sustainability.  Wolwedans has been nominated for the prestigious 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards which is one of the highest accolades in the global travel and tourism industry.  It has been nominated under the category of “conservation” which is very fitting as it recognises the mammoth efforts put in by staff, conservationists and founders to ensure the region, communities and wildlife in the Namib are protected and conserved.

Wolwedans has also recently launched its solar hybrid system/ power station as part of its new sustainability strategy. They seem to be setting an impeccable example in the tourism industry and hopefully many other Namibian camps and lodges will follow in their footsteps towards responsible tourism practices as a result.

The solar-hybrid installation will reduce the camps’ carbon footprints as fossil fuel consumption will decrease by 65%. Hats off to Wolwedans and their conservation and sustainability efforts.