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.

 

Family Friendly Private Camp

Reading Tip: Condè Nast Traveller 'I had a house in Africa'
Wolwedans Private Camp is located in a quiet and idyllic valley. This splendid suite caters for four guests exclusively. It is the perfect getaway for families, honeymooners or individuals seeking uncompromising privacy and solitude. 

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Private Camp is a safe, private retreat in the desert and makes for a perfect family getaway. Menus and special requirements for the children can be discussed with the designated staff, including a private guide and private chef. The villa has its very own waterhole, allowing for exclusive game watching all day long…

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Guided activities such as scenic drives, scenic flights, hot-air ballooning and nature walks can be arranged either exclusively for you (at an extra charge) or to be shared with other lodge or camp guests.

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Private Camp is your special home at Wolwedans. It demands nothing much of you, but to relax and enjoy the ever-changing colours of the desert.

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Private Camp offers two spacious en-suite bedrooms, a ‘Sala’ where one can laze away siestas, various decks and the central lounge, combining a study, living room, a dining area and a fully equipped kitchen. Its open-plan design allows uninterrupted views of the surrounding nature.

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Family Hux: ‘My family of four (two boy ages 2 and 4) stayed at Private Camp which was perfect. We didn’t have to worry about disturbing other guests and our daily activities were planned around our needs. We had a chef (who cooked child-appropriate food on request), maid and guide. The guide, Felix, was the best we have experienced to date: extremely knowledgable, very friendly and fantastically patient with the children. The camp was situated in front of a waterhole set in stunning wilderness. I felt it was a safe environment for the children and we didn’t come across any big bugs in the camp. Sand-dune walks with the kids highly recommended. They also came on drives for 3 hours and were fine. If you are at all worried that the ‘children are too young’ – don’t be. We all had a trip-of-a-lifetime which will be remembered one-way-or-another buy all of us.’

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

 

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit chooses Wolwedans as their location for 50 year anniversary edition

Wolwedans has been chosen as a location in Namibia for the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimwear 50 year anniversary edition. Shot on 7 continents, two of the Swimsuit models were photographed in and around Wolwedans Dunes Lodge.Wolwedans-7sen as a location in Namibia for the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimwear 50 year anniversary edition. Shot on 7 continents, two of the Swimsuit models were photographed in and around Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. Cintia from Brazil and Adaora from the US make beautiful ambassadors for Wolwedans… the photography is outstanding, thanks to top photographer Kayt Jones, and the jewel coloured bikinis make a wonderful contrast to the stark beauty of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. The team spent 10 days at Wolwedans Dunes Lodge and had a blast with the wonderful light conditions, where shooting is easy throughout most of the daylight hours. Wolwedans would once again like to thank the amazing team under Chris Stone and MJ Day for the amazing exposure that Wolwedans will enjoy with the publication of the 2013 edition on Feb 12, 2013. Wolwedans-61 Wolwedans1-266x400 Wolwedans51-284x400

Cheuk and Mary get married at Wolwedans

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from China chose Wolwedans as their venue of choice to say the “I do’s” over Easter 2012. Captured by Wil Punt of Peartree Photography who traveled especially from South Africa to capture this very special moment for the couple. The photos speak volumes about moving away from the pressures and expectations of getting married in a modern world. Cheuk and Mary came all the way from the other side of the world to find silence, a most awe-inspiring backdrop and a friendly, attentive, but discreet Wolwedans team, to make their special day just perfect. Cheuk and Mary’s wedding photos are set against the perfect backdrop of ethereal desert scenery, the only audience being some dung beetles, perhaps a lizard or two and some Oryx watching from the dunes in the distance….

and a stunning wedding gown....

Fairy Circle Love....
True glamour in the desert:

It's a done deed...now it's time for the honeymoon....and we don't even have to travel anywhere. Wolwedans is just perfect!

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.