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’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.
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.
The 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!
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!
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 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.
Special thanks !!!!!
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
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.