Louise Clapham 1995 - 2005
When I started working at Wolwedans in 1995, I was employed by NRNR as NamibRand Safaris did not exist. The Dune Camp was still being built and my work in those early days included fence repairs, checking waterholes, mending ‘hyena-chewed’ pipelines and helping with game counts. There was no pump and pipeline in those days, so every day we had to drive water up to the Dune Camp!! Working with the reserve staff fuelled an already enthusiastic interest in wildlife and conservation (before moving to Wolwedans I worked at NARREC) which remains with me still. Those pioneering days were hard work but immensely rewarding as the Dune Camp gradually came into being and its success led to the Dune Lodge, and the other camps that make up the Wolwedans Collection. I feel very proud to have been a part of it all.
I am delighted to be on the Barking Gecko mailing list and read it from cover to cover – it is wonderful to see the giant strides being made by the reserve team.
However beautiful a lodge or its surroundings may be, it is often the people who make a visitor’s stay so special. I have always felt that the service offered by the kind and friendly staff at Wolwedans has been second to none. The camaraderie within the Wolwedans team is something I will always treasure – whether having a laugh in the farm shop, or sharing a meal at the “Wolwedans village”, it is the staff that always made it a special place to work.
Leaving Wolwedans at the end of 2005, after 10 years, was an incredibly hard thing to do, but I brought with me to England a patchwork quilt of memories which will remain with me for as long as I live. I am lucky enough to now live in a beautiful part of the countryside, but often as I look at the fells (hills), I see instead sand dunes changing from gold to red under a setting sun, or low clouds sitting on the top of the Chowagasberg!