Namibia Ecotourism - CBNRM, Walvis Bay, Conservancies, Bushman Tours, Nyae Nyae Farmers' Co-operative

The Community Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRM)

The CBNRM is an ambitious programme aimed at poverty alleviation and empowering people to care for their own natural resources and environment. Communal land conservancies can be formed by a community or group of communities within a defined geographical area which jointly manage, conserve and utilise the wildlife and other natural resources in the area. Conservancies therefore, promote sustainable environmental management, rural development and improved income and livelihoods for rural communities. By giving people conditional rights over wildlife and other natural resources the benefits from wildlife management can begin to outweigh the costs such as the damage caused by animals like elephant and lion.

So far four communal area conservancies have been established :
Nyae Nyae in the Otjozondjupa area, Salamabala in the Caprivi region, Torra and Khoadi Hoas in the Kunene region. More than 20 conservancies are currently being formed and once they have been approved and registered, the communities can keep the income derived from hunting, trophy hunting, sale of game and tourism.

Walvis Bay

The entire municipal area of Walvis Bay, excluding the urban area and areas designated for urban development, has been proposed for proclamation as a nature reserve, to be controlled and managed by the Walvis Bay Town Council, so as to ensure the future protection and conservation of the Walvis Bay Lagoon and environment.

Bushman Tours

Tour operators take groups of tourists to Bushman settlements in the Kalahari, introducing them to the traditional lifestyle of these people of ancient heritage who have roamed the Kalahari desert for thousands of years. Visitors are given a brief glimpse into how they survive in the desert and are told traditional myths and folklore.

Nyae Nyae Farmers' Co-operative

The people of Eastern Bushmanland have organised themselves well for eco-tourism so far without seriously affecting their traditional culture. The 30 villages of the region have come together to form the Nyae Nyae Farmers' Co-operative.

They offer a genuine cultural experience and from a community run campsite you are taken out in groups of 2 with the hunters and up to 6 with the women who gather wild foods. Footprints, a safari company in Windhoek helped set up the Makuri campsite, which is 20km from Tsumkwe, and work on a profit share with the Nyae Nyae co-operative. In addition each tourist pays directly the women and hunters for their services. This is not a posed operation and tourists are expected to walk as far as the hunters need to walk to make a kill and stay silent. Gathering with the women is more relaxed with much laughter and sampling of the wild foods. These trips are not cheap but at least 50% of the proceeds goes directly to the local community.

One leader of the co-operative, Benjamin Xishe sees eco-tourism a chance for the cultural survival of the Ju'Hoansi bushmen.'Many of our young men and women no longer want to learn the skills of hunting and gathering. They see our culture being looked down on by the Hereros and Ovambos. They see these people making money. They want to be like them. They want to go to the town. But then they just get to drinking - the Ovambos and others treat them like dogs. Maybe if the young people see the foreigners coming in and paying to see how we live they will want to learn these skills too, and our life can go on.

Last Updated on Wednesday 25th November 2009