Buffalo rebound

Buffalo rebound

We’re all familiar with the themes dominating headlines about Africa’s declining wildlife.

Lions, elephants and tigers, one might think, will exist only in sad tales told to children in a decade or two.

Yet amid the disturbing news, one African wildlife success story stands out like the sun rising over the Serengeti – and it’s great news for travelers.

With sustainable wildlife tourism as the long-term goal, the southern African nation of Namibia has been making ambitious commitments to habitat conservation since its independence in 1990.

Almost half of country protected

Where elephants roam

Where elephants roam

The nation of 2.2 million people was the first African country to write environmental protection into its constitution. More than 40% of Namibia is now under some form of conservation management.

Officially inaugurated in March 2012, the KAZA (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) initiative established a 100,000-square-mile, five-nation conservation zone — the world’s largest.

The regal oryx

The regal oryx

Encompassing the entire Caprivi Panhandle in Namibia, KAZA’s “conservation beyond borders” approach protects wildlife corridors shared by Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Central to the effort are the communal conservancies – rural communities that share the proceeds of wildlife ventures equitably between members – that now cover one-fifth of the country and affect 250,000 rural Namibians.

Human-wildlife conflict reversed

Rafts of hippos

Rafts of hippos

In many cases, poachers have become protectors, as Namibians have come to appreciate the long-term benefits of living with wildlife.

Generations of human-wildlife conflict are being reversed, while communities are made stakeholders.

Much of Namibia’s wildlife is now flourishing.

This is also good news for travelers.

Apex predators

Apex predators

With more than 30 conservancy lodges dotting the Caprivi Panhandle and north-central regions – Namibia’s wildlife hotbeds – visitors are privy to some of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters in Africa.

Fast facts about Namibia:
Namibia was first African nation to write environmental conservation into constitution
Lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and other big game is regularly spotted in Namibia
More than 30 conservancy lodges dot the Caprivi Panhandle and north-central regions of Namibia

 

Five top Namibian wildlife lodges according to CNN

Susuwe Island Lodge

This remote island lodge in Namibia’s eastern Caprivi is a gateway to wildlife spotting along the Kwando River and perennial wetlands. Game drives deliver superb sightings of elephant herds, lion, leopard, hippo, zebra, impala and scores of bird species.

Susuwe Island Lodge; +264 64 40 3523, +264 64 40 3523

Camp Chobe

Boat safaris from this tent camp near the Botswana border spot elephant families in the river, along with buffalo, hippo and large Nile crocodiles.

Camp Chobe; +264 81 800 0762, +264 81 800 0762

Chobe Safari Lodge

This substantial lodge actually located in Kasane, Botswana, is a plush base to explore the wetlands of Chobe National Park. Land safaris into the park include sightings of elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo and lion.

Chobe Safari Lodge; +267 652 0 336, +267 652 0 336

Ongava Lodge

The stark landscape here includes huge saline deserts and intermittent waterholes that are magnets to wildlife. Game drive sightings regularly include lion, leopard and hyena, as well as endangered black and white rhino.

Ongava Lodge; +264 676 87187, +264 676 87187

Lianshulu Lodge

Game drive sightings departing from this isolated lodge on the Kwando River include large herds of elephant, antelope, zebra, leopard and, uncommon for Namibia, herds of buffalo.

Lianshulu Lodge; +264 64 40 3523, +264 64 40 3523

Lifetime for wildlife

Lifetime for wildlife

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big cats, big sleep

Big cats, big sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

Star attraction

Star attraction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From: edition.cnn.com

By: Ted Stedman

Date: 28 June 2013