Monday, March 20, 2006

About Namibia's Communal Conservancies

Since I've referred to what I see as the advantages to communal conservancies, I thought I would tell a bit more about them. Vaughan and I worked on this explanation for his website:
About Namibia's Communal Conservancies
In Namibia, Communal Conservancies make it possible for traditional people living in rural areas to benefit from the natural resources. This is only right as these people are directly responsible for the conservation of the game and the overall improvement of conditions within the area.

The community receives compensation for their hunting concession contract. This includes payment for each animal taken, distribution of at least 90% of the meat to the various villages, employment of local members, training of these members, and concession or donation fees for re-investment within the area. Strict quotas are set by the Namibia Ministry of Environment and Tourism to ensure that all hunting is sustainable. The money received is used for community development projects and or distributed to the people.

This is different from the government concessions, where the contract is made with the Namibian national government for hunting rights. It is also different from the other form of conservancy in Namibia, where private land owners create a conservancy by joining their properties yet maintain ownership of their original land as demarcated ranch land.

Classic Safaris currently works with four communal conservancies, namely Ehi Rovipuka and Omatendeka both in the North West, and Salambala and Kasika both in the Caprivi.

The spoken language in Ehi-rovipuka and Omatendeka is Herero with Ovahimba heritage and also traditional Ovahimba people still living in these areas.

In Salambala and Kasika the spoken language is Masubiya. This culture spreads mainly just east of Lake Liambezi eastwards to the tip of the Caprivi Strip and overlaps slightly into Zambia in the North and Botswana in the South.

We are committed to hunting in these areas because the people living in these communities benefit directly from the natural resources that they have committed themselves to conserving. The game population is increasing steadily due to the conservation and re-investment, and it is also fantastic to offer hunters the opportunity to hunt wilderness and open areas where there is a win win situation for all.
Joe and I have visited two of these conservancies: Ehi Rovipuka and Salambala. Our next trip is set to include Ehi Rovipuka for plains game (KUDU!), then Salambala and Kasika for Buffalo. Knowing Vaughan, we may see Omatendeka while we're there!

To me, talking with the people we met was one of the neatest things about our trips. Mostly, we had time to talk with people who worked with Classic Safaris, but we also met some other community members. The communication gaps were not that hard to bridge. I tried to listen, learn a few words and customs, and approach people with friendly respect. Then I found that the people who did speak English were more than happy to help me bridge the gaps.

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