The Long Run was delighted to host the Sustainability Stage at Pure’s unconference, Matter, this y...
NAMIBRAND NATURE RESERVE, NAMIBIA
Wolwedans is a portfolio of luxury camps surrounded by the otherworldly landscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in southwestern Namibia. Over 400,000 acres of undisturbed nature makes this Southern Africa’s largest private reserve, and one of the most unspoilt places on the planet.
The core objective of Wolwedans has always been to support the NamibRand Nature Reserve in its mission to safeguard and restore the Pro-Namib ecosystem and to be an economically sustainable operation. As the principal concessionaire, Wolwedans have contributed more than $1.5 million towards the conservation of NamibRand Nature Reserve. Namibian culture is also at the heart of the business. The Wolwedans Foundation supports the social uplift of local communities through vocational training at the Desert Academy and the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education.
Minimising environmental impact underpins the Wolwedans experience; camps have been designed using low-impact building techniques and sustainable technologies. The environment can fully restore itself within just a few months of a camp’s deconstruction. Scenic drives offer guests the chance to learn about desert dwellers and their quest for survival, the diverse flora and the NamibRand’s fascinating geology. A ‘sustainability tour’ educates guests about the onsite organic garden, grey-water system, solar farm and organic waste management. Where possible, home-grown produce is prepared in a local way and paired with the finest South African wines.
Since its inception 15 years ago, Wolwedans has been guided by an approach where people, nature and business were all equally important. Right from the start the commercial aim of the business has been to ensure the NamibRand Nature Reserve’s financial viability, assuring the conservation of the Pro-Namib for future generations. Wolwedans joined The Long Run in 2011 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.
NamibRand Nature Reserve’s biodiversity and habitats are effectively managed through active monitoring and innovative, adaptive management approaches. Today one of Southern Africa’s largest private not for profit nature reserves, it acts as a role model demonstrating holistic biodiversity conservation balanced with financial sustainability. A healthy and functioning ecosystem is now maintained, providing a sanctuary for the fauna and flora of the land, and its human inhabitants.
Wolwedans endeavors to achieve the following long term community impact: “We want our team and Namibians as a whole to enjoy improved livelihoods and practice sustainable lifestyles. We commit ourselves to this goal by prioritising human resource development, social upliftment, sharing economic opportunities and the encouragement of others to help build a better tomorrow.”
Wolwedans actively promotes and showcases local culture. Local arts and crafts are sold at its curio shops. It offers its guests a taste of Namibian culture – quite literally – through serving local cuisine and having readings of its menu in local languages. It encourages its staff to provide its guests with local cultural entertainment through guitar playing or telling short stories that offer a window into local culture. It is also dedicated to preserving archaeological and anthropological heritage of the region in accordance with the NamibRand Nature Reserve policies.
Wolwedans currently runs a successful sustainable tourism business. It continuously explores innovative approaches to resource management and allocation to sustain its community, culture and conservation efforts. It has started a number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide income for local communities. The core objective of Wolwedans is to support the NamibRand Nature Reserve in its mission to safeguard and restore the Pro-Namib ecosystem.
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