Himba Woman in Remote Northern Namibia - Photo by Louise McGowan

Conservation Travel Foundation

The Conservation Travel Foundation was founded in 2006 by Tristan Cowley, later also a co-founder of Ultimate Safaris. From the onset, the objective of the Foundation was to partner with Conservation Travel to bring about tangible, positive impacts on ecosystem conservation and on the socio-economic development of rural communities in Namibia.

The early efforts of the Foundation raised a mere few hundred dollars a year. It now raises, and deploys, in excess of US$ 250,000 a year for conservation and rural development projects in Namibia.

Innovation and determination by many remarkable people and organisations have given Namibia one of Africa’s most amazing wildlife recovery stories. Desert-adapted black rhino, elephant, lion, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and giraffe have all emerged from populations on the brink of local extinction, to roam north western Namibia in healthy, if fragile, numbers. Throughout the country populations of wildlife of every description have increased dramatically – due in no small part to the establishment of Community Conservancies on Communal Land, the advent of legal ownership of wildlife on private land, and a facilitative Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Conservation minded travelers are already making a positive impact as they embark on their life enriching journey, just by visiting Namibia. However, the effects of this can reach even further, and much of the real impact comes from partnerships formed with like-minded individuals and entities with similar values.

Learn more about the Conservation Travel Foundation

Children in the Wilderness

Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organization supported by ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of children in Africa

Children in the Wilderness increases children’s awareness, bridges cultural divides, broadens horizons, builds confidence, provides opportunities for new friendships, positive life choices, and reveals career opportunities

Learn More About Children in the Wilderness

Desert Lion Conservation

Desert Lion Conservation, or the “Desert Lion Project”, as it is often referred to, is a small non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of desert – adapted lions in the Northern Namib. Our main focus is to collect important base-line ecological data on the lion population and to study their behaviour, biology and adaptation to survive in the harsh environment. We then use this information to collaborate with other conservation bodies in the quest to find a solution to human-lion conflict, to elevate the tourism value of lions, and to contribute to the conservation of the species.

Addressing the conflict between people and wildlife requires striking a balance between conservation priorities and the needs of the people who share their land with wildlife. Managing human-lion conflict in the arid environment of the Kunene Region is complex. Sporadic and variable rainfall patterns, typical of arid environments, result in large overlapping home ranges amongst the lions that often clash with local farmers in search of suitable grazing for their livestock. However, lions are important to the growing tourism industry and there is an urgent need to manage the clashes between people and lions in the region. Understanding the population demography and behaviour ecology of the lion population is essential to this process.

Learn more about Desert Lion Conservation

Rhino Recovery Fund

The Wildlife Conservation Network created the Rhino Recovery Fund (RRF) with the goal of protecting rhinos from wildlife crime and restoring their landscapes, improving the health of rhino populations and benefiting local people

RRF targets the two biggest threats to the world’s five species of rhino: the illegal rhino horn trade and rampant habitat loss. To combat the rhino horn trade, RRF invest in projects aimed at stopping rhino poaching in Africa and ending the trafficking and demand for rhino horn. RRF also support projects that are restoring habitat so that Africa and Asia’s remaining rhinos can recover in intact, functional landscapes.

Learn More About The Rhino Recovery Fund

Lion Recovery Fund

Created by the Wildlife Conservation Network in partnership with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the Lion Recovery Fund funds game-changing conservation actions by the most effective, vetted partners who work collaboratively to bring lions back

Through strategic investments and collaboration with other public and private donors, the Lion Recovery Fund aspires to double the number of lions in Africa, regaining those lions lost over the past 25 years. Lion Recovery Fund are committed to seeing thriving savannah landscapes where Africa’s people, its economic development and its lions all co-exist

Learn More About The Lion Recovery Fund

Pack for a Purpose

Pack for a Purpose travelers have taken over 194,783 kgs (428,522 pounds) of supplies meeting essential needs in over 60 countries

Packed for a Purpose makes it possible to have a big impact in the communities you visit by simply using a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies needed by community projects around the world

Learn More About Pack for a Purpose

Natural Selection Covid-19 Village Support

In Botswana and Namibia, 8.9% and 15.7% of the population respectively are employed by the tourism sector. One employed person typically supports between five and seven other people

The COVID-19 Village Support program will be transporting food parcels to remote villages to improve the nourishment of communities in the face of this unprecedented viral threat. Furthermore, the Elephant Express buses will be on the road along the panhandle of the Okavango Delta assisting people with access to clinics via dangerous elephant corridors. Your support in this unprecedented initiative is welcome and cherished

Learn More About Natural Selection Covid-19 Village Support

AfriCat Foundation

AfriCat provides environmental education programmes for the youth of Namibia by guiding them towards a greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of wildlife conservation.

The AfriCat Environmental Education programme is an enabler within the broader Namibian education system. Catering to a wide spectrum of ages and socio-economic backgrounds, AfriCat’s vision is to harness the rapt attention which learners embody when they visit AfriCat’s two centres into a deep-seated awareness of ALL environmental issues and, specifically in the Namibian context, those involving the vexed juxtaposition between farming communities and the country’s large carnivores.

Learn More About AfriCat Foundation

Under Canvas & Flying Circuits in Namibia

Maybe no country has seen the buzz of the travel world like Namibia, and it’s been fascinating to watch it grow from a specialist desert destination to a model for conservation and ecotourism done right.

With new attention comes new opportunities, and there’s a great range of safari options including overland packages with under-canvas camps to convenient flying itineraries that connect Namibia’s vast and far-flung points of interests.

Namibia Under Canvas Safari

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Travel with one of Namibia’s most reputable and well-known naturalist guides.
  • Visit the world renowned AfriCat Foundation and learn more about conservation initiatives involving Africa’s large cats.
  • Sleep under canvas in the tree tops overlooking one of the most productive waterholes on the Onguma Private Game Reserve.
  • Memorable and exciting guided game drives within the renowned Etosha National Park, from the vantage point of a specially modified, air conditioned 4×4 with pop tops.
  • Explore the Damaraland region whilst staying at the exclusive-use //Huab Under Canvas.
  • Search for desert adapted elephant in ephemeral river systems.
  • Track for the endangered black rhino in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust.
  • Visit and explore Namibia’s central coastal region with canyons, dunes and lagoons.
  • Explore the private Namib Tsaris Conservancy on exploratory nature drives and guided walks whilst staying in the exclusive-use Sossus Under Canvas.
  • Climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes at Sossusvlei and enjoy a magic box picnic in the Namib Naukluft Park afterwards.
  • Enjoy spectacular star gazing of the Milky Way on the Namib Tsaris Conservancy.
  • Enjoy refreshing moments in desert pools on the Namib Tsaris Conservancy.

Review the full itinerary here


Let’s Start Planning Your Safari!

Tree-scratching Lion

Bee & Chaz Capture Rare Safari Moments

On the way to the airstrip at Mara Plains we watched this baby gazelle being born on New Year’s Day. This is how this safari trip has gone. Every day something absolutely remarkable. — Bee & Chaz

As an old saying goes: The only way to have great ideas is to have a lot of ideas. We think the same applies to safaris and wildlife photography. The more time you spend in the bush, and the more photos you take, the better chance you’ll have of getting great shots.

Bee wanted to make sure she had the perfect camera for her safari, and she couldn’t have been happier with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Olympus customer service went out of their way to make sure she had the newest technology without it being too heavy or unwieldy. We hesitate to guess how many photos Bee & Chaz took to narrow it down to these wonderful photos, but we can tell you where they were and a bit about their two most recent safaris.

White Browed Coucal vs Chameleon, Mara

White Browed Coucal vs Chameleon in the Mara

Our guide Duncan at Mara Plains saw the White Browed Coucal attacking this chameleon. We watched in wonder as he systematically tried to pull the chameleon off the bush by trying to unwrap its tail then pulling on the chameleon’s limbs. After some time in the epic struggle for life vs lunch, the coucal gave up and the chameleon survived…for the moment. — Bee & Chaz

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Kili’s Look at Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

SkeletonCoast_sm-202The Skeleton Coast has an evocative, enigmatic name that sounds like a place one “has” to visit.

In practical terms, the Skeleton Coast refers to the northern stretch of Namibia’s Coastline — where the Atlantic Ocean meets a “sea” of sand dunes from the Namib Desert under a cover of dense fog rising from the cool ocean currents. The name is, surprisingly, quite recent and refers to the many shipwrecks that litter the inhospitable coast. It remains one of the most remote and pristine areas of the world.

Departing from Namibia’s charming capital city, Windhoek, I took a light aircraft transfer about 2.5 hours to the area. The beautiful new Hoanib Camp, which opened last year, is located in a valley close to the ephemeral riverbed of the Hoanib River, just 3km from Skeleton Coast National Park.

We began at sunrise with a game drive along the floodplains where we saw lots of desert-adapted elephants and giraffes. We crossed a beautiful dune field and saw a small group of oryx at an oasis as well as a solitary oryx on the dunes. Arriving at the rocky, foggy coast made an incredible finale to the day — a vast untouched coastline, a mangled shipwreck, a lively seal colony and a funky little museum at Mowe Bay. We flew back along the route we’d driven, which offered an excellent perspective and stunning photo opportunities.

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Flying over Sossusvlei, Namibia - Photo by Kili McGowan

Photos from Kili’s group trip to Namibia

This past September Kili led her first safari to Namibia. Read our 5 reasons for loving this spectacular destination.

Here’s the itinerary in brief:
Day 1 Arrival in Windhoek, The Olive Exclusive All-Suite Hotel
Day 2 & 3 Fly to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, NamibRand Nature Reserve
Day 4 & 5 Fly to Mowani Mountain Camp, Damaraland
Day 6 & 7 Drive to Ongava Lodge, Southern Etosha National Park Boundary
Day 8 Drive to Okonjima Villa, AfriCat Foundation
Day 9 Drive to Windhoek, The Olive All-Suite Hotel
Day 10 Depart from Windhoek International Airport

Click any thumbnail to enter gallery.

See Kili’s full gallery of photos here.

namibia kunene river valley

Five Reasons We Love Namibia

1. A Landscape Like No Other

Maybe this is true of any place, but there is nowhere on earth like Namibia. In population density, it ranks right there between Iceland and Mongolia.

namibia dune drive

Namibia Dune Drive

The Atlantic’s north-flowing Benguela current brings 180 days a year of fog to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast which is dotted with whale bones, shipwrecks and lions. Meanwhile, twenty mile long dunes crest at 1000 feet above the vast sand seas of the great Namib Desert. From gravel plateaus and bushveld to fossil forests and quivertrees, Namibia is a fascinating world of contrasts and extremes.

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