In line with our commitment to help preserve wild places, the //Huab Conservancy was the first of our exclusive use areas from which we operate Under Canvas Camps.
Our exclusive area is situated in a core area for desert adapted black rhino in the //Huab Conservancy in Damaraland, approximately 90 km north west of Khorixas. As we were, again, pioneering both community development and conservation, we entered into an agreement with the local conservancy which secured an area for the exclusive use of Under Canvas. This agreement is new-age and forward thinking, providing a model that we are hoping to replicate in other areas of Namibia in time to come, and one from which we also hope other safari operators and conservancies in Namibia will benefit. It has already been hailed as a remarkable achievement and one that has highlighted that small scale tourism can have big conservation impact.
Our first and foremost involvement and investment was in conservation, employing two Rhino Ranger teams to safeguard the local rhino population and to assist us with tracking them. We equipped some of the Rangers with solar powered mountain e-bikes bikes to traverse this area in an environmentally conscious way and installed VHF radio communication for patrols to use, as well as investing in the supply of open water for wildlife. The area is home to Hartmann’s mountain zebra, oryx, springbok, steenbok, klipspringer, elephant, rhino, spotted and brown hyena, jackal, leopard, cape fox and African wild cat in addition to several others, and our presence in the area has already seen a change in the frequency of wildlife sightings.
This camp is nestled in a grove of Mopane trees on the banks of a tributary of the //Huab River. Protected from all the prevailing winds and sun, the camp is virtually invisible from anywhere around and it carries arguably the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia. Tents are raised on mobile platforms and have basic infrastructure that allows for important comforts such as en suite flush toilets and bucket showers, but the essence of the camp remains Under Canvas, semi-permanent, seasonal and experiential. With provision for up to eight tents, two of which are family units, this camp is only booked on an exclusive basis (tiered pricing for varying pax numbers) for each group we take there, and it can currently only be used as part of one of our privately guided or fly-in safaris. The camp is open seasonally between April and November.
A minimum of a two night stay is required to get a true feel of what is on offer, although we believe that a three night stay would be even better in order to do real justice to the area. The camp is a fantastic alternative to any traditional lodge stay in Damaraland, and it offers exclusivity in terms of access which is beyond compare.
Activities include tracking desert adapted rhino, noting that this is completely private and in an area that has the highest tracking success rate in north western Namibia; exploring the upper and less crowded //Huab River in search of desert adapted elephants; nature walks and drives; as well as the possibility to visit some nearby prehistoric rock engravings. //Huab Under Canvas was also the pioneer of our STELLAR ESCAPE, our very own sleep out product, as well as our TRAILS CAMP, a multi-day walking safari.
Access to the camp is either from the north (Etosha) via a Himba village near Erwee (where a visit is already included in many of our safaris), or from the south via Khorixas and along the //Huab River. The last stretch into the camp involves travelling on tracks which are well off the beaten path tracks, and many of these are completely unknown to most travelers.