Go wild! From the big five to the little five and everything in between, Namibia's communal conservancies are home to a mosaic of life that transforms this diverse and spectacular landscape.
Namibia's communal conservancies provide the space and protection that has ushered in amazing conservation results: Namibia is the only country in Africa with an expanding population of lions, an increasing elephant population, valuable disease-free buffalo, the world's largest population of cheetahs and the only free-roaming population of black rhinos left on the planet!
Namibia is a biodiversity hotspot, where numbers count. There are approximately 4,000 species of plants, over 400 grass species, 650 bird species and 80 large mammal species. In fact, approximately 75 percent of the mammal species that exist in Southern Africa live in Namibia. Reptiles are also plentiful with 240 species in total and 125 sun-loving, dune dwelling lizard species, making Namibia home to the richest lizard fauna in Africa.
Namibia is also a hot spot for endemism - species which are found nowhere else. Among its high concentrations of endemic species are 14 birds, 71 reptiles, 16 mammals, and over 600 plants. This widespread pattern of biodiversity and endemism stems from species being adapted to arid conditions and confined by physical barriers. Spectacular examples of species that have adapted superbly to the harsh dry environment include Hartmann's mountain zebra, the Dune Lark and Péringuey's desert adder.
Visit conservancies in the arid west and northwest, where you can experience the thrill of watching elephants move down dry riverbeds, passing homesteads where conservancy members have erected waterholes especially for elephants. These ephemeral rivers and surrounding plains are home to desert-adapted lions, giraffe, springbok, oryx and people who are committed to living with wildlife.
Along the flowing rivers of the northeast, the haunts of hippos and crocodile, there are breathtaking wildlife encounters and humbling lessons in conservation to be learned. Here communities are protecting wildlife corridors, maintaining vital migratory paths for wildlife to move from Botswana through Namibia and on to Zambia and Angola. These corridors are arteries of life, where a surprising array of wildlife – from elephants to eland, hyena to porcupine – move safely across land that has been set aside for their protection.
Many of Namibia's communal conservancies provide buffers for wildlife to move in and out of the country's fabled national parks, and several conservancies have concessions inside national parks. One wild example is a concession in Khaudum National Park. Off the beaten track, herds of eland, roan and sable antelope and elephants abound. In this concession, and in all of Namibia's communal conservancies, viewing spectacular wildlife and supporting local communities goes hand in hand.
Highways lead to by-ways that lead to countless side tracks in Namibia’s communal conservancies, just waiting to be explored by the intrepid traveler. From rocky rugged passes in the northwest to the east where water turns tracks into muddy quagmires, there are challenges for the toughest vehicle and driver.
Namibia is a photographer’s dream. There are magical hours, days and nights. Spectacular wildlife, landscapes and people of old, evolving cultures found in Namibia’s communal conservancies provide endless opportunities for keen amateur and professional photographers to capture stunning images.