Seldom does a publisher give one complete carte blanche to write an article, so when Richard Lendrum did exactly that when inviting me to write the Country Guide for the Focus on Namibia edition of the African Hunting Gazette – I simply couldn’t resist that intro!
Just last year, Namibia was the first African country to be chosen to host one of the greatest events on the international tourism calendar: the Adventure Travel World Summit. Namibia has also been captured by the lenses of celebrated NBC TV anchorman Matt Lauer of the €œWhere in the World is Matt Lauer?€ segment and Richard Wiese of €œBorn to Explore.€
Legendary television hunting hosts Larry Weishuhn, Craig Boddington, Jim Shockey, Mike Rogers, Ivan Carter and Tom Opre, among others, have featured Namibian safaris on their shows. Namibia can no longer be referred to as €œAfrica’s Best Kept Secret,€ as Boddington dubbed the country when he first hunted at Hunters Namibia in the early €˜80s.
Namibia, previously known as South West Africa, is one of the world’s youngest countries, having achieved independence on 21 March 1990. Due to our political stability, peace-loving and friendly people, well-developed infrastructure, wonderful climate, clean and healthy environment, as well as the varied and interesting tourist options, Namibia is now firmly established as a one of Africa’s most popular tourism destinations.
However, for hunters the prime drawcards are our excellent hunting professionals; high standards of ethics; interesting and varied hunting opportunities; quality, quantity and diversity of game species, including the Big Five; the ease with which hunting rifles may be temporarily imported, and our active and our well-respected national hunting association, NAPHA.
Namibia is pro wildlife utilization, and our progressive national constitution is the first in the world to formally enshrine the sustainable utilization of living natural resources. We are a hunter-friendly nation with a proud hunting heritage, and our trophy-hunting fraternity is well respected by our government and fellow Namibians as an essential and integral part of Namibia’s wildlife conservation, tourism, agricultural and business sectors.
Statistics show that the introduction of trophy hunting here in the early 1960s was one of the country’s most successful wildlife conservation initiatives; since then, it has developed into an extremely lucrative form of land utilization as well as a most effective wildlife management tool.
Namibia offers a variety of hunting opportunities to meet most requirements and budgets, at quality-related prices.
Farm hunting is very popular here, especially among our trophy-hunting clients from Europe. Species offered depend on the area, but are usually limited to common Namibian game species such as kudu, gemsbok, hartebeest, springbok, warthog, Hartmann’s zebra, duiker, steenbok, jackal and baboon. However, cheetah, leopard and caracal are often hunted as well.
Farm hunting has been developed by stock-farmers who wish to diversify their income sources, so hunting usually takes place alongside normal farming activities together with domestic livestock such as cattle, goats and/or sheep. Conservancies have been developed in commercial farming areas so that farmers can cooperate on the conservation and sustainable utilization of their combined wildlife resources – this has the added benefit of increasing the hunting area as well as the number of species offered on the farm hunt.
Accommodation is very comfortable, either in specially built and well-equipped facilities or in the main farm homestead with the landowner’s family – this is also the ideal way to get to know the people of Namibia and be exposed to the unique and charming Namibian lifestyle, cultures and traditions.
Private game ranch hunting, on dedicated wildlife areas, with no domestic stock or interior fences, is becoming increasingly popular in Namibia. The spectrum of trophies available is diverse, and includes species such as sable, blesbok, giraffe, Cape eland, Livingstone’s eland, blue and black wildebeest, waterbuck, southern impala, Burchell’s zebra, steenbok, duiker, tsessebe, white rhino, roan, cheetah, leopard, caracal, and the endemic species including Damara dik-dik, black-faced impala, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, as well as all the common species.
Accommodation is usually in luxurious lodges or tented camps, and the facilities, service and cuisine is of a world-class standard with a distinctly Namibian flair, with emphasis on the classic African safari experience. Prices range from moderate to expensive, and are quality related.
Communal Conservancies cover approximately 120,000 km2 representing 14% of our country. These hunting concessions are in tribal areas where, until recently, communities often found themselves in direct conflict with wildlife for the natural resources. Trophy hunting, both as a wildlife management tool as well as a commercial industry, holds great advantages for communal conservancies where it is now firmly established as the primary source of income for these often marginalized and remote communities, where Namibian professional hunters have entered into contracts with the tribal authorities.
Most hunting for the Big Five takes place in these areas, which have produced some of the largest elephant taken on our continent in the past decade. This is the ideal hunt for the adventurous trophy hunter who wants to experience €œold Africa€ in rugged, remote, very sparsely populated areas.
Namibia also offers excellent hunting on big-game concessions on state-owned land, which includes game parks, protected, and communal areas. And one of the most appealing aspects of hunting in Namibia is that you will, inevitably, hunt with a true Namibian – a hunting professional whose heart and soul is Namibian, and who is dedicated to our country, our people, and our environment.
The Namibian trophy-hunting season is from 1 February to 30 November annually. Although temperatures and conditions do vary, hunting results are equally good throughout the safari season.
Namibian hunting legislation dictates that a hunting professional may hunt with only two clients at any time, and who must be present at all times during the actual hunt. Trophy- hunting clients may only be accommodated in Namibia Tourism Board-approved and registered establishments. Hunting may commence half an hour before sunrise, and must end half an hour after sunset. It is illegal to hunt at night and/or with artificial light. Further rules and guidelines are available on the NAPHA website.
It is advisable to ensure that your hunting professional complies with the above requirements for hunting in Namibia. Should your operator not be registered, not only are you breaking the Namibian law by hunting with them, and could possibly be faced with the legal consequences thereof, but you will not be allowed to export your trophies legally from Namibia. If you are unsure, please check your operator’s status with the Namibian Professional Hunting Association (NAPHA) at:
Tel: (++ 264 61) 234455
E-mail: email@example.com Website: www.napha.com.na
or the Namibian Tourism Board
Tel: (++ 264 61) 2906000
The Namibia Professional Hunting Association, NAPHA, is one of the most active and respected organizations of its kind in the world. The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism works in close cooperation with NAPHA on hunting- related policies.
NAPHA members are expected to adhere to a very strict code of hunting and business ethics. Our hunting association has excellent mechanisms in place, such as a Disciplinary Committee and Ombudsman, to whom hunting clients can turn for assistance and advice in the event of a dispute or unsatisfactory service. It is, therefore, advisable to make sure that your PH is registered with NAPHA.
Namibia is 20% larger than Texas, but has a population of fewer than 2.5 million making it one of the lowest population densities in the world, with 1.5 persons per km2. As a people, we are proud of our young national identity and take our fledgling democracy seriously. Although our official language is English, Namibians speak various dialects of nine different tongues, including some of the Khoisan languages, whose €œclicks€ are a challenge to most English-speakers. Each ethnic group still cherishes its unique traditions while working together toward our future, united by our national pride under Namibia’s colorful flag. Visitors notice this in a wonderful collage of dress, language, art, music, sport, food and religion.
This vast and pristine land is a haven for the wildlife, geography, and cultures that embody Africa, and yet is uniquely Namibian. From the red, gently undulating dunes of the Kalahari in the southeast to the desert-adapted elephants and black rhino of the northwest; from the dramatic, world’s largest shifting sand dunes of the Namib and its desolate and lonely coastline, to the celebration of life that is Etosha; and from the ancient San to the colorful Herero and their nomadic cousins, the Himba, Namibia is surely one of the most fascinating countries on earth.
Namibia boasts remarkable natural attractions, including the Namib Desert, Skeleton Coast, Fish River Canyon, Kalahari Desert, Etosha National Park, and the Caprivi Strip (now the Zambezi Region). Namibia’s capital city Windhoek, as well as the coastal town of Swakopmund, are highly recommended destinations during your Namibian adventure.
Tourist activity options include: game viewing, hot-air ballooning, skydiving, white-water rafting, abseiling/rappelling, saltwater fishing and freshwater angling, birdwatching, golfing, beaches, and, of course, hunting.
In closing his official address on the occasion of the welcoming event of the Adventure World Travel event in Windhoek, The Namibian Minister of Environment and Tourism, Honourable Uahekua Heruga said:
€œIt is my wish that Namibia will capture your imagination, that you will take home wonderful memories of our Big and Little Five, our endless horizons, our culture, our cuisine, our hospitable people, and our great adventures. But not only that, I hope you will leave inspired by the partnerships that you see at work in our country. And we certainly hope that you will invest in us, by spreading the word about Namibia to your friends, your family, your clients and by encouraging them to visit.€
The Namibian trophy hunting industry is grateful to you, our international trophy- hunting client, for your investment in our proud new nation, as well as the future of our wildlife, through your safari.
We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful country – soon!
Marina Lamprecht co-owns and personally runs Hunters Namibia Safaris, which won the Dallas Safari Club Outfitter of the Year 2014 award. Marina will present seminars on hunting in Namibia at the Dallas Safaris Club and Safari Club International (Las Vegas) conventions during January and February 2015.