Visiting these remote Conservancies is an adventure in itself. At least we had never felt something like this until coming here. We met Simon and Alex in Rundu and agreed to be led by them to the Conservancies for a visit. We didn’t know this at the time, but our visit was announced by the local radio broadcast, so when we finally arrived (5hours late) a whole village -that seemed to us- was waiting, the women singing traditional dances and a neat hemicycle of chairs, men on the left, women on the right was prepared for the very solemn meeting. And in the middle of it, we, with out massive 4×4. It was surreal. It was a fantastic experience, they loved seeing and talking to us, and we reciprocated, ending up joining the dances at the end of the day!
In the eighties, Namibia’s flora and fauna had been drastically reduced, and all the natural resources had been taken from the hands of the local communities during the colonial era. An important change in the law for natural resources and the foundation of the CBNRM (Community-based Natural Resource Management) allowed the devolution.
In those regions of Namibia where rain is scarce, the soil not fertile and the access to markets and services difficult, taking care of the natural resources for controlled, sustainable tourism allows a development that was simply unthinkable before. These places are the Conservancies (non-profit organizations for the conservation of natural resources). There are about 50 Conservancies in the whole of Namibia, like the Salambala Conservancy near Katima Mulilo.
In the Kavango Region there are two Conservancies that are starting to receive tourists: George Mukoya and Muduva Nyangana, but mind you, there are no touristic infrastructures at all in the area, so you will need to either be self sufficient and rely on yourself, or adapt to the local ways. Both Conservancies were registered in 2005 and since them the control of the area is in the hands of the local people.
To be clear, this is not a place to were you may go on your own. It is extremely exclusive but not in the sense of expensive or luxurious, but in the sense that nobody comes here. You will need to contact Alexander (0813221856) or Simon (0813869704) and someone will go with you in your car from Rundu or somewhere nearby, showing you the road, telling you were to turn and yes, helping you to get the 4×4 out of the deep sand that constitutes the fragile roads that tie these communities to the tar road and the external world.
The conservancy point of entry is east of Rundu, at some point roughly 20 km from the tar road. While driving towards Caprivi your guide will tell you at some point “now turn right”, you’ll look at the road and say “but here there is no road”. There it is.
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Muduva Nyangana: The name is due to an old Tribal chief and soldier, Gciriku, who participated in the war against the German colonial forces. With a 615 km2 area and a 2.000 population, here you will be able to see elephants, zebra and rarely leopard and other wildlife. It is also the paradise of wildlife. Most income stems from craft and straw roofs production.
Contact: Alexander 0813221856
(Remember, Namibia’s international dialling code is +264, so the telephone would end up being +264813221856 on a foreign phone)
George Mukoya: This was the name of a famous Elephant hunter. The Conservancy is 486 km2 and also has 2.000 population. It is bordering Muduva Nyangana, and has the same type of economy.
Contact: Simon 0813869704