Botswana

Chobe

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Communities can win with wildlife

Communities can win with wildlife

Communities can win with wildlife

A new safari lodge successfully blends conservation and commerce while empowering the local community in a key wildlife area.

High average occupancies in the first year of operation of Ngoma Safari Lodge have been taken as a signal of the success of the strategy which created this joint venture initiative. Ngoma is the result of a partnership between the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust and Ngoma Lodge PTY (Ltd), and was facilitated by the African Wildlife Foundation.

Walking onto the terrace of Ngoma Safari Lodge, guests’ eyes gaze across a magnificent vista where kudu, buffalo, sable and roan antelope graze along the banks of the Chobe River. In this isolated part of rural Botswana bordering Chobe National Park, conservationists sat down with community leaders to design a future which would see both wildlife and people as winners.

Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust a community-based organisation which was established to oversee the development and sustainable management of the local communities’ rich and varied ecosystem. The site for Ngoma was identified to establish a high-end facility to offer an exclusive and unforgettable experience in Africa’s wilderness - as a strategy to preserve the area’s abundant wildlife through income generation.

Since its opening in May 2011, by Botswana President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama , Ngoma has enjoyed an average occupancy of 60%, a statistic the Trust could not have realised alone, and one which has proven the successful balance of development and conservation. Meanwhile, the wildlife corridor between Chobe National Park, home to the largest population of elephants in Africa, and the semi-protected areas surrounding Chobe Enclave are now also being protected.

AWF continues to support the Trust post development of Ngoma Safari Lodge by providing business training and capacity building for community members in order to ensure long-term sustainability in handling such agreements. In this way, AWF is supporting CECT to realise the benefits from commercially viable conservation enterprises, as well as to develop potential strategies to leverage the land for conservation rather than convert the land for other, often unsustainable, uses.
 
While Ngoma Safari Lodge offers tourists beautiful vistas, spectacular game viewing, and a wide range of activities, the Chobe Enclave is receiving the benefits needed through this conservation enterprise to build a sustainable future for its communities.

Read more from the Zambezi Traveller:
Creating Community Value in Conservation (ZT, Issue 13, June 2013)
Conservation-Driven Enterprise (ZT, Issue 13, June 2013)
Easements for Education (ZT, Issue 13, June 2013)

Read more articles from this issue:
Zambezi Traveller (Issue 10, Sept 2012)

Read more about the region in our destination guide:
Chobe

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
African Wildlife Foundation