Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Namibia -- a wildlife photographer's paradise

By Ted Alan Stedman, for CNN
June 28, 2013 -- Updated 0207 GMT (1007 HKT)
Far from major cities, Namibia's Caprivi Panhandle is a lush, scarcely populated region of swamps, floodplains and woodlands. The 450 animal species found here include herds of elephants that have doubled their population over the past decade, to an estimated 16,000. The region is bordered by communal conservancies. Far from major cities, Namibia's Caprivi Panhandle is a lush, scarcely populated region of swamps, floodplains and woodlands. The 450 animal species found here include herds of elephants that have doubled their population over the past decade, to an estimated 16,000. The region is bordered by communal conservancies.
HIDE CAPTION
Where the elephants roam
Rafts of hippos
Buffalo rebound
Apex predators
Elephants without borders
Big cats, big sleep
The regal oryx
Star attraction
Striped encounters
Lifeline for wildlife
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Namibia was first African nation to write environmental conservation into constitution
  • Lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and other big game is regularly spotted in Namibia
  • More than 30 conservancy lodges dot the Caprivi Panhandle and north-central regions of Namibia

(CNN) -- Poached for use in traditional Chinese medicine or sold as exotic pets. Sometimes slaughtered in a vicious, drawn-out war.

We're all familiar with the themes dominating headlines about Africa's declining wildlife.

Lions, elephants and tigers, one might think, will exist only in sad tales told to children in a decade or two.

Yet amid the disturbing news, one African wildlife success story stands out like the sun rising over the Serengeti -- and it's great news for travelers.

With sustainable wildlife tourism as the long-term goal, the southern African nation of Namibia has been making ambitious commitments to habitat conservation since its independence in 1990.

Almost half of country protected

The nation of 2.2 million people was the first African country to write environmental protection into its constitution. More than 40% of Namibia is now under some form of conservation management.

Officially inaugurated in March 2012, the KAZA (Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area) initiative established a 100,000-square-mile, five-nation conservation zone -- the world's largest.

Encompassing the entire Caprivi Panhandle in Namibia, KAZA's "conservation beyond borders" approach protects wildlife corridors shared by Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Central to the effort are the communal conservancies -- rural communities that share the proceeds of wildlife ventures equitably between members -- that now cover one-fifth of the country and affect 250,000 rural Namibians.

Human-wildlife conflict reversed

In many cases, poachers have become protectors, as Namibians have come to appreciate the long-term benefits of living with wildlife.

Generations of human-wildlife conflict are being reversed, while communities are made stakeholders.

Much of Namibia's wildlife is now flourishing.

This is also good news for travelers.

With more than 30 conservancy lodges dotting the Caprivi Panhandle and north-central regions -- Namibia's wildlife hotbeds -- visitors are privy to some of the most unforgettable wildlife encounters in Africa.

Five top Namibian wildlife lodges

Susuwe Island Lodge

This remote island lodge in Namibia's eastern Caprivi is a gateway to wildlife spotting along the Kwando River and perennial wetlands. Game drives deliver superb sightings of elephant herds, lion, leopard, hippo, zebra, impala and scores of bird species.

Susuwe Island Lodge; +264 64 40 3523; rates from N$2,408 ($230) per person/day based on double occupancy (meals, activities extra)

Camp Chobe

Boat safaris from this tent camp near the Botswana border spot elephant families in the river, along with buffalo, hippo and large Nile crocodiles.

Camp Chobe; +264 81 800 0762; rates from N$600 ($57) per person/day based on double occupancy (meals, activities extra)

Chobe Safari Lodge

This substantial lodge actually located in Kasane, Botswana, is a plush base to explore the wetlands of Chobe National Park. Land safaris into the park include sightings of elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo and lion.

Chobe Safari Lodge; +267 652 0 336; rates from N$1,333 ($132) per room (meals, activities extra)

Ongava Lodge

The stark landscape here includes huge saline deserts and intermittent waterholes that are magnets to wildlife. Game drive sightings regularly include lion, leopard and hyena, as well as endangered black and white rhino.

Ongava Lodge; +264 676 87187; rates from N$4,668 ($463) per person/day, includes accommodation, meals/beverages, activities and guided tours

Lianshulu Lodge

Game drive sightings departing from this isolated lodge on the Kwando River include large herds of elephant, antelope, zebra, leopard and, uncommon for Namibia, herds of buffalo.

Lianshulu Lodge; +264 64 40 3523; rates from N$2,184 ($216) per person/day based on double occupancy (meals, activities extra)

Ted Stedman traveled to Namibia with the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
The Y-40 Deep Joy, the world's deepest swimming pool at the Hotel Millepini Terme in Montegrotto Terme, Italy.
An Italian spa complex adds new depths to the hotel swimming pool concept with a 42-meter plunge chamber.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
Whether spiraling up mountains or sky-scraping attractions, these stairs give new meaning to the phrase "watch your step".
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
Even during the harshest periods of the communist era, being Shanghainese had a special cachet in China.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
Up the Inside Passage on a heritage tugboat, sport fishermen chase British Columbia's monster salmon.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0741 GMT (1541 HKT)
New York to London in three hours? The European aviation giant is joining the race to make it happen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Which cities provide the most memorable party times? A self-proclaimed "nightlife connoisseur" names his top 10.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
Whether you're looking for a post-meeting pint or a wild night out, creativity is on the menu at these hot Hong Kong venues.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
An image showing the Istanbul district of Beyoglu where gentrification is changing the face of the neighborhood and leading the closure of many old shops and establishments.
Artists and migrants are moving out as a once-crumbling neighborhood goes upscale.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT)
They irrigate our farms, are an important means of transport and a source of eco-friendly power.
ADVERTISEMENT