Pioneering Community Partnerships

Lena Florry: Wilderness Manager
Lena Florry: Wilderness Manager

A heart warming film from Wilderness Safaris tells, in short, the story of the partnership between Wilderness and Torra Conservancy. With wonderful photography, a drone-mounted camera leads us across conservancy land and right into Damaraland Camp, the luxury lodge in the semi-desert which is a joint-venture between Wilderness and Torra.

It is a story of contrasts. On the one hand, the fly-in tourists who want to experience the magnificence of Namibia’s landscapes, the wonder of desert elephants and free-roaming black rhino, and on the other hand, the oppressed people who have withstood South African apartheid and the rigours of the land, where wildlife is a daily threat.

Riemvasmakers Rebecca Adams and Jantjie Rhyn tell what life was like in the harsh north-west before tourism brought new income to their community, and Lena Florry, who grew up herding goats but became a manager with Wilderness Safaris, explains how young people can now work in tourism. It is a story about how people living on the land can, and do, benefit from the wildlife that in the past was only a threat.

It’s an upbeat message from a top-end tourism company, which explains how over 350,000 hectares of near-virgin land is being protected by a joint venture between Torra Conservancy with help from Wilderness Safaris. Despite the many challenges that the community faces, which are not part of the film, joint-venture partnerships have clearly made a big difference in some Namibian conservancies, and visitors to Namibia have a chance in Torra to meet the people as well as to see landscapes and wildlife. As a person who has grown up in Torra, Lena Florry says that eco-tourism has changed the face of north west Namibia.

Steve Felton
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