National Parks

<p>Namibia's national parks are part of a network of protected areas controlled by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT). Namibia's protected areas cover 130,00 square kilometers - almost 20% of the country.</p>

<p>The national parks are the best-known parts of this protected area network. Etosha and the Skeleton Coast are known worldwide for a wealth of wildlife and for harsh, dramatic scenery. Namibia’s parks are linked to game reserves, recreation resorts, transfrontier parks and conservation areas, and to tourism concessions. This vast protected area is linked to Namibia’s communal and freehold conservancies, placing almost half of Namibia under conservation management.</p>

<p>Namibia’s coastline provides an excellent example of this conservation mix. With the proclamation of Dorob National Park north of the Namib Naukluft Park and south of the Skeleton Coast, Namibia became the first country in the world to place its whole coastline under protection. There is also an offshore protection zone to protect the marine ecology. Entry to the Skeleton Coast is restricted, in order to protect the fragile environment. In contrast, Dorob contains multiple-use areas for recreation. The park is close to the major towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay and provides recreation coupled with environmental protection.</p>

<p>Another good example of a mix of landscapes, in the northeast, are the parks of Bwabwata, Mudumu, and Nkasa Rupara. Bwabwata evolved from a game reserve into a park with a multiple use area, where people live and derive incomes from rights over tourism and trophy hunting, and core wildlife areas akin to more traditional parks of Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara. The three parks are part of a conservation complex called Mudumu North, which includes communal conservancies adjacent to the parks. The whole complex is part of KAZA, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, which includes five countries with the Mudumu Complex at its centre.</p>

<p>Recreation resorts combine leisure activities with conservation and are often centred on natural features such as hot water springs at /Ais-/Ais and Gross-Barmen, or lakes such as Von Bach and Daan Viljoen.</p>

<p>Fuller information on Namibia's parks and recreation facilities are available from the <a href="" target="_blank">MEFT</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">Namibia Tourism Board</a>. Summary information can be found on this site, including information on <a href="transfrontier-conservation-areas">transfrontier conservation areas</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">tourism concessions</a>.</p>