To end the madness and avert the catastrophe businessmen and farm owners with a love for Namibia's south set up a foundation, Namibia Natural Heritage Trust, in 1997. The aim is to restore this unique area to its original state wherever possible. Several farms were bought, sheep farming was ended, fences were dismantled - Gondwana Cañon Park was born. Grasses and shrubs spread out again surprisingly fast. Diminished game populations started to increase. Many species were reintroduced, including giraffe, which had last inhabited the area 120 years ago. The park has grown to 102.000 ha and is managed by an experienced director.

Nature conservation is costly. Gondwana Cañon Park is financed with the profits from its hospitality business. The non-profit company Nature Investments Pty Ltd runs several accommodation establishments in one part of the large park: Cañon Village, Cañon Lodge, Cañon Roadhouse and Cañon Mountain Camp. Activities such as drives, horse-riding and hiking are of course offered in a way which ensures the least possible damage to nature.

The income derived from eco-tourism does not only benefit nature but people as well: hospitality services, nature conservation efforts and the self-sufficiency centre provide 120 employees with job security and a perspective for the future. This is many more than a sheep farm of the same size would be able to employ, and wages are much higher.

Gondwana Cañon Park is a project which makes everyone a winner: tourists, employees and above all nature.

More Topics on the Gondwana Cañon Park
Climate - Rainfalls can occur in summer and in winter. Climatologically an exceptional case...

Geology - Huge layers of conglomerates testify to times of plentiful water.

Flora - Plants have come up with clever tricks to survive in arid conditions.

Fauna - Until a hundred years ago the area around Fish River Canyon was an animal kingdom like Etosha...

History - The coming and going in the south: Bushmen, Nama, Oorlam. And later on traders, missionaries, settlers and soldiers from Europe...

Research - Botanists are worried about withering quiver trees. Could the changing global climate be the reason?
Gondwana Cañon Park - Back to the Future

The holiday-maker with the wide-brimmed hat is gaping incredulously. He is obviously convinced that he must be dreaming. And indeed, what he sees seems like out of a dream: a wide sloping plain with the occasional shrub and some grass scattered sparingly in between. In front of the mountain range on the horizon enormous clefts are furrowing the earth - the Fish River Canyon. But it isn't the grand landscape which has the tourist gaping. It is a head, on a long neck patterned in brown and beige, sticking out from behind an acacia tree near the dry river-bed. A giraffe at the Fish River Canyon?

This is no mirage. It is the result of years of work towards nature's recovery and conservation. After decades of sheep farming the area had been dismissed as totally overgrazed. According to research, farming in this part of the country is madness. The average annual rainfall is 80 mm (less than 100 mm characterises a desert) and extended periods of drought occur regularly. From a biologist's point of view extensive sheep farming amounts to a catastrophe: this area is part of the Succulent Karoo, one of the world's 20 most important biomes with extraordinary diversity. Many plants have been extremely inventive in adapting to the arid conditions and do not occur anywhere else.
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Nature Investments (Pty) Ltd, PO Box 80205, Windhoek, Namibia, Tel: 264 (0)61 230066, Fax: 264 (0)61 251863, eMail: info@sinadalian.com

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