The Award: With nominations from over a thousand luxury travel professionals, hundreds of readers of Conde Nast Traveller, Tatler, Brides and Travel Africa Magazine you can rest assured that any safari business nominated for a Safari Award is amongst the best in its genre. Finalists are amongst the top 3% in Africa and the Safari Award Winners are unquestionably the best, their reputation earned through excellence recognised by people who know what they are talking about.
The hard work and impact made by AfriCat has been recognized by the judging panel of the Good Safari Awards. Leading a diverse field of established African conservation projects, AfriCat was crowned ‘Best Wildlife Organisation’ on the continent. The team at AfriCat and Okonjima are thrilled to have been recognized for what they do and look forward to introducing more international guests to their unique project in Namibia.
Background: The AfriCat Foundation started out in 1992 as a small welfare organization when ‘Chinga’ the Cheetah was bought by the Hanssen Family at a cattle auction and given a home at their farm, Okonjima. Since then, the AfriCat Foundation has dedicated its efforts to rescuing carnivores from inhumane conditions, taken care of those too injured to be set free, rehabilitated and released more than 1000 large carnivores back into the wild.
The Africat Foundation now operates from two centres, one in the heart of Namibia’s commercial farmlands, the other bordering on the communal areas to the west of the Etosha National Park. Together they are making significant inroads into the never ending arena of human/wildlife conflict through education, awareness and mitigation.
The AfriCat/Okonjima relationship was established with operational sustainability as one of its goals. Although there is always the need to seek funds for new ideas and projects which the Foundation tries to tackle, the day-to-day costs are covered by and large from the visitors who come to see the Foundation, witness its work and share in its dreams. Likewise because the visitor comes to see AfriCat, so Okonjima can develop and expand the range of experiences it is able to offer. It is a model of modern sustainable tourism at work.
Education and human-wildlife conflict mitigation are two of the key pillars in the successful conservation of Namibia’s large predators. Through the AfriCat education and awareness program, children and adults are taught the value of wildlife and the vital need to conserve it. Learners visit the AfriCat centers at both Okonjima and Kavita to witness first hand conservation in action. For most, this is their first positive experience of naturally occurring predators.
Context: Okonjima is part of the Naturally Namibia collection, a unique partnership of owner run safari experiences and properties. www.naturallynamibia.com