Eco Awards Namibia
Grootberg Lodge is a landmark in Namibia for the tourism industry as it is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy. The European Union funded the project through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Development Programme with a donation of N$4.5 million to develop the 12-room Lodge. At the same time, the private sector has been called in to supply the training and management skills until the community becomes self-sustainable.
The purpose of the Grootberg Lodge is not only to offer a professional service, great surroundings, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management but, at the same time, to benefit the local community thanks to the revenues generated by the Lodge. While sustainability of the Conservancy is a primary objective which the Lodge would contribute towards, there are additional benefits such as increasing direct job opportunities in a poorly developed area; supporting marginal people with projects such as building schools, clinics, creating a community kitchen for the elderly and vulnerable groups and award bursaries to promising pupils with the proceeds of the lodge.
Another important aim of the Lodge is to reduce the animal/human conflict in this community so that the locals will be more tolerant of the lions, cheetahs and elephants and give them a value from a tourism perspective.
The success of the lodge is critical to demonstrate the value of the land-use which the conservancy is promoting. The exclusive development area needs to show the value in setting aside "core" areas for tourism and biodiversity conservation.