At Wolwedans we have been practicing “business in the balance” from day one. It’s in our DNA. Our camps and lodges are built in environmentally friendly methods with a contemporary edge. Every camp can be removed and the area can be restored to its original state.
We believe the balance in nature should be observed in business too. This is why we are proud founding members of the Long Run and a certified Global Ecosphere Retreat (www.thelongrun.com). As a LongRunner, we adopted the 4C business model, which focuses on a careful balance of commerce, conservation, community and culture in all we do.
Our commitment to a new way has led us on an incredible journey. During the last five years, we have invested in excess of 6 million Namibia Dollars in renewables (solar) energy projects. In addition to some 200 kWh of solar power generation (spread amongst our camps and Wolwedans village), we installed highly energy efficient fridges and freezers and LED lighting. We manage our water resources very carefully and our functioning organic gardens provide a wide bouquet of delicious vegetables to eat for both our guests and staff. Providing organic desert grown greens is a real treat for our guests. Producing our own eggs will be next.
Wolwedans is also embarking on a mission to change guest experiences from “passive consumption to active participation”. Bushman walks, trekking, cycling, and horse riding are welcome alternatives to the classic game-drive, plus they help us to reduce our carbon footprint.
For the last 10 years, we incorporated training into the Wolwedans Way, addressing the community (C). Two functioning educational institutions, the Wolwedans Desert Academy and the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education in Windhoek have to date trained and certified around 250 young Namibians. We believe in human capital development through vocational skills development and life-skills training. Both institutions are nationally accredited and work in partnership with the Social Security Commission of Namibia as well as the Namibian Training Authority. This has not only improved our ability to deliver an incredible experience by overseeing the training and development of our staff from the start but it allows us to provide our fellow tourism operators with skilled local staff who can add value wherever they go.
We feel that when a guest comes to Wolwedans they deserve an experience that transforms their view of the world. This is why our new Vision statement is “Wolwedans exists to inspire a new way”.
We support the conservation vision of the late Albi Brückner set out so long ago when he saw the sheep industry collapsing in Namibia and the area was close to economic ruin. His view was that these former sheep farms could be transformed into a conservation area and 25 years later, the NamibRand Nature Reserve is regarded as one of the world’s flagship private large landscape conservation projects. Wolwedans has contributed to this vision by generating almost 60% of the park fees, which support the NamibRand Nature Reserve in its conservation efforts.
Albis son, Stephan, believes that a social agenda should naturally build on a good foundation laid out by the healthy land under conservation. So, in addition to running a commercially viable enterprise, “human capital development” is taking center stage a Wolwedans. With 3 C’s covered, this leaves us with culture, a topic we leave for another time.
The desert may be unforgiving with intense sunlight and prolonged periods of drought – we can make sure though, that our property and our people are beyond hospitable and that the Wolwedans Way transforms everyone’s view of how business can balance the interests of people, planet, and profit.