En-route to Wolwedans from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city – many of our guests who arrive by road, travel through the village of Maltahöhe in the south-west of Namibia.
Besides the tiny stop-over of Solitaire, this is perhaps our closest community – a good 170km from Wolwedans.
Maltahöhe was established in 1899 by Henning von Burgsdorff, previously an officer in the German Schutztruppe, who named the place after his wife Malta. At the end of the German occupation of pre-colonial Namibia, the settlement became a small hub for tourism, serving as a gateway to popular destinations like Sossusvlei, Solitaire, Sesriem, and the Duwisib Castel. A popular destination for lunch for day travelers to Wolwedans – The Maltahöhe Hotel was founded in 1907 and is the oldest country hotel in Namibia.
Maltahöhe has been in steady decline for a number of decades. The retail outlet options are limited to Pep, Agra and a small Woerman Brock store. Since early 2000, many businesspeople have left and unemployment has risen. There is one government-run primary and high school in the area.
This small village is home to some of our Wolwedans Desert Academy trainees and employees. The town also used to be a centre for Karakul sheep farming, but this branch of agriculture has shrunk significantly. The town is buckling under the pressure of unemployment, which is high – with only about 500 residents in possession of some sort of job in a community of just over 6000.
There is Hope
Village Laundry: Maltahöhe will soon be home to the Wolwedans Laundry, which is earmarked for completion in mid-2019 and aims to address the unemployment issue head-on. However, there are dire needs for the immediate short-term to bring hope to the community as a whole and its learning centres.
Maltahöhe clean-up campaign: In August 2018, the Wolwedans Foundation supported by the members of the Recycle Namibia Forum and got involved in a hefty clean-up campaign that aimed to educate the children of the community on environmental awareness and the benefits of recycling, whilst bringing a fun campaign to the community and drawing in the support of the children and its residents.
Supporting the Primary School: After visiting the schools in the area, our Wolwedans Foundation saw that the local primary school, Rev. P.A Schmidt Primary School, was in ill-repair and was in need of help. Our carpenters from the base camp at Wolwedans collect many wood off-cuts from their workshop and in the interest of re-using and recycling – our sustainability team prepared to find a good use for them. The chairs in two of the largest classrooms all needed to have their backrests and seats replaced, as they were either splintered, broken or completely non-existent. The Wolwedans carpentry team repaired 60 chairs at the start of the project and aims to repair all chairs in the coming months.
By supporting Wolwedans through our sustainability levies, guests inadvertently support the Wolwedans Foundation. The Foundation manages the 4C’s at Wolwedans.
Wolwedans – A member of the Long Run
Our commitment to the 4C’s means that we regularly adopt a community project to align ourselves to our community mantra: People Matter. We do so for all the 4C’s: Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. The 4C’s are the core pillars of the Long Run. Wolwedans and the Wolwedans Foundation are members of the Long Run. We are a GER Certified Long Run Destination since 2009.
People matter: It is the right of every person to have their basic needs met and enhancing the well-being of communities is a fundamental obligation of all. Long Runners support activities that enhance the well being of communities they belong to or interact with. Activities in this dimension address fair working conditions, community relations, social infrastructure, social accountability, capacity building and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), among others.’