The right to operate the Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge in the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority’s conservancy is up for sale with the reserve price set at an estimated N$9 million.
The auction of the 6200 hectare fenced Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge together with the conservancy’s trophy hunting concession agreement which is valued at N$270,000 will go under the hammer on 30 July.
The lodge forms part of the larger 2025 square kilometers of communal land which is leased out by the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority under a trophy hunting and concession agreement to the current tenant Wouter Smith.
Smith, speaking to Economist, said that his choice to sell the current agreements with only four years left, as initial investor is due to other business commitments.
Dederick Jankowitz, the auction agent for Auction Dynamix, the company that will oversee the sale said this particular auction is a special case as it comes with no Certificate of Waiver which is the first option to buy offered to government, on commercial land. Given that it is communal land, the land remains the property of the Traditional Authority.
The current Lease & Trophy Hunting Concession Agreements are set to expire in 2019. Speculation has it that the final going price will be much higher as the Uukwaluudhi Traditional Authority expects a guaranteed annual income from trohpy hunting mainly advertised to foreign hunters which pay premium prices.
Namibia is the world leader in Community Based Natural Resource Managment which is aimed at improving the lives of the communities through sustainable hunting of highly sought after game species. The Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge, situated in the tribal conservancy, is a key component for generating income from communal property.
The Uukwaluudhi Conservancy was established in March 2003 and with a human population of an estimated 25,000, depends on establishing additional revenue streams from the tribal land.
The Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge carries approximately 1500 head of game such as Black Faced Impala, Red Hartebeest, Oryx, Eland, Giraffe and other small game.
Smith said that he intends to sell off the lodge to recuperate his initial investment which he estimates at the current reserve price for the auction of N$9million.
After the agreements expire in 2019, all improvements on the property including physical buildings will remain the property of the traditional authority. Transferring the long-term lease agreement of the Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge and the Uukwaluudhi Trophy Hunting Concession, to a new concessionaire, will require the final approval of the traditional authority.
Jankowitz also said that this particular property does not come with a title deed and that the current tenant is in agreement with the Uukwaludhi Tradional Authority in sharing the profits made from trophy hunting.
Smith said his choice to sell is a mutual agreement witht the tradional authority as per the lease agreement which came with the condition that he informs the tradiotnal authroity six months before his intent to sell which he said he did.
According to Smith the marketing agent responsible for the Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge did not do a proper job initialy and he has since choosen another agent and things seem to be improving.
Auction Dynamix said that the client’s choice of auctioning instead of a private treaty is that it is marketed more intensly, giving more people the ability to make a bid in purchasing the right to the property.
“We leave it in the hands of the owner. That is the beauty of an auction, the public can decide”, Jankowitz said when asked why the client choose the route of auctioning the property.
Smith also said that he wishes to sell the current long-term lease agreement with the Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge which expires in 2037 and comes with an automatic 5-year extension because of his involvement in another investment in Opuwo Country Lodge with partner Pavo Hamunyela.
He intends to upgrade the Opuwo Country Lodge with the proceeds from the sale of Uukwaluudhi Safari Lodge which he said cost him considerable investment in the form of a 24 kW solar power system and marketing the lodge as a tourist destination.
The official viewing day is this week Saturday and private viewings will also be entertained according to the auction agent.
The main improvements to the property include an aeroplane landing strip, a gaming fence, 2 boreholes with waterholes for game, fully furnished and equipped challets and luxury tents.