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King Nehale Gate becomes base for new lodge eyeing both wildlife and culture

King Nehale Gate becomes base for new lodge eyeing both wildlife and culture

If finding scrawny cattle trekking across a salt pan as flat as a spirit level, fits your view of conservation, then a proposed new lodge just outside the northern boundary of Etosha National Park is the obvious choice for a Namibian safari that covers both wildlife and indigenous culture.

This week Gondwana Collection, operator of 14 lodges spread across the country, announced it has finalised an agreement with the King Nehale Conservancy for a joint venture to construct and operate a lodge, a stone throw from the King Nehale Gate, the only entrance into Etosha National Park from the north. The lodge will be located very close to the Etosha fence within the King Nehale Conservancy, a thin sliver of protected land wedged between Etosha and Owamboland.

With its close proximity to Etosha, the new King Nehale Lodge will offer its visitors quick access to one of Africa’s largest and best-known conservation areas. But its location has been chosen carefully and it also provides access to the rich cultural heritage of northern Namibia.

The 40-room lodge will require an investment of between N$40 million and N$60 million. Construction is intended to start before the end of the year.

After signing the agreement with the conservancy’s management, Gys Joubert, Gondwana’s MD, said “We at Gondwana are extremely humbled and excited about this opportunity. Etosha, together with our traversing rights into exclusive parts of Etosha, will remain the anchor of this lodge.”

Dwelling on the lodge’s prime location, he continued “This location also affords us the opportunity to open up the wonderful tourism potential of the four O regions. The modern traveller wants to experience and interact with the local cultures and we hope to play our part, together with the local communities, to explore this last frontier of Namibian tourism.”

The King Nehale Conservancy is situated along the northern border of the Etosha National Park. To the north, the conservancy is surrounded by the communal areas of the Oshikoto, Oshana, Ohangwena and Omusati regions. The new King Nehale lodge will give guests the opportunity to experience the natural wonders of Etosha and enjoy the cultural vibrancy of the Owambo people.

Caption: Managing Director of Gondwana Collection, Gys Joubert (seated front centre) with Mr RN Erckie, a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, shortly after the lodge operator concluded a joint venture deal with the King Nehale Conservancy. Members of the conservancy’s management and of the Ondonga Traditional Authority witnessed the signing. (Photograph by Gondwana Collection)

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and is working on her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST). She believes education is the greatest equalizer. She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.