Tourism and conservation – one and the same for Gondwana
All the Gondwana accommodation establishments which were reassessed after two years scored the highest number of points and were awarded five desert flowers each. Whereas the Canyon Roadhouse and Canyon Village also achieved full score at the previous assessment in 2011, the environmental compatibility rating for Canyon Lodge and Namib Desert Lodge increased from three (2011) to five desert flowers.
The water recycling plants were a decisive factor for the results scored by the lodges. Recycled water is used for the gardens, cutting water consumption by more than half. As far as possible the lodges’ grounds have been planted with indigenous trees, shrubs and succulents which thrive on small quantities of water.
Waste disposal also scored high marks: waste is sorted into different materials, glass is crushed, metal is pressed and finally all of it is taken to recycling depots.
The Eco Awards experts and panel were also impressed by Gondwana’s staff training programmes and they praised the social responsibility shown by the group of lodges. As examples they mentioned the variety of Namibian products in the lodges’ souvenir shops and the cooperation projects with local communities.
Namushasha River Lodge was voted “Community Conservancy Lodge of the Year” by NACSO (Namibian Association of CBNRM Support Organisations) in recognition of Gondwana’s close cooperation with the Mashi community in terms of employment, nature conservation and support for the Namushasha Cultural Village.
This award came as a surprise because the relationship between the lodge management and the Mashi community was characterised by conflicts before Gondwana took over in June 2012.