11 Jun 2021
Vast areas of Namibia’s stunning landscapes with their flora and wildlife are under protection, not only by the government, but also by rural communities and private enterprises.
A beautiful new guide-book doubling up as travel companion provides the latest information on 22 state-protected parks, among them the world-famous Etosha National Park. A book of his calibre has not been published for nearly 30 years.
It is thus of particular importance that a new nature parks guide-book has been released on 10 June 2021. The 428-page guide “Namibia Nature Parks” by local nature expert Helge Denker explains the evolution of conservation in Namibia – a remarkable and internationally renowned success story – its parks development since 1907 (!) and the concept of community conservancies.
In addition, interesting details about two large private conservation areas in Namibia are also contained. The subtitle “A personal guide to Namibia’s great wild spaces” raises the reader’s expectations, which are fully met when browsing through the pages.
Layout, design and style successfully blended
The book already impresses optically from far with an eye-catching cover in crimson Kalahari sand colours depicting a lone Oryx antelope in a dune landscape so typical of southern Namibia.
The layout provides a nice mix of glossy pages, great photos, concise chapters and some nostalgic flair from the days of Isak Denisen’s “Out of Africa”, with handwritten notes and drawings of the author Helge Denker framed by a leather diary and its well-worn strap. The hued photo of his trusted pair of binoculars on a leather neck-strap on one of the first pages says it all: Denker has a deep passion and love for Namibia’s fascinating bush and wild outdoors, which is reflected on virtually every page. Cleverly, the usual ‘foreword’ is right at the back of this book.
Detailed maps and travel tips, easy-to-read background information on natural history and geo-morphology as well as what animals and birds can be viewed in the nature parks and conservancies, many beautiful photos and drawings give readers itchy feet to prepare a trip soonest to explore Namibia’s beauty and wildlife.
Divided in five parts, the opening chapter explains the private-sector conservation initiative behind the journey of this book project: “to strengthen the links between tourism and conservation, people and their environment, communities and parks and between the past, present and future”, according to Denker.
Travellers receive valuable travel tips as well as do’s and don’ts with regard to people and wild animals. The second chapter provides good insights into Namibia’s pre-historic days, how the landscapes were formed, the fascinating geology of the country, its fossils, deserts and the influence of climatic conditions.
Next, Denker condenses many facts while portraying Namibia in the chapter “A country profile” and its interesting conservation history and how government efforts, private initiatives and rural communities are interlinked. Denker also touches on scientific research, rescue operations and anti-poaching measures.
Part four starts on page 65 with the nature park profiles in alphabetic order, with the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park first. The most important landmarks, fauna and flora, activities, hints on accommodation, as well as park history, research and the conservation highlights are described for each of the 22 parks. The two privately owned conservation areas included in the profiles are Namib Rand and the Gondwana Canyon Park. Special mention is made about the northern community conservancies, how the indigenous communities manage them and reap benefits through tourism, hunting concessions, natural resources like thatch and medicinal plants such as devil’s claw.
Part five with the title ‘an addendum’ contains a content index, impressum, glossary, selected bibliography and a list where larger mammals can be found in which of the nature parks.
This book is not only a wonderful read for tourists from outside Namibia but also for locals who want to “re-discover” their beloved country and cannot wait to drive off again in their four-by-four vehicles loaded with camping gear and cool box to explore and areas so aptly described by Denker.
Details about the book project and publishing
The 428-page guidebook “Namibia Nature Parks - a personal guide to Namibia’s great wild spaces” with maps, 650 photos, sketches and illustrations by the Namibian nature expert Helge Denker was published by Gondwana Collection Namibia. Support came from Namibia’s financial giant, the Capricorn Group. The book was printed in Windhoek by John Meinert Printing. Proceeds from the book sales flow into support for community conservation in Namibia. The funds will be administered by the Gondwana Care Trust.
The book is available at The Narrative Namibia online shop, in the curio shops of selected Gondwana lodges and in Namibian bookstores. Readers can also explore the website www.namibia-nature-parks.com, which complements this book.
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