Like all of Cheetah Conservation Fund’s (CCF’s) programs, our tourism and hospitality initiatives have grown significantly over the past 30 years and become a very important part of everything we do. In a typical year we average around 14,000 guests at our International Research and Education Centre – daily visitors and overnight guests combined. This year, we are very thankful to have welcomed around 3,200 guests though that figure represents an almost 80% decline when compared to the same time last year. For most of April and May, Namibia was in a complete shutdown. Our international travel ban was just lifted at the end of September and we do hope that visitors may once again visit CCF and Namibia.
Tourism has been one of Namibia’s largest growing industries, with a lot of developments emerging in the Otjiwarongo area over the past couple of years. CCF is one of the region’s leading travel and tourism destinations, thus boosting the local businesses of Otjiwarongo. Not having tourism this year has had a devastating impact on the local economy. Please help us recuperate our loss of funding due to the impact of COVID-19 by supporting CCF with a donation.
We know that Namibia’s tourism will recover in time. I may be biased, but I think Namibia is one of the most beautiful and unique wildlife viewing destinations in the entire world. Over the past 30 years, thanks to Namibia’s government and the efforts of CCF and other NGOs, Namibians have become very knowledgeable about the countries’ wildlife and stewards of its natural resources.
CCF’s Developments in Tourism and Hospitality
- CCF first began welcoming visitors to our Cheetah Museum in 2000. Our first visitor to the interactive educational and immersive experience was Namibia’s Founding President, and CCF’s first International Paton, His Excellency Dr. Sam Nujoma. He dedicated our newly built Research and Education Centre and cut the red ribbon opening CCF’s informative exhibits to the world.
- CCF finished the Babson House, our luxury overnight accommodations, in 2007. Our first guests were the building’s namesakes, Susan and Art Babson, the incredibly generous donors who funded the building project. They believed in the potential of tourism for CCF, and we have lived up to their faith in the project. We have consistently raised funds and awareness by offering overnight accommodations at Babson House and at our Cheetah View Lodge, opened in 2017.
- The Dancing Goat Creamery was founded in 2013 and has grown into a significant portion of CCF’s Model Farm and tourism programing. People love to see the goats and our livestock guarding dogs and puppies, and we offer tours of the creamery and farm to day visitors.
- Our Cheetah Cafe’ and our Gift Shop were both relocated and rebuilt as part of our new Visitor’s Centre in 2015. At the Cafe’ guests can sample our goat milk cheeses, ice cream and other goat milk-based products from the Dancing Goat Creamery. At the Gift Shop we sell locally made handcrafted products, jewelry, beautiful one-of-a-kind artwork, cheetah books and cheetah sponsorships.
Besides the Waterberg Plateau, a national park and nature reserve that is home to CCF and part of the Waterberg Conservancy, my favorite place to visit in Namibia is the northwest region of the country where the desert-adapted elephants and lions of Kunene and Damaraland live. There is a lot to discover within Namibia. There is something here to please everyone and when people are ready to travel again, Namibia will be waiting with a huge welcome sign.
My family has been a part of Namibia for over 80 years. I was born in Outjo and raised in Otjiwarongo, the town nearest to CCF. Growing up in Otjiwarongo, my family and I were very familiar with CCF. I was always really interested in travelling so I decided to study Hospitality and Catering at Boland College in Stellenbosch, South Africa, where I completed my degree in 2006. I did my internship including duties like housekeeping, bookings, kitchen, stock controlling, serving guests and all other lodge related duties at Out of Africa Town Lodge and Guesthouse based in Otjiwarongo. I worked in the tourism industry for almost 14 years and in 2017, I became the Tourism Manager at Cheetah Conservation Fund. My husband, Ruan, also works at CCF as the Anti-Poaching and Maintenance Manager. We have two young children who share our love of wildlife, Ryan and Kaylee. We are committed to making sure kids across Namibia can enjoy a future that includes a diversity of beautiful wildlife – especially the cheetah.
As the Tourism Manager at CCF, I help to develop, grow and facilitate all of the different types of visitation. My work has changed a lot in the past few months but we are all doing our best at CCF to find alternative ways to get people involved remotely. My favorite part of my job is meeting people from around the world, this while enjoying life in the bush. I love welcoming visitors and I get a huge sense of satisfaction in helping them have the best possible experience at our Centre. I was delighted to hear that the country was opening back up to international travel at the middle of September.
Our first international day visitors since Namibia’s shutdown began, Annick and Phileppe Glinel, came to CCF from Calvados, France on October 5th. They watched the French language translated CCF Introduction Video at the Cheetah Museum. They went for a special Livestock Guarding Dog tour with Calum O’Flaherty, CCF’s Livestock Guarding Dog and Small Stock Manager, and then they attended our daily ambassador cheetah feeding. Before they left they supported our efforts with a visit to our Cheetah Gift Shop.
The day visitors, student groups and international travellers we normally see, help us in our mission to save the cheetah and its ecosystem. You can help support CCF too. We would love to welcome you to our Centre but if you cannot come to visit at this time please consider making a donation to support our research, education and conservation programs.
April 10, 2022Calypso and Her Cubs – Never A Dull Moment at CCF