Sustainability at Sossusvlei Desert Reserve
At &Beyond we seek to maintain a low impact on the land while deriving high yield for our conservation initiatives by creating very small luxury lodges that support enormous tracts of biodiverse land, which remains untouched. At every lodge we seek out small (and sometimes not so small) but meaningful ways of putting our values into action every day. Each &Beyond lodge supports the conservation of wildlife and contributes to its neighbouring communities in one way or another. In addition, we seek to limit our impact in terms of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy, water and waste management, and recycling.
For example, at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge invasive vegetation has been removed and recycled into "bushblok" logs for lodge fires.
Current Sustainability projects at Sossusvlei Desert Reserve
Assist in protection of the Sossusvlei dune site
The Sossusvlei Desert Lodge Green Team regularly takes on the opportunity to assist with the cleaning up of litter in the public tourist areas at the nearby Sossusvlei dune site. Senior Sossuslvlei Desert Lodge guides engage with authorities and other operators to encourage appropriate behaviour when viewing sensitive desert wildlife.
Cheetahs Help Clear Encroaching Bush
&Beyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has started using ‘bushbloks’ in their lodge fireplaces. The Cheetah Conservation Fund identified a business opportunity by processing encroaching bush (caused by unpredictable droughts and poor livestock farming practices) into compacted logs for fires. These economical bushbloks contain no additives and only release a minimal amount of ash and smoke whilst keeping our guests warm during those chilly desert nights. In the words of the SDL family, “They’re brilliant”!
Conservation Education for the children of Namibia
In 2006, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge started sponsoring children from poor schools all over Namibia to attend a four-day course at NADEET (The Namibia Desert Environmental Education Trust). This wonderful non-profit organization has a small camp at the southern end of the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
Energy Conservation Victory in the Namib Desert
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge abandoned buying firewood in May 2006; the fragile ecology of the desert did not lend itself to support the supply of firewood and an alternative means of heating the lodge was required. 'Bushbloks' are now used to fuel all fires; they are produced and marketed by a joint project between the Cheetah Conservation Programme and US AID.
In the fragile desert landscape it is vital to be extra sensitive to the environment in which the lodge is constructed, and to manage all forms of energy and water use. Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has a vigorous recycling program, with dry waste being transported to Walvis Bay. Strict water conservation is employed at the lodge.
Maltahohe Children Feeding Project
The Maltahohe Children Feeding Project was started by Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia, in response to the desperate need for basic nutrition in the poverty stricken children of the nearby Maltahohe village. Due to high unemployed and poor rains in the area these children have been denied the basic right to food.
Maltohohe Feeding Scheme
Maltohohe is a small, impoverished town in the Namibian 'outback'. There are few economic opportunities in the area and many families are too poor to provide proper nutrition or education for their children. Sossusvlei Desert Lodge provides direct financial support and logistical assistance to the community and raises additional funds through an innovative ostrich egg sale. A small kitchen and dining hall is leased by the lodge and run by Daniel Fleermuys of the Lutherin Church.
Monitoring of desert wildlife
Resident naturalists and Sossusvlei Desert Lodge guides observe and document all interesting wildlife sightings in the NamibRand and at the Sossusvlei dune site. This includes large herbivore movements, diet and birth, and mammalian predatory activity. Records are kept of bird distribution, breeding and seasonal movements.
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge provides Education for children of the Maltahohe Village
The staff of Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia, through the Maltahohe Project, identified the 25 neediest children of the nearby village and donated money to pay for their school fees to ensure they could be enrolled at Daweb, the local school. Education is essential in breaking the poverty cycle that has entrapped this community in severe unemployment and deprivation, and Sossusvlei Desert lodge aims to uplift these children through providing them with an opportunity that only education affords.
Support of Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust
&Beyond provides financial support to Nadeet, a non-profit trust which focuses on raising environmental awareness among young Namibians. The learning programmes overlap with the official school curriculum so teachers and pupils benefit enormously from a visit to the NaDEET centre in the Namib Desert. Issues such as the importance of recycling and water conservation are combined with ecological studies of unique desert-adapted wildlife.