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Olweendo Are you keen to help Namibia's indigenous people? Done well, community- based tourism puts your money directly into the pocket of local residents; you stay in locally- owned accommodation, eat at locally- run restaurants and employ a local guide. We asked Christopher Hill, whose company's website has been named the UK's Best Responsible Tourism Site, to draw us up a community- focused itinerary. 60 Travel Namibia Itineraries Day 1 Arrival inin Windhindhindhindhoek Stay at Rivendell Guesthouse, dinner at La Marmite. Take a Katutura Township tour with a local guide. Day 2 Aabadidi Bush Camp Stopover at the woodcarvers market in Okahandja where you can buy directly from the carvers themselves. After lunch at Aabadi, a San family will take you hiking, giving a glimpse of their lifestyle. The camp works with ten San people at a time, switching groups regularly to provide an opportunity for as many people as possible to earn an income from the camp. San families with school- going children are also free to enter the camp and set up souvenir stalls. Day 3- 5 EtEtosha Natitional Park Camp at Okaukuejo. Day 6- 10 Kaokolandnd Head up north to Opuwo, the capital of Kaokoland. Stop for dinner at the Opuwo Country Lodge and camp at the lodge. For the next four days you help with volunteer projects in the Ovahimba community. Day 11 Damaralandnd – Fort Sesfontnteinin Camp staff can take you in a 4WD vehicle in search of desert elephants in the Huanib River. Day 12 Damaralandnd – A ba- huab/ Mowanini This part of Namibia is one of the most beautiful: rugged with fascinating geological features. The afternoon is spent relaxing by the campfire or searching again for desert elephants. Day 13- 14 SwSwakopmundnd Visit the seal colony at Cape Cross before arriving in Swakopmund for a seafood supper at Lighthouse. Stay at Alternative Space B& B. Day 15 Sossusvlei Stop at Walvis Bay to look for flamingos. Take lunch on the road or at Solitaire before arriving at Sossusvlei. In the " It is one of the sensitive questions of modern day tourism – where are the local people? Not only in terms of accessibility, but also in terms of how does tourism contribute to their overall social upliftment? What role does it play in creating jobs, albeit on a small or even on a temporary scale? Tourism is a big industry in Namibia, but it is very skewed in terms of product ownership, which leads to the economic benefits being unevenly distributed. Many lodges have succeeded in tackling this dilemma by engaging in private partnerships with communities – a commendable step. Sadly, tourism is an extremely capital- intensive industry and most local entrepreneurs and communities simply do not have access to finance. This is not about black and white, but the fact remains true that ninety- five per cent of tourism in Namibia is owned by white people. This includes restaurants, lodges and other tourism affiliated services. Community- based tourism is a recognised facet of Namibia Tourism, but we face the almost insurmountable task of becoming the viable enterprises that will provide much needed employment, especially in remote communities. S upport community ventures; they may not run 4- or 5- Star establishments but they offer something in terms of cultural exchange experience that cannot be replaced by a luxurious lodge, B& B or hotel". A responsible trip Where are the local people? afternoon visit Elim Dune before returning to Sesriem for the night. Day 16 Sossusvlei - Agama Rest Camp Leave camp early and drive to Dune 45 for sunrise. After breakfast, walk through Sossusvlei. Arrive at Agama Rest Camp for a sundowner drink in the late afternoon. Day 17 Tour endnds back at Windhindhindhindhoek n www. handsupholidays. com n For more ideas on responsible tourism in Namibia turn to our map of community projects on p48. L esley Gariseb is one of the local suppliers used by Hands Up Holidays in Namibia. This is what he says about community tourism: Ute vonvon Luwiger A Herero seamstress. Buy crafts directly from the producers to ensure they get maximum reward for their work