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A glimpse into Namibia’s international hunting benefits

2024-04-19  Correspondent

A glimpse into Namibia’s international hunting benefits

Emmanuel Koro


NAMIBIA’S international hunting permits increased by more than 600 in 2023, according to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s official statistics.

“It’s estimated that hunters visiting Namibia constitute between 3% and 5% of total tourist arrivals, yet they contribute up to a quarter of the total revenue generated from tourism,” said the president of Namibia Professional Hunters Association (NAMPHA), Alex Cramer, stressing that international hunting brings in much more revenue than photographic tourism.

“These hunters are renowned for their generous tipping, which provides significant additional income for the staff and for purchasing costly gifts for their loved ones back home,” Cramer said. 

He said funds raised from international hunting “are very important for conservation efforts in Namibia.

“They [international hunting proceeds] support game ranger operations, anti-poaching units and community projects, underscoring hunting’s role in sustainable conservation and community development,” noted Cramer.

“An example of how these funds are used is evident in the support for game rangers and, in light of the horse units funded by the Game Products Trust Fund (GPTF), dedicated anti-poaching operations. These units are essential in the fight against poaching, especially when it comes to protecting endangered species like the rhino,” he said. 

He continued: “We have the moral and ethical obligation to allocate funds to conservancies, wildlife councils and protected areas and to persons, organisations and institutions approved by the minister [of environment, forestry and tourism], to be used in connection with projects and programmes regarding wildlife conservation and management and rural development, and to support measures aimed at improving the relationship between people and wildlife.”

Cramer said NAPHA also supports improvements in the monitoring, management, protection, sustainable use and development of wildlife resources in rural areas.

There are currently 56 conservancies that benefit from trophy hunting through approved tenders with hunting outfitters.

“The agreements between community and hunting outfitters, are usually a combination of financial gain to the community, employment for community members and the building of infrastructure like roads and camps,” added Cramer.

Explaining the significance of international hunting revenue support to wildlife and habitat conservation in Namibia, Cramer said it “increases the economic value of wildlife, making it financially viable for individuals to engage in sustainable hunting practices.”

“This economic incentive is crucial for the conservation of wildlife populations,” he noted. 

“To ensure these practices are sustainable, Namibia’s Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism regularly conducts game counts to monitor wildlife health.”



Unpacking the uniqueness of international hunting’s contribution to Namibia’s tourism economy, Cramer said in “areas of Namibia that do not attract many tourists, hunting serves as an important source of income.”

“Without the financial benefits of trophy hunting [international hunting], landowners might be more inclined to convert their land for agricultural use, potentially overlooking wildlife conservation,” he said. 

“Trophy hunting thus provides a financial motivation to protect and sustainably manage wildlife,” he stated. 

He said the specific socio-economic benefits that Namibian hunting communities derive from international hunting “are usually a combination of financial gain to the community, employment for community members and the building of infrastructure like roads and camps.”

Employment creation is one of the most important socio-economic benefits that international hunting continues to bring to Namibia.

Hunting lodges, which often cater exclusively for hunting parties, provide significant employment opportunities and typically require more staff than agricultural farms.

The roles include cooks, cleaners, waiters and laundry staff. 

“The employment impact of hunting lodges is substantial, as every employed individual supports at least three other people, thereby alleviating potential governmental support needs. This does not account for the numerous other roles such as assistants, camp attendants, trackers, skinners, cleaners, and taxidermists who are indirectly employed through the sector,” he noted. 



International hunting brings significant conservation and socio-economic benefits to Namibia, but remains threatened by the anti-international hunting lobby, largely from Western countries.

Explaining how Namibia protects itself against such threats, Cramer said, “As you might have seen already, our Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta sent a stern letter to his German counterpart [protesting Germany’s plans to ban hunting trophies imports].

“We are astonished to learn from various sources that the German federal ministry for the environment, conservation, nuclear safety and consumer protection plans to “‘make the import of hunting trophies of animal species listed in Appendices I and II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) more difficult and in some cases, completely prohibited’”, said Shifeta in his protest letter.

“We would kindly like to ask you for the basis of this intention and what kind of imports you specifically intend to restrict beyond regulations in place. The use of our natural resources is enshrined in Namibia’s Constitution (refer to Art. 95 (1)). Some of the species listed in the CITES Appendices are abundant and/or increasing in our country. These include savannah elephant, black and white rhino, lion, leopard, Hartmann’s zebra, giraffe, etc.”

According to Cramer, NAPHA “is in close contact with the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) in Europe, and whenever such threats rear their ugly head, we make an effort to contact the relevant governments and give them the facts.”

 The CIC is a politically-independent, international, non-governmental advisory body that advocates wildlife conservation through the principles of sustainable use.


-Emmanuel Koro is a Johannesburg-based international award-winning environmental journalist, who writes independently on environmental and developmental issues in Africa.



2024-04-19  Correspondent

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