Wilderness Desert Rhino Camp and Save the Rhino Trust Recognise 19 Years of Protecting Namibia's Black Rhinos

Wilderness Desert Rhino Camp (DRC) and Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) are partners in a significant conservation coalition. Established in 2003, their success is a showcase for private sector, NGO and local communities’ collaborative efforts to conserve a Critically Endangered African pachyderm, the black rhino. 

Situated within the 580 000-hectare Palmwag Concession, Desert Rhino Camp is the result of an impactful partnership between Wilderness, Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) and the “Big 3” Namibian conservancies: Anabeb, Sesfontein and Torra. The camp’s core purpose is to protect the survival of this iconic species, with guests directly impacting rhino conservation through their journeys.

“Since opening DRC in 2003, we have been committed to our partnership with SRT and the local communities in the Palmwag Concession. The more guests and partners we directly involve in our conservation initiatives, the greater our impact on helping to protect Africa’s largest free-roaming population of black rhino”, noted Wilderness Chief Operations Officer, Alexandra Margull. 

The camp serves as a base for one of SRT’s tracking and monitoring teams, with the operational costs covered by Wilderness. SRT is responsible for leading all rhino tracking and monitoring activities, while ensuring monitoring and threat data are collected, processed and secured. In addition to generating the largest, longest-running black rhino database in the world, the partnership has also enabled SRT to successfully increase its monitoring range by 20% – at zero extra cost to the organisation.

By visiting DRC, each guest makes a significant contribution to the protection of this Critically Endangered species. As part of the lease agreement, the company provides financial remuneration and employment opportunities to the conservancies, positively uplifting the local communities. Approximately 11% of the total DRC revenue is shared between the conservancies, SRT and rhino fundraising support. This contribution exceeds the total sustainable profit made by the camp in the last five years.

“Viewing a desert-adapted black rhino in its natural surrounds is a rare opportunity, where the animal is completely unaware of, and unaffected by our presence. We want our guests to have this unforgettable wildlife experience, and have ensured that we maintain sensitive and ethical operations, with strict viewing protocols that aim to minimise disturbance. SRT rotates viewing areas so that each rhino is encountered only about three times a month”, added Alexandra.

Guests can enjoy a variety of wildlife activities at DRC, including birding and nature drives, and exploring the vast and rugged wilderness with some of the country’s most knowledgeable guides. Desert-adapted elephant, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, kudu, and predators such as lion, cheetah, leopard, and brown and spotted hyaena are also occasionally seen in the area. 

Desert Rhino Camp is renowned for its cultural charm and classic tented accommodation, comprising eight Meru-style canvas suites raised off the ground on wooden decks. The open-plan dining and lounge area offers panoramic views of the surrounding Namib Desert and Etendeka Mountains.