Kanaan Desert Retreat
This 33,000-hectare beautifully preserved habitat in the Namib Desert is a photographer’s paradise, with endless red dunes and night skies to take your breath away. Approximately two hours south of Neuras and bordering the Namib Naukluft Park, Kanaan’s contrasting landscapes are never-ending. It’s a location where nature, luxury and conservation perfectly combine. Since acquiring the land in 2014, we have transformed the area into a wildlife reserve where fences have been removed and the land fully rehabilitated to provide a refuge for a number of species such as cheetah and hyena.
Naankuse runs a Spotted Hyena Research Project and a Rapid Respond Unit, helping to mitigate human-carnivore conflict. The aim is to reduce lethal carnivore removals by working directly with landowners across Namibia. This project fills a crucial gap between species-specific conservation and government efforts, by working directly with landowners who are most often responsible for lethal persecutions. We are currently conducting research at Kanaan Desert Retreat through the continuous support of Colchester Zoo.
Spotted Hyena Research Project
The Kanaan research programme is focused on researching the spotted hyenas of the Namib Desert. The aims of our study are to identify population dynamics, prey preferences and spatial ecology. These findings are used to refine conflict mitigation methods between carnivores and farmers who report problems with spotted hyenas.
With the findings that our research on spotted hyenas produces, we aim to update the population density and distribution maps of spotted hyenas in south-west Namibia. Through our Hunting Ecology and Encounter Probability Study, we aim to reduce conflict by identifying high conflict situations and providing the proper information to reduce those situations.
Impact of this Project
Our project fills a crucial gap between species-specific conservation and government efforts by working directly with landowners who are most often responsible for lethal persecutions. We support farmers with effective tools to manage carnivores on their land including consultations, data sharing and livestock protection strategies. Our project facilitates an environment of coexistence between man and carnivore, and ultimately reduces persecutions through applied research, community engagement, education and livestock management.
The generous funds donated by Colchester Zoo have contributed significantly to our crucial field research to further our aim of protecting Namibia’s large carnivores. This includes researching new livestock protection strategies and undertaking key research and conflict mitigation in various key sites throughout Namibia.
Providing daily updates to the farmers on whose properties large carnivores have been fitted with GPS collars has presented us with a fantastic opportunity for the education of Namibians about the ecology of these animals. In many cases it has led to an increase in tolerance and decrease in persecution by these individuals. This program provides a direct support network for the management and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict situations on commercial livestock properties in Namibia. Our system of non-removal in favor of collar and release is growing in popularity among the farmers and landowners.
How to find us
This enchanting reserve borders the Namib Naukluft Park with its breathtaking dunes to the west, and the Tiras Mountains to the east.
Directions from Windhoek to Kanaan:
- Drive B1 south to Mariental, then turn right on to C19 towards Maltahohe.
- Continue through town to the T-junction, then left on to C14. Continue for 35 km, then turn right onto D824.
- Continue for 11km. Follow D831 left, and right on to D826 towards Duwiseb Castle. Continue to Betta, then left on to C27 towards Farm Spes Bona.
- At Spes Bona turn right on to D707. Continue for 45km to Kanaan entrance.
South 25deg 50mins 47secs
East 016deg 10mins 09secs
GPS: 24° 27′ 42.92″S 16° 14′ 12.24″E (24.463867 16.236733)
As a volunteer at Kanaan you will participate in our conservation work. This includes getting involved in our efforts to restore the land to its original beauty, tracking wild carnivores and researching free-roaming wildlife.
Current Kanaan research and conservation projects include our human-carnivore conflict research project and spotted hyena research project.
Activities can include, but are not limited to:
- GPS tracking in the field
- Setting camera traps and analyzing the image data
- Learning about flora and fauna
- Identifying signs and tracks of the local wildlife
- Helping with wildlife population census
- Exploring the vast and abundant landscapes
- Sundowners and star-gazing
- Other activities that may arise during your stay.
Human-Carnivore Conflict Research
Human-carnivore conflict is the clash between Namibia’s carnivores and landowners and is actively mitigated by Naankuse.
Spotted Hyena Project
Monitoring spotted hyena populations at Kanaan and Neuras to study and subsequently understand human-wildlife conflict in southern Namibia.