Your holiday should not harm the environment

That time of the year has come when everybody pack up and head to the coast of Namibia and NACOMA asks everyone to adhere to the rules and regulations regarding the environment.

Everyone comes to the coast because it is a place of extraordinary and breathtaking splendour, a place where the hot desert meets the icy Benguela current. It is richly blessed with unique plants, animals and birds. However, these unique coastal ecosystems are extremely fragile and can easily be disturbed by human activities. The coastal areas fall within a series of contiguous protected areas, namely the Skeleton Coast Park, the Dorob National Park, the Namib-Naukluft Park and the Sperrgebiet National Park. By following all rules and regulations, you are assisting in the conservation of our parks, coast, and bio-diversity and ensuring sustainability of our visitors. To make your holiday more enjoy-able without getting on the wrong side of the law, here are some of the do’s and don’ts.

What to do at our coast:

Familiarise yourself with the rules and regulations related to the exploitation of marine resources.

Obtain a permit from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) offices for entering or camping in all parks and adhere to the park rules on your park permit. In the National Parks, remain on demarcated routes and do not venture into other areas without a qualified guide. Obey any legal order or instruction given by a law enforcement officer. Comply with the instructions of sign-posts, signboards, pamphlets or communicated in any manner. Enjoy the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay with your 4×4, quad bike, motorbike in the designated area where a free permit from MET is required. Inside these areas, please stay on the dunes and avoid slip faces, gravel plains and vegetated areas.

Motocross bikes or quad bikes are only al-lowed to drive on the beaches between Swakopmund and Henties Bay and only on pro-claimed roads and clearly marked MET tracks and roads.

Obtain a permit from the Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MF MR) to catch fish, col-lect bait/mussels or dive for rock lobster and respect harvesting limitations.

Also ensure that tour operators, whether in aircraft, boat or car, keep a safe distance from wildlife.

What not to do at our fascinating coast:

Do not drive off the road except on demarcated areas and adhere to legal requirements. Off-road driving has a negative impact on the desert gravel plains, the lichen fields, and the breeding birds and destroy the aesthetic beauty of the area. Dune driving is dangerous and where al-lowed should be under-taken with a professional, qualified guide. Off-loading of quad bike and motorised bikes is prohibited between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund at any other area than the designated off-loading areas in the Dune Belt between Langstrand and Walvis Bay. Vehicles and people on foot are not allowed in closed or exclusionary areas such as the Damara Tern breeding areas, Swakop River, lichen fields. No overnight camping is allowed on the beaches or in the dunes without permission from the MET. This ensures wildlife is not disturbed and is for your own safety and security.

Do not leave your litter behind. Use refuse bins and skips provided or take your rubbish home for the love of the pre-sent and future generations.

Do not drive over vegetation, lichen fields and mudflats. Small animals and vegetation are essentials for the desert ecosystem. Your tracks will destroy them and leave permanent scars on mudflats

Do not leave bait or fish on the beach. Either take it home or return it to the sea. Fish and bait left on the beaches attract scavengers like jackals and seagulls that prey on other biodiversity.

Do not feed wildlife be-cause fed wildlife be-come dependent on “hand-outs” and become aggressive when no food is given to them. Do not remove, collect, pick, destroy, tamper with or damage any egg, nest or burrow, tree, plant, mineral or any other object of botanical, zoological, geological, archaeological, historical or any other scientific interest, or part thereof.

Lastly, never camp near waterholes and avoid disturbing the animals.


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