Tiras mountains in Southern Namibia
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History & Concept

The history of Namtib Biosphere Reserve

Namtib has been the home of the Theile Family since 1982. Nestled in a valley of the Tiras Mountains at the edge of the Namib Desert, the farm covers an area of 16 400 ha.

The prevailing arid conditions at the edge of the oldest desert in the world provide a challenging environment for commercial farming activities. Out of these harsh conditions the need arose to find a way of utilizing the land in accordance with guidelines that would ensure the protection and rehabilitation of the sensitive environment, whilst still allowing the sustainable use of the available natural resources and provide a foundation for economic growth. The model of a biosphere reserve combines these guidelines in the most suitable manner.

What is a biosphere reserve?

The term “biosphere reserve” was coined during a conference organized by UNESCO in 1968. In accordance with the definition given by the UNESCO, biosphere reserves are areas of terrestrial and/or coastal ecosystems in which the human inhabitants strive to find and eventually implement and promote solutions to combine the conservation of the biodiversity of the area covered by the reserve with its sustainable use.

However, Namtib is a privately owned property and thus does not have any official ties with UNESCO. Nonetheless, we at Namtib have adopted the guiding principles of the biosphere reserve model since they were found to be most appropriate for providing the framework for our way of life.

The concept of Namtib Biosphere Reserve

At Namtib all farming activities, be it with game or domestic animals, as well as human activities, e.g. tourism or educational, are adapted to suit the environmental conditions of the area. Through our holistic management approach of our natural resources, Namtib today boasts a large variety of fauna and flora within a well balanced ecological environment.

Education is the key to success for sustainable socio-economic development. At Namtib we provide in-service training opportunities for young Namibians in both the natural resource management as well as the hospitality sector. We constantly strive to improve our current methods and find techniques to further advance the sustainability of the entire project.

The long term objective of Namtib Biosphere Reserve is to proof that sustainable economic utilisation of the land bordering the Namib Desert is possible, whilst still ensuring the conservation of the biodiversity of this delicate environment.


Our Vision

To practice and promote the sustainable use and management of our natural resources in Southern Namibia.