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Etosha-Skeleton Coast


  • Quick Facts:


    6,349,920 hectares (24,500 sq. mi)

  • Key Landmarks

    1. Etosha National Park
    2. Etosha Pan
    3. Skeleton Coast
    4. Khoadi-Hoas Conservancy


The Etosha-Skeleton Coast landscape, in the northern part of Namibia, is home to Etosha National Park and its vast salt pan, woodland, and savanna ecosystems. To the west of the park lies the windswept, arid Skeleton Coast, where elephants still roam. The Etosha-Skeleton Coast landscape is home to a diverse range of wildlife, from the black-faced impala to the desert-dwelling oryx to more commonly known animals such as the elephant, wild dog, lion, and cheetah. Northern Namibia is also home to a number of ethnic groups such as the Herero or the Himba.

Tags: Namibia, Southern Africa


Fighting over scarce resources.

Farmers and pastoralists in Namibia must share space with wildlife. As wildlife ranges expand, conflict between local communities and animals, particularly with elephants and predators, has increased. This is because humans and wildlife are competing over limited water and land resources. Elephants destroying crops or lions killing livestock have the potential to wipe out a family’s entire livelihood, threatening their survival, which is why many communities retaliate and kill wildlife.

Floods, drought, and other hardships.

Rural communities already living on the edge in northern Namibia face an uncertain future as climate variability increases the likelihood of more floods and drought. Food and water insecurity make for harder living for people and threaten survival for wildlife.


Our solutions to the challenges in the Etosha-Skeleton Coast landscape:

  • Educate communal owners and stewards.

    Human-wildlife conflict can be reduced by showing communities how wildlife can be a boon to their livelihoods through tourism and other enterprises. When people see a sustained financial benefit from having wildlife on their land, they’re much more likely to want to help protect that new source of revenue.

  • Improve resilient livelihoods through diversification.

    Crops and livestock are vulnerable to droughts and flooding, in addition to conflict with wildlife. Getting rural communities involved in different enterprises can help them become more resilient to climate variability by diversifying their livelihoods. Thus, families are no longer solely reliant on crops and livestock for their survival.

  • Empower through enterprise.

    African Wildlife Foundation is scaling up social venture capital investments through its subsidiary, African Wildlife Capital (AWC), which invests in socially and environmentally responsible businesses, such as the Grootberg Lodge in the Khoadi-Hoas community conservancy. Businesses like Grootberg must comply with conservation and social covenants to secure and maintain investment—ultimately improving the lives of people, the future of wildlife, and the health of ecosystems.

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