Aus Tourist Information Centre
Aus, a settlement situated 120km east of Lüderitz, is nestled in a valley at the top of an escarpment overlooking the Namib Desert in Southern Namibia. It is at the northern most point of the succulent Karoo biome, and because of its altitude as well as winter and summer rainfall, has a high degree of succulent endemism.
At the initiative of a local lodge and tour operator, Klein Aus Vista, a legally constituted community trust (Aus Community Conservation Trust - ACCT) was established in April 2001 for the purpose of conserving the fragile environment in the Aus Townlands and the surrounding areas, and also to promote environmentally sustainable development. The board of Trustees was elected by the entire community and represents important local stakeholders such as the Karas Regional Council, NamWater, local farmers, and the tourism private sector.
With assistance provided by MET, EU and NNF, the ACCT has developed a new tourist information centre at the entrance to town. The centre, which will be officially opened for business in March 2006, includes a restaurant, kiosk, and gift shop, as well as office space for ACCT. Through the centre the Trust aims to attract more visitors into the town, as well as generate a stable income source for implementing conservation activities, as well as initiatives that will improve the town and provide jobs to local people.
In March 2005 ACCT acquired a grant from CI through the SKEP programme to assist it with developing and implementing a community based natural resource management (CBNRM) programme in the Aus Townlands. As part of this project the following activities are being carried out.
- Collection of important baseline information on the local botany, as well as social issues such as how people currently use the Townlands.
- Development of a community vision for the future use of the Aus Townlands.
- Development and implementation of a land use management system for the Aus Townlands.
- Establishment of natural resource based enterprises that will create new local jobs and reduce poverty.
These activities are being planned and carried out by the Trust, with participation of the community. The Karas Regional Council is fully behind the initiative, which it sees as providing real empowerment to local people in terms of management of natural resources and development by the community itself.
For more information about this project, please contact:
Aus Community Conservation Trust
PO Box 25, Aus, Namibia
Tel / fax: +264 63 258 021