Geschätzte Lesezeit: 6 Minuten

Ohorongo Private Game Reserve is located in northern Namibia and is a 20,000-hectare reserve that provides a home for wildlife such as elephants, lions, rhinos, and giraffes. The reserve offers a variety of activities, including game drives, game walks, and guided hikes. Guests can stay in luxurious lodges or comfortable tented accommodation. We conducted an interview with Kai Henniges on the topic of sustainability.

Exclusive Interview with Kai Henniges, Member of the Executive Board, Ohorongo Private Game Reserve

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your guests, generally speaking people staying in exclusive hotels, do you have the feeling that they look for sustainable arrivals to their destination?

Kai Henniges, Member of the Executive Board, Ohorongo Private Game Reserve
Kai Henniges, Member of the Executive Board, Ohorongo Private Game Reserve / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Kai Henniges: Our guests visit us to experience nature and immerse themselves in a unique habitat. It is only natural for our guests to expect a sustainable operation from us that leaves a minimal footprint on the very nature we seek to protect. Our guests are conscious of their environmental footprint and actively seek out destinations that prioritize sustainability in their operations. At Ohorongo, guests make a direct contribution to habitat protection. We are a non-profit and all profits go towards sustaining biodiversity and providing a unique sanctuary.

Andreas Conrad: So would you agree that sustainable travel starts with the actual travel itself or at the hotel?

Kai Henniges: Sustainable traveling encompasses both the journey to the destination and the accommodations. However, since travelers spend a significant portion of their time at our camps, they serve as a focal point of sustainable travel. At Ohorongo, we believe in integrating sustainability into every aspect of our guests‘ experience, from sourcing produce locally and seasonally to using solar for power generation, recycling to providing nature walks as an alternative to the steretypical game drives.

View of pure nature
View of pure nature / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Andreas Conrad: In common sense, most people connect luxury with wastefulness, of course, we know and agree that’s not always the case. So how would you reconcile luxury and sustainability?

Kai Henniges: Luxury and sustainability are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they can complement each other. At Ohorongo, we strive to redefine luxury by offering our guests an exceptional experience that is also environmentally responsible. By incorporating sustainable practices into our operations, such as using renewable energy sources, minimizing waste, and supporting local conservation efforts, we demonstrate that luxury can be achieved without compromising on environmental values. Sometimes “less is more” and our guests appreciate this approach to conscious consumption.

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of those refinements and ideas, does your resort, for example, have a two-year plan to operate more eco-friendly or sustainable? If so, are you comfortable sharing some with us?

Kai Henniges: Yes, at Ohorongo, we are committed to continuous improvement in our sustainability efforts. Some initiatives in our two-year plan include reducing single-use plastics, further reducing fossil fuels, expanding our community engagement programs, and enhancing wildlife conservation efforts on the reserve.

Even in a camp you don't have to do without comfort and luxury
Even in a camp you don’t have to do without comfort and luxury / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Andreas Conrad: In order to reach your goal, to what extent do you involve the local population in your sustainability strategies, and is there government support for sustainability programs?

Kai Henniges: Sustainability is deeply embedded in our philosophy, we recognize that we are a part of a larger system, embedded in an eco system of community and nature that we need to continually nurture. We hire locally, we participate in Government custodian programs protecting Black Rhino guarded by a team of local game keepers carefully watching over them. We also nurture, train and support local talent, not only to delight our guests with delightful experiences but also to contribute our part to uplifting communities.

Most of all we are a family; we ensure that our team is well looked after, this even goes beyond their working careers at Ohorongo and carries into their retirement.

Andreas Conrad: Due to our profession, we are at multiple exclusive resorts around the world. Sometimes we have the feeling that the thought of sustainability is only important for European or German-speaking guests. Would you agree?

Kai Henniges: While sustainability may be more prominent in the preferences of certain demographics, such as European or German-speaking guests, we believe that it is increasingly becoming a global concern. At Ohorongo, we welcome guests from diverse backgrounds who share a common interest in responsible travel and environmental stewardship. Our commitment to sustainability transcends cultural boundaries, and we strive to educate and inspire all our guests to embrace eco-friendly practices during their stay. Sometimes that also means saying denying guests certain comforts as we regard those as unsustainable, one of those is air conditioning.

Excursions with the Ranger are very popular
Excursions with the Ranger are very popular / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Andreas Conrad: Speaking of your personal opinion, how do you think traveling and staying at luxurious destinations will change in the future? And where do you see the limits of sustainability in the luxury hospitality industry?

Kai Henniges: In the future, we anticipate a greater emphasis on sustainability in the luxury hospitality industry, driven by evolving consumer preferences, regulatory requirements, and environmental imperatives. Luxury travelers are increasingly seeking authentic and meaningful experiences that align with their values, including sustainability. However, we realize that this is a journey, we know the destination, but along the way we will not be perfect.  Let me give you an example: we aim to procure the largest part of our food locally. While we cater to every dietary preference, we have many guests who enjoy eating meat as part of their diets. They even expect it as they know how healthy game meat is. But we cannot source it locally on Ohorongo as this goes against our ehtos of biodiversity protection. We end up having to drive a long distance to buy the meat from a butcher. Clearly a conflict we need to resolve over time. Another such conflict is some of our guests preferring to drink “safe” water which comes from plastic containers that need to be transported over long distances. Our local filtered spring water is perceived as not good enough, a situation that we try to resolve by explaining to the guests that our water is of high quality and very safe to drink.

Andreas Conrad: There are lots of environmentally conscious trends; which ones have you noticed in recent years?

Kai Henniges: In recent years, we’ve observed several environmentally conscious trends gaining traction in the hospitality industry, including sustainable architecture and design, farm-to-table dining, carbon offset programs, wildlife conservation experiences, and plastic-free initiatives. These trends reflect a growing awareness among travelers of the importance of environmental sustainability and a desire for more responsible and ethical travel options.

A view over Camp - fantastically beautiful
A view over Camp – fantastically beautiful / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Andreas Conrad: Lastly, we are curious! There’s a current boom in luxurious hospitality facilities all over the world. Everybody wants to go higher, further, and faster, chasing the sky. What does a luxury resort or hotel need to survive the tough competition?

Kai Henniges: In today’s competitive hospitality market, a luxury resort or hotel must differentiate itself by offering unique and memorable experiences that resonate with discerning travelers. Beyond lavish amenities and extravagant facilities, guests increasingly value authenticity, sustainability, and personalized service. To thrive in this environment, luxury properties like Ohorongo need to prioritize sustainability, experiential offerings, personalized service and authenticity.

The Ohorongo team ensures an unforgettable stay
The Ohorongo team ensures an unforgettable stay / © Photo: Marc Bassingthwaighte

Andreas Conrad: Finally, we would like to know what unique selling point your resort has in terms of environmentally friendly tourism.

Kai Henniges: At Ohorongo Private Game Reserve, our unique selling point in terms of environmentally friendly tourism lies in our holistic approach to sustainability, which encompasses conservation, community engagement, and experiential education. As a dedicated conservation area, our resort is committed to preserving the pristine wilderness of Namibia’s Kunene region while providing guests with immersive wildlife experiences and cultural encounters. Our eco-friendly accommodations blend seamlessly with the natural landscape, incorporating sustainable design principles and renewable energy systems to minimize our environmental footprint.


Andreas Conrad, Herausgeber des Magazins FrontRowSociety ist Advokat von Prevented Ocean PlasticFrontRowSociety editor Andreas Conrad conducted the interview with Kai Henniges, Member of the Executive Board, Ohorongo Private Game Reserve,  in March 2024. These are the original, unedited answers.

Here you can find the interview in German

Ohorongo Private Game Reserve
Near Outjo OR Khorixas

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