Impalila is the ‘far away place’, a small island nestled in the furthest corner of the Caprivi in north-eastern Namibia. It is a very small conservancy, covering less than a hundred square kilometres, and embraces around 2,000 residents, most of whom speak Subiya, as well as the area’s lingua franca, Lozi.
Prior to Namibia’s independence in 1990, communal area residents had few rights to use wildlife. Wild animals were often seen as little more than a threat to crops, livestock and infrastructure, as well as community safety. Ground-breaking legislation passed in the mid-nineties laid the foundation for a new approach to the sustainable use of natural resources. By forming a conservancy, people in communal areas can now actively manage – and generate benefits from – wildlife and other resources in their area, encouraging wildlife recoveries and environmental restoration.