Skip to main content

financial | business in balance

Our financial model at Wolwedans is one of “business in balance” whereby profit should equal funds generated by the business for its Foundation ‘to do good’. In other words, where net profit after tax equals net income generated for the Foundation, as derived from guest levies collected.

Conservation leves have been part of the Wolwedans package from the start. Levies collected from Wolwedans guests since its inception in 1995 exceed 27 million Namibian Dollars, providing a steady income to the NamibRand over the years and contributing significantly to maintaining biodiversity and conserving the arid wildlands.

In 2017 – striving to make the Wolwedans Foundation financially sustainable and give it a higher level of independence – a “Foundation Levy” was introduced (in addition to the conservation levy). It was an equal amount to the conservation levy, which guests were happy to pay. These levies where charged over and above the lodging rate and listed separately on rate sheets and invoices for transparency. Importantly, the levies were non-commissionable to the travel-trade (due to the fact that the value chain takes, on average, a 25-30% commission on the standard rate). One third of the Sustainability Levy is channeled directly to the Nature Reserve, one third flowing into community projects (Desert Academy) and the remaining third spent under Culture and general Foundation expenses.

In 2018, seeing that neither guests nor agents seemed to take issue with the levies being charged for a good cause, Wolwedans felt encouraged to ‘push the envelope’ a bit more, by increasing the combined “Sustainability Levy” whilst maintaining lodging rates at the same level from 2018 to 2019; this resulted in a total price paid increase of 5%. 

Today the levies make up between 10 and 15% of the guest bill, depending where one stays, making every guest a ‘donor’ of the sustainability mission. The result has been nothing but extraordinary. The graph below clearly shows funds collected for doing good: 6.23 million Namibian Dollars in 2019, doubling that of net profit after tax.