Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund and Exeter College, the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the University of Oxford are working together to implement dark sky tourism in Namibia in a sustainable way.
Dark sky tourism
Dark sky tourism (DST) makes use of unpolluted nightscapes as its free and unlimited resource. In response to rising light pollution, people are seeking dark sky oases to experience awe and rediscover a piece of their ancestral heritage.
Dark skies are typically found in remote, rural areas, and thus offer the ideal location for DST experiences. When combined with astronomy activities, tourists can enjoy learning about our place in the Universe while observing celestial objects through telescopes or with the naked-eye.
At the same time, rural communities have a new means for diversifying their income – sustainably – while learning about artificial light at night and its harmful effects on humans and other living things; knowledge which is then passed on to the tourists.
With some of the darkest skies on Earth, Namibia offers tourists a chance to experience celestial nightscapes in their truest form. Dark sky tourism also offers opportunities for locals to diversify their income, empower rural communities, and preserve indigenous knowledge about the stars.
Namibia is home to the High Energy Stereoscopic System (H.E.S.S.) — a world-leading observatory located near the Gamsberg mountain.
The Hoba meteorite — the largest meteor in the world — can be found in Namibia, not far from Grootfontein.
- Astronomy for development, Astronomy & Geophysics, doi.org/10.1093/astrogeo/ataa084
- How Can Astrotourism Serve the Sustainable Development Goals? The Namibian Example, ASP2020 Conference, aspbooks.org/a/volumes/article_details/?paper_id=40359
- Dark sky tourism and sustainable development in Namibia, IAU Proceedings Symposium S367, doi.org/10.1017/S1743921321000478
- Dark sky tourism, Encyclopedia of Tourism Management and Marketing, elgaronline.com/view/nlm-book/9781800377479/b-9781800377486-185.xml
If you would like any further information about this project, please contact hannah.dalgleish [at] physics.ox.ac.uk.