Trophy hunting (TH) tourism plays an important and often controversial role in wildlife conservation and community livelihood in many African countries. Despite its potential social and economic benefits, TH can have a negative impact among the locals and pose critical challenges in governance. However, research on the local community perspective of TH and how it is linked to empowerment of locals and wildlife conservation in Namibia remains limited. Therefore, to address these gaps, our study explores how communities of Namibia’s Bwabwata National Park perceive TH and how TH supports or hinders empowerment of local communities and their relationship with wildlife. Through semi-structured interviews with community members, this study elucidates the economic benefits and inequities, cultural impacts from lack of traditional hunting, perceived relationship to poaching, and limitations of governance and distrust among stakeholders. This research innovatively applies empowerment theory to TH tourism and thus, can strengthen and inform sound governance and sustainable practices of TH at local, national, and international levels by providing the local perspective that has largely been absent from the TH debate.