KONGOLA – Namibia continues to invest in its tourism sector, which is viewed as one of Namibia’s main GDP growing sectors.
This time around N$37,4 million was invested in the infrastructure development of the Susuwe and Ngenda park stations in the Bwabwata and Mudumu national parks.
The investment is co-financed by the German government, through the German Development Bank (KfW) and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The German government availed N$27,7 million, while the Namibian government availed N$9,7 million for the development.
The infrastructure development includes park offices, visitor facilities and staff housing and support services such as roads, water and electricity.
Since Namibia is looking at new tourism destinations, it is unleashing the potential of some of its best-kept secrets such as the Bwabwata and Mudumu national parks, by developing it.
“These parks have the potential to bring in maximum yields for the country as they offer new areas and routes for tourists to explore, which means they have a great potential of generating new tourism product packages,” the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah said at the ground-breaking ceremony of the infrastructure development of the two park stations, last week.
According to the minister, the tourism potential of the northeastern parts of Namibia are only just being tapped.
The area is blessed with beautiful floodplains, river scenery, riparian woodlands, mopane forests and savannah mosaics.
The elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard can be found in this park, as well as the zebra, giraffe, eland wildebeest, impala, roan, sable, and the lechwe.
Waterbuck and even the elusive sitatunga are also seen in these parks and conservancies.
Communities in the Bwabwata National Park, where about 6 000 people live, generate about N$300 000 from products such as devil’s claw and N$4 million from trophy-hunting concessions, yearly.
“The variety of benefits generated through sustainable natural resources use, for example, cash income, meat supply, employment, training and infrastructure development add a new dimension to human development that traditional forms of resource use were not able to deliver,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.
Outgoing German Ambassador, Egon Kochanke, said a well-designed and carefully planned park stations are important preconditions for an effective park management, although it is not everything that is needed.
He said sound and sustainable park management plans are needed which consider the needs and requirements of not only wildlife and vegetation but also of the people who live in the proximity of the parks.
Kochanke said integrated park management leads not only to the preservation of biodiversity but is also the base for sustainable economic use of the parks, while well-managed parks lead to increased tourism and job creation.
“I want to assure you that the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany remains committed to this sector and to your ministry’s endeavours towards economic development and nature conservation,” the outgoing German diplomat said.
The two parks form part of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Park (KAZA), which includes neighbouring countries Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Angola.
Kochanke said his government, which is supporting KAZA with another N$200 million, believes that the transfrontier area is an extremely important initiative in times of climate change, particularly for the benefit of people living in these five countries.
The new regional coordinator of KAZA Secretariat, Dr Victor Siamudala, a Zambian national was also present at the groundbreaking ceremony.
During the same occasion, the environment minister also officially opened the Mashi Tourism Hub, situated at Kongola.