By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK Expectations are running high among the Warmbad community for the inauguration of the town’s unique hot springs tomorrow by the Namibian Head of State, President Hifikepunye Pohamba. So said Michael Jimmy, project coordinator of the hot springs, in a telephonic interview. The government has financed the project to the tune of N$2,5 million after buying the springs from its former owner, a white farmer. “There is already a festive mood prevailing among the community, encouraged by the fact that the country’s President will officially open the hot springs, of primary social and economic interest to the community. This indicates to those of us serving on the development committee of the project the seriousness with which the Namibian government views the hot springs for development,” said committee chairman, Jimmy. The hot springs project is the first fully-government community tourism initiative. “The whole structure was done by builders from the community. It is now ready for use by the substantial number of visiting tourists to our town. Up until now, between eight and ten tourist groups, particularly self-drive tourists from South Africa, have been visiting the town to enjoy the medicinal elements the hot springs possess. Now that we have the necessary infrastructure, we will be in a position to accommodate more tourists at a time,” said an excited Jimmy. The complex caters for a number of single bungalows, five traditional Nama huts, a swimming pool and braai place, all centrally set up around the hot springs, which is encamped by a building for protection. “People can now enjoy the serenity and the warmth of the hot springs in greater comfort under one roof. Money was also spent on the renovation of the old German officer’s house, which was transformed into a restaurant. I am happy to say that the tender to run the complex on behalf of the community was unanimously given to two young women from LÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼deritz,” Jimmy announced. He and his committee are confident that, as a tourist attraction, the hot springs will have a profound effect on the economic stimulation of Warmbad. “The local community will benefit the most with regard to job opportunities because we have made it very clear that locals should get preference for employment opportunities. Opportunities will also be created to provide a platform for local crafts people to sell their creative products to tourists in the complex,” he said of the building that took three years to complete. Jimmy is of the opinion that the hot springs will help restore the town to its former glory as a busy tourist route in the South. The governor of the Karas Region, Dawid Boois, as well as Regional Councillor Paulus Ephraim are both expected to officiate at the inauguration. Several traditional dance groups are expected to entertain invited guests and dignitaries during the ceremony which starts at 09h30.
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