By Petronella Sibeene
While heavy rains received in different parts of northern Namibia have brought about misery to thousands of inhabitants, the rains have also given joy to the tourism industry as water fills up the Etosha pans, resulting in wildlife concentrations appreciated by most tourists.
The Etosha pans are filled with rainwater, and have attracted a diverse array of Namibia’s wildlife endowments in the country’s biggest national park.
Managing Director of Namibia Wildlife Resorts Tobie Aupindi confirmed to New Era that the pans in the Etosha National Park are filled with water resulting in wildlife concentrations at the water sources. This provides tourists with an opportunity to see most of Namibia’s wildlife heritage.
He added that around this time of the year, birdlife in the park is fantastic.
“One would see so many birds that you would not find during floods. It is indeed a season for birdlife – you get regional migratory birds that come to breed,” he said.
Birds include ducks, flamingos and pelicans among other wetland species.
Since last month, regions in the northern and eastern parts of the country have received heavy rains resulting in flooding that has displaced thousands of inhabitants.
Most areas are reported to be under water, making it difficult if not impossible to reach.
Last week, Government through its Emergency Management Unit said it would resort to air transport to deliver food and relocate those stranded.
Although he could not provide figures, Aupindi said the number of visitors to Etosha is quite high, especially that European holidays that start mainly in May until November are just around the corner.
He added that there is a notable number of local tourists at the national park.
Aupindi remarked, “The numbers are tremendous.”
In the past, local participation in the tourism industry was graded very low. The trend was attributed to expensive tourism facilities.
To target Namibians who are known to be travellers during school holidays, NWR introduced different discounts for local people as a way to engage them in the sector.