Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Namibia: HAN's 5th Tourism Trade Forum

The Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN) recently held its 5th Tourism Trade Forum which was described as a success.
The forum,which consisted of a congress held on 21 November and the annual HAN tourism awards on 28 November, serves as a networking platform for the local tourism industry where all stakeholders, service providers, operators and marketing specialists are granted the opportunity to share ideas, discuss problems, look at new trends and introduce new programmes to ensure the local industry remains abreast of international developments.

The theme for 2013 was ”Tourism, - translating Namibia to the world!” and according to HAN’s CEO Gitta Paetzold, about 120 local delegates as well as some operators from Zimbabwe and South Africa attended the forum.
“In selecting presenters for the congress, we targeted not only people in tourism direct, but true to our motto of “tourism is everybody’s business”, included huge brands such as NBL, who also contribute greatly to “putting Namibia on the global map”. Team Namibia shared its vision on branding Namibia and encouraging local and foreign support of things “Made in Namibia,” said Paetzold.
The Millenium Challenge Account (MCA-Namibia ) also shared its plans and visions for Destination-Marketing for Namibia after the MCA programme comes to an end in 2014. “MCA-Namibia shared ideas with the tourism industry on how the latter could take hands to ensure continuation of the North-American Destination Marketing that was kick-started by MCA some four years ago,” she said.
A representative from World Travel Market (WTA) gave advice to local operators on new options for international marketing and trade fairs, through WTM Africa, thus making participation more affordable to the local industry.
The congress ended with a presentation from Marsh Namibia on the right products to ensure travel safety and international standards on liability insurance, as well as a presentation from the Environmental Investment Fund on its aims to support sustainable tourism development in Namibia.
At a glittering event held after the congress, tour operators were awarded at the annual HAN Awards of Excellence. The awards are determined by guests staying at the various establishments and submitting online ratings for the places they stayed in. These score-sheets are submitted to the HAN website, and evaluated at the end of October every year.
Paetzold explains the procedure: “Depending on the scores received, the number of winners are determined by the number of rating sheets submitted for them, and the average scores given,  merit awards going to those that achieve an average score of just below 80%, bronze from 80 to 89%; silver is 90 to 94% and gold above 95%.”
This year’s winner of the HAN Personality of the Year award is Janet Wilson-Moore of the Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre. Hotelier of  the Year went to Wolfgang Balzar of Hotel Thule and the coveted Tourism Personality of the Year was awarded to Mattias Lemcke, the  NTB Marketing Manager, Europe. “What makes the nomination of this year’s recipient special is the fact that this person is not a Namibian! What’s more, he spends most of his time outside Namibia, and yet, is probably more dedicated, committed and engaged in the active promotion of Namibia’s tourism industry than many Namibians put together,”Paetzold noted.

Kunene River improving flow

The rapidly improving water flow in the Kunene river has helped ease electricity supply challenges, power utility Nampower said this week.
The Kunene River houses Namibia’s only Hydro Power Station, the Ruacana Power Station which forms the core of Namibia’s local power supply system. With an installed capacity of 332 MW, output at the Ruacana power station currently varies between 140 and 240 MW depending on the time of the day.
Before the improved flow, NamPower last week said the water flow in the Kunene river was at 60 cubic meters per second, lower than the 70 cubic meters per second required to operate one turbine and the 280 cubic meters per second required to operate the whole power station at full load.

This reduced flow is the  result of the severe drought  in the northern parts of the country and in the southern half of Angola.
The severe drought and a lack of electricity supply guarantees from Eskom forced NamPower recently to appeal to its customers to continue implementing electricity saving measures such as switching off air-conditioners, geysers and swimming pool pumps and all other non-essential appliances during peak times to reduce demand.
But the heavy downpours being experienced in the southwestern parts of Angola, the main catchment area of the Kunene river, and in some parts of Namibia has resulted in the rapid improvement of the Kunene River flow. Thursday’s water flow reading was recorded at 130 cubic meters per second, more than double the 60 cubic meters per second announced by NamPower at a media briefing last week Tuesday.
In an e-mail response to questions from the Economist on Thursday, NamPower said the Ruacana Hydro Power is now running three turbines at full/ part load for most of the day (05H00 – 22H00) resulting in an output of between 140 and 240 MW depending on the time of the day.
NamPower said it expects output at the Ruacana power station to increase if the river flow continues to improve.
“The power supply situation in the country will improve from any increase in river flow because the station will then be able to operate at full capacity - 332 MW - if the river flow goes above 280 Cusec. The maximum station output accounts for 67% of the system demand during peak hours, and increases to approximately 80% during off-peak hours.  Increased generation at Ruacana will mean less imports from regional partners,” NamPower said.
The power utility announced earlier that it intends to invest about N$45 million to replace the turbine runners of the old three units.
 The resultant efficiency gains are expected to add an additional 15 MW to the power station, bringing the total installed capacity of Ruacana to 347 MW.
The installation of the first runner is expected in April 2014, with the last runner to be commissioned by October 2014.
Namibia has a daily average demand of 350 MW peaking at 520MW.

The Sea Side - popular luxury hotel in Swakopmund

Serenity, a relaxed atmosphere, direct access to an unspoilt beach as well as luxury; these are all on offer at the Sea Side Hotel and Spa in Swakopmund.
The hotel was established three years ago and according to Schalk van Niekerk, its general manager, what attracts visitors to the hotel is that it is situated directly on the beach and has the only spa with direct access to an unspoilt beach in Swakopmund.
“We have experienced good growth in individual travellers as well as corporate clientelle. The biggest growth was experienced in the function and wedding market,” he said.
The Sea Side Hotel and Spa has 30 rooms and six suites, with each room facing the sea and direct access to a stretch of endless beach. It also has a 130 seat restaurant and has conferencing facilities, as well as a bar and salon facilities.
Rates per room range between N$3350 for suites and N$2250 for double rooms. Children under the age of 12 pay N$450. The prices include breakfast and entry to the spa.
“We do have a discount for Namibian citizens for hotel accommodation. We also offer Christmas lunch and various specials on spa treatments in December. Our Christmas Lunch Buffet is always a sell-out. Our price for this year is N$285 for an extensive buffet including seafood, traditional Christmas dishes and lots of local specialities,” van Niekerk said.
The Sea Side Hotel is only a four kilometre drive from Swakopmund and is an ideal out-of-town destination for business people, a family holiday, or tourists.

Strand Hotel Swakopmund's open forum

Following on the heels of the groundbreaking ceremony of the Strand Hotel Swakopmund, O&L Leisure launched an “Open Forum” on the upcoming hotel’s website.
The “Open Forum” is an open discussion initiated by O&L Leisure to engage and solicit further input from Namibians, Swakopmunders and international visitors, to prevent a similar storm in a teacup as happened when O&L Leisure announced the first design for the new hotel.
O&L Leisure said the Strand Hotel Swakopmund, situated directly on the Mole, will be a major entertainment destination in the historic section of the town - a design inspired by the look and feel of Swakopmund itself, with a tasteful contemporary interpretation of the old German architecture.

“Through the Open Forum we would like to encourage everyone to share their ideas, suggestions and recommendations on anything they envisage at the new Strand Hotel Swakopmund. The community have the opportunity to share their views and suggestions as the Strand Hotel Swakopmund is developed for the benefit of all Swakopmunders, Namibians, regional and international travelers alike”, said Bruce Hutchison, Managing Director O&L Leisure.
By visiting www.strandhotelswakopmund.com/open-forum, the public can add their suggestions and ideas for the Strand Hotel Swakopmund. “We greatly value everyone’s input and welcome the feedback from the public. We sincerely trust that many people will utilize this platform to assist us in creating a hotel uniquely befitting the dynamics of the town”, Bruce Hutchison concluded.
A recent idea on the forum suggests for a dog sitting service, „so why don’t you visit the open forum website now and make your idea heard“ said O&L Leisure. The Strand Hotel Swakopmund will be located directly on the mole, a popular area where residents and holiday makers spend much of their time at the coast. „It is therefore important that everyone takes ownership and provides their inputs and ideas to assist O&L Leisure to create the perfect hotel for Namibia’s favorite holiday destination.“

Air Namibia: code share talks

The national airline, Air Namibia has entered into code share negotiations with at least two European-based airlines following the “success” of a similar partnership with Kenya Airways signed earlier in the year.
The airline said negotiations with the two unnamed European airlines are at an advanced stage, but said details of the agreements will only be announced once negotiations have been completed.
Air Namibia currently has two code share agreements with state-owned TAAG Angolan Airlines and Kenya Airways.
Spokesperson Paul Nakawa told The Economist that although it was difficult to find willing partners due to the small nature of Air Namibia’s operations, management of the airline had made a conscious decision to pursue partnerships where they see mutual benefits.
Nakawa said: “It is not easy to always find a code share partner willing to engage with you. At the same time an airline should only engage in code share agreements which will bring real value as not every code share agreement adds value.
 So we are careful on whom we partner with. Partnering with other airlines for mutual benefit is in our strategy going forward and you will see a few more code share agreements being entered into as we move on.”
The airline last week said it has seen an increase in passenger numbers and revenue after signing a code share agreement with Kenya Airways in June. Prime Minister Hage Geingob also recently announced in parliament that Air Namibia had reduced its operating losses to N$69 million in the first six months of the year compared to N$323 million in the corresponding period last year after generating N$782 million in revenue compared to N$644 million over the same period in 2012. Xavier Masule, Air Namibia’s general manager for commercial services attributed the  better performance to a number of initiatives contained in the airline’s business plan implemented thus far, that have started to bear fruit. He said: “Unfortunately this is a long term business and some of the decisions taken three years ago or so are only starting to show fruits now. Our re-fleeting programme has yielded good levels of operational efficiencies and reliability. This together with improved back office efficiency have restored market confidence and we are able to recapture lost make share in some of the markets. We are offering a good service, the market sees it and the market is responding positively.”
Masule said the airline was in a much better shape than it was late last year. He said a pilot strike that lasted for 21 days, and near industrial action by NATAU had affected the airline considerably.
“ Last year NAFTAU threatened to go on strike. The threats started from beginning of September 2012 to end of October 2012, and during this whole period many travellers avoided Air Namibia due to the uncertainty from the strike threat, and our sales went down.
 As if that was not enough, the pilots went on strike as soon as the NATAU near-strike situation was averted.
 The strike lasted for about 21 days in November to December and sales dropped as we could not sell anything.
We are in much better shape this year than last year, this on top of improved service offering, efficiency improvements and improved positioning in the market.” Going forward, Masule was, however, cautiously optimistic about revenue growth.
“The business we are in has seasonality patterns, so from December into February next year we will enter low season and then up to shoulder season by March next year. So the revenue levels could match or will slightly be lower than the first six months of this year, but they will definitely be higher than the same period last year.”

Monday, 9 December 2013

Deportations cost for Air Namibia

Air Namibia faces high transportation and other costs related to the deportation of illegal African immigrants from Europe on its flights, who increasingly prefer entering Europe using Air Namibia flights.
Many Africans after securing the mandatory Schengen Visa to enter the Euro Zone, usually destroy their passports once they are airborne and therefore have to be deported back to Africa via Windhoek as their departure point. A week ago four undocumented Africans who entered Frankfurt on Tuesday via Windhoek had to be deported back to Namibia on the Air Namibia flight SW-285. In line with European law “the transporting company has to take care of the backhaul,” and this is the reason “Air Namibia has to cover all deportation costs,” explained an Air Namibia manager. “The costs Air Namibia has to cover due to illegal immigration are significantly high. But for legal reasons we are not able to mention any precise figures,” said Bekim Dura, Air Namibia’s Country Manager in Germany.

According to Air Namibia MD Theo Namases one recent deportation cost the airline E20 000 (N$324 000), because the airline is obliged to shoulder all costs associated with the so-called backhaul or deportee(s). In this case Air Namibia had to pay the hotel accommodation and the airfare of the deportee, including those of three German police officers who accompanied the deportee. She said the reason the deportee had to be accompanied by three police officers was because he became unruly and presented a safety risk for other passengers.

Explained Dura: “Let me say that although illegal immigration is a serious issue Air Namibia has to deal with, we are not the only airline having that problem. Almost every international airline is affected. In general, illegals tend to cloud their origin. This is the reason why the large majority of them do not use their national airlines.”

The majority of the immigrants who destroy their documents in mid-air are of Somali and Congolese origin and all of them are under 40 years of age. “This is surely a significant problem, which needs to be resolved on many levels. The challenge for politicians on both continents will be to reduce … illegal immigration and to offer incentives for people to remain in their home countries by offering better prospects. All possible measures to get this problem under control are being taken, including special training for all Air Namibia staff by the German border police. And although it is highly unlikely that illegal immigration can be stopped completely, Air Namibia will do its utmost to improve the situation.”

All people entering the European Union without valid identification documents or those with fake identity documents and passports are classified as illegal immigrants. Several efforts to get more information from officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration proved futile yesterday, as most of them were simply unavailable. Each year thousands of Africans, some of them illegal immigrants, migrate to Europe in search of better life prospects.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Noah’s Ark will end in Namibia in December

The multi-million-dollar project of transporting Namibian wild animals to Cuba, dubbed Noah’s Ark, will end in mid-December when the last batch of Namibian wildlife will be delivered to the Caribbean nation.
The last animals to make the journey to Cuba will be five elephants, five white rhino and five black rhino, collectively valued at N$7.5 million.
The translocation exercise is part of government's decision a few years ago to donate wild animals worth an estimated N$25 million to Cuba.
The first phase was completed in November last year. During this phase 123 animals of 20 different species of antelope, birds and predators were transported to Cuba.
The animals were airlifted from the Hosea Kutako International Airport and were caught in the Waterberg Plateau and Etosha national parks.
The deputy minister of environment and tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, yesterday told Namibian Sun that the second phase is well on track and it is expected that the animals will be flown to Cuba by mid-December.
“Everything is on track. The animals have been put in quarantine and we are preparing them for flight.”
He said this would be the last batch of animals to be sent to Cuba under the existing agreement. “I am not saying that there will not be future agreements that involve the translocation of animals,” he added.
Asked about the cost of the project, Shifeta said the final cost would only be known and announced once the last stage has been completed.
According to Shifeta the animals sent to Cuba during the first phase have adapted well and have bred. He said none of them have died.
“This means that the species are not under any stress and are living in a conducive environment.”
Fears had been expressed that the translocation would place certain species at serious risk because of the long transit time and Cuba’s unfamiliar tropical climate.
Responding to local and international criticism of the project, Shifeta said the critics do not understand the project fully.
“We have plenty of wildlife in Namibia and they are in competition with each other and for resources such as food and water. Wildlife should be sustainably harvested to level out the ecosystem.
“We have plenty of animals and by giving some away we are not impacting on the growth of our species. We are very careful and doing it in a sustainable manner.”
Shifeta said animals that compete for food can suffer such stress that they stop breeding or start killing each other.
He emphasised that the donation of these animals is a token of appreciation to Cuba.
During Namibia’s struggle for independence from South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba provided Namibia with military and political support.
Initially 180 animals of various species were agreed upon but after the veterinary authorities of Cuba visited Namibia in February last year, the number was reduced. For veterinary reasons it was decided that warthog, waterbuck, wildebeest and zebra would not be sent to Cuba.

Action needed against poachers

The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, John Mutorwa, on Monday launched a scathing attack on illegal loggers and poachers across the African continent.
"It is unacceptable for governments to allow illegal logging and poaching of valuable animals to continue at the current rate," Mutorwa said at the opening of the 19th session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation's African Forestry and Wildlife Commission (AFWC).
Mutorwa said the time has come to do everything possible to stop the killing of rhinos and elephants in Southern and East Africa.
According to the official statistics of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Namibia last year reported 78 cases of elephant poaching compared to at least six known cases this year.
In South Africa, cases of rhino poaching are soaring, with 668 rhinos that were killed last year and 635 so far this year.
Mutorwa stressed that illegal logging in Africa should be stopped as a matter of urgency.
He said the wildlife sector, like the forestry sector, still faces many challenges including poaching, illegal bush and game meat trade and human-wildlife conflicts that affect farmers and wildlife.
He said the lack of recognition of these sectors as a significant contributor to the national economy results in insufficient allocation from State coffers.
Mutorwa stressed that the AFWC should debate both forestry and wildlife issues and challenges in a balanced manner to ensure that both sectors contribute significantly to food security, poverty alleviation and socio-economic development.
"Despite the deforestation, illegal logging and poaching activities in the region much of Africa remains covered with forests and woodlands," said Mutorwa.
Southern Africa has been at the forefront of sustainable wildlife management efforts for decades, with spectacular recovery of wildlife populations and numerous programs involving local communities in wildlife management, he said.
Namibia has developed a number of incentives that have led to the recovery of wildlife populations on private land and in communal areas on state land through the conservancy program, said Mutorwa.
"Wildlife-based land uses and the legal production of game meat have the potential to contribute significantly to food security and the economy at local and national levels."
But natural resources are being seriously eroded by deforestation, which will be further compounded by the impacts of climate change.
Mutorwa said that bush encroachment also affects agricultural production in Namibia and needs to be addressed as an issue of national concern.
The ministry is developing a scheme to reduce bush encroachment by possible subsiding bush control and the utilisation of bush removed.
Mutorwa added that deforestation in the woodlands of northern Namibia is also a challenge for law enforcement officials and the ministry is therefore supporting 44 established and emerging community forests, building the capacity of rural communities.
Uncontrolled fires are also a serious problem in many parts of the country.

Namibian Professional Hunting Association’s 40th annual general meeting

The issue of ethical and sustainable trophy hunting was again a contentious one at the opening of the Namibian Professional Hunting Association’s 40th annual general meeting this week.
The president of NAPHA, Kai-Uwe Denker, said the respectful treatment of wild animals and the ethical conduct of hunters are absolutely essential if trophy hunting is to be accepted by the public.
He was speaking in the context of the recent outrage that was caused both locally and internationally by anti-hunting activists after the trophy hunting of a Dorob lion in the Torra Conservancy.
According to Denker, there was a time when Namibia had the reputation of being a country of “clean and fair chase hunting”.
“We cannot allow all this to be jeopardised by rogue outfits that just see trophy hunting as an easy way to make a quick buck,” said Denker.
He said trophy hunting needs to be redefined.
“We need to get away from certain practices like thoughtless trophy-collecting safaris. If we are not able to adapt to the refined nature awareness and consciousness of modern man quickly, there will be no future for trophy hunting.”
He was, however, quick to say that there is nothing wrong with true and honest hunting.
“We do not have to hide.”
He said hunters have heard many insulting accusations over the past few weeks.
While arguing that hunters also deserve some form of respect, Denker said that it is time for them to stand up and explain themselves.
“In our materialistic world we tend to think that money is the one and only justification for everything. We all know that financial benefits are a very important in any successful undertaking. But perhaps more important is the fact that in the long run human conscience outweighs all other factors.”
According to him, things like canned hunting or the artificial breeding of wild animals for the hunting industry are ultimately nails in the coffin of trophy hunting.
The hunting industry today faces challenges, Denker said.
However, it has been able to achieve plenty during the past 40 years.
Since the inception of the Hunting Guide Program in 2001, with the cooperation of the Eagle Rock Professional Hunting Academy, a total of 230 previously disadvantaged Namibians have been trained and passed examinations to become fully qualified hunting guides.
At the beginning of the year, NAPHA embarked on a training program to be offered to communal conservancies to run their own trophy-hunting operations. This will enable communal conservancies to reap the full benefits of the sustainable utilisation of their wildlife. 

Namibia: tarring of the Gobabis-Grootfontein road has commenced

The second phase of the tarring of the Gobabis-Grootfontein road, which passes through Okondjatu in the Otjozondjupa Region, started with a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday.
The ceremony set in motion construction work on the Trunk Road TR 14/2, which links the Omaheke and Otjozondjupa Regions.
It is expected to ease transport and travel along this route in the quest to open up the market for Namibians living along the road to Northern Namibia, and vice versa.
Prime Minister Hage Geingob officiated at the event, and urged residents of Okondjatu, Otjinene and all other places where the soon-to-be-upgraded road passes through to take advantage of the economic opportunities offered by this upgrade.
He said the upgrading of the road will most likely provide positive economic spin-offs for the two regions, which locals ought to take advantage of. “The economic inflow and development associated with this project will be a continuous trend.
Many of you are struggling to find jobs, and this is why government is investing in projects such as these not only to ease transport and accessibility, but to create jobs,” he stated.
The construction project will stimulate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) along the route, as a significant amount of services would be required by the main contractor.
“Ultimately, the success in realising projects such as these rests on our collective responsibility and patriotism,” Geingob said.
The project, which is expected to take 30 months to complete, will employ about 300 local people.
The TR 14/2 road upgrade is an extension of the already-upgraded Gobabis-Otjinene road, which stretches over 157 kilometres.
That portion of the road was already upgraded and opened last year.
The current phase of the project will start approximately 3 km outside Otjinene, and extends over 65 km to Okondjatu.
From Okondjatu, the road passes through Okamatapati and Ongongoro before reaching Grootfontein. The total distance of the road to be upgraded is 231 km. It will cost about N$575 million.

Namibia: Namport expansion

Swakopmund, Namibia: - Businesses, including SMEs should prepare themselves for the port expansion by Namport by engaging the port utility.

By engaging with Namport local businesses and contractors could prepare themselves on how to also benefit from the huge port expansion project that will be completed in phases. This is the view of the Chief Executive Officer of Namport, Bisey Uirab. According to him Namport does not foresee foreign companies providing all the services during the duration of the construction project. That is why he is urging coastal residents and Namibians in general to take note and to prepare themselves, while there is still time in order to benefit from the multi-billion dollar capital project, when it gets off the ground. Uirab was addressing the business community during the last consultative meeting of the Namibian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI), Swakopmund branch held yesterday.

Namport last month signed a N$3 billion agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the construction and equipping of a new container terminal as part of the port’s expansion plans. Construction is expected to start early 2014. Uirab explained that 30 percent of the value of the tender must be spent on Namibian businesses and at least 5 percent, which translates into about N$50 million on local SMEs. He encouraged SMEs to seize the opportunities that will become available and to be assertive in pursuing them. Uirab also highlighted the fact that transportation, accommodation and the provision of building sand, as well as tourism activities will be in high demand during the port expansion. “The port expansion will bring about opportunities for both coastal towns in terms of tourism and hospitality and Namibians must grab these opportunities,” Uirab reiterated.

He said the project would be audited   to ensure that Namibians benefit. “SME’s should approach the companies which are offered contracts and consult with them on what they can offer in terms of services,” Uirab said.

The port expansion is expected to dramatically increase the harbour’s clientele and its profit margins, while increasing the port’s ability to attract even more clients in the long run, further cementing it as a gateway to landlocked countries in the region.

The current container terminal will also be revamped – a move aimed at increasing the port’s capacity to deal with cargo growth.

Namibia: rhino permit auction goes ahead despite death threats

Death threats have streamed in to the Dallas Safari Club (DSC) since it announced plans to auction a black rhino hunting permit on behalf of the government of Namibia.
The government approved the permit in accordance with CITES provisions to generate funding for rhino conservation initiatives including anti-poaching efforts—while at the same time managing the black rhino population in the Mangetti National Park, where the hunt will take place.
When DSC announced its auction in mid-October, media condemnation went viral. Hundreds of death threats began to flow in via email, phone calls, even Facebook posts.
Threats received allegedly included things like, “You subhuman rednecks have something to worry about now. For every rhino you shoot, we’ll kill 10 of your members, or their families if we can’t get at them. We have your membership list. It’s open season on you murderers now. There’s no place to hide.”
According to a press release issued by the DSC they are forging ahead with the auction that will take place next year January.
However, prudent security measures have been put in place. The Dallas police were consulted, as well as the FBI, which have referred the case to a domestic terrorism team. Additional security has also been hired for the DSC convention and expo, where the auction will be held January 9 to 12 at the Dallas Convention Centre and Omni Hotel Dallas.
Ben Carter, DSC executive director, said that the threats are most probably from animal rights extremists, anti-hunters and radical environmentalists, “who would rather see rhinos go extinct ‘naturally’ than be managed in any way by man—particularly if hunting is involved.”
“Opposition also could be coming from the poachers, black-market traffickers, terrorist cells and organised crime syndicates who profit from rhino poaching. They stand to lose out if this auction generates major funding for additional law enforcement.”
DSC expects the permit to sell for at least US$250 000, perhaps up to US$1 million. Namibia’s Game Products Trust Fund will receive 100% of the hunting permit sale price. Both DSC and contracted auctioneer Ed Phillips of Houston offered to forego their customary sales commissions to support the special cause.
“Rhino hunting permits have never been sold outside of Namibia. And they have never sold for more than $223,000. When conservation officials approached us about auctioning a permit on Namibia’s behalf, we were excited. We think we can help generate more funding for rhino conservation — hopefully a lot more,” said Carter.
Individual black rhino trophy animals are identified by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, ensuring that only old bulls, which are marginalised in the population and do not contribute to reproduction, are trophy hunted.
These potential trophy animals are hunted under strict supervision by conservation officials to ensure only those individuals meeting the criteria are hunted.
Old, post-breeding males are known to kill younger bulls, cows and even calves. They also consume food, water and space needed to sustain the breeding animals required for species survival. 

Trip to Ecuador: costs to Namibian taxpayer

The dust surrounding the controversial trip to the 18th World Festival of Youth settle, with fresh allegations that the money was taken from the Namibia Credit Youth Scheme against the wishes of some top government authorities.
According to sources, the trip which reportedly cost the taxpayer N$5,8 million will actually gobble up over N$10 million. The N$5,8 million will only be for flight costs to and from Ecuador. The rest of the money will go towards out-of-pocket allowances for delegates and other expenses.

The Credit Youth Scheme, which falls under the youth ministry, was created to help young people fight unemployment by receiving loan advances to either start or boost their business ventures.

Those in the know say the Ministry of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture, did not have money for the trip hence diverting funds from the scheme for the 250 strong Namibian delegation. This is despite the fact that the youth ministry normally sets money aside for these kinds of trips.

The Namibian delegation consists of Swapo youth league members, delegates representing the National Youth Council (NYC) and officials from the youth ministry.

Sources in the organising committee said it would be cheaper to charter an Air Namibia plane (for N$5 million) than buying air tickets for individual delegates on commercial flights.

The delegation, with Youth Minister Jerry Ekandjo as the leader, departed for Ecuador yesterday.

A source told The Namibian that Ekandjo forced the release of the funds despite strong opposition from senior youth ministry officials.

Ekandjo avoided talking to The Namibian when approached to comment on the matter.

The Namibian also learnt that Prime Minister Hage Geingob was also opposed to the trip and the expenditure but allegedly backed down because Ekandjo had received President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Cabinet’s blessings.

Sources added that the 250 delegates will each receive an allowance of US$300 (about N$3 000) for the duration of the festival.

Several opposition party youth wings have criticised the youth ministry for taking such a large delegation to the 10-day event using government resources.

They claimed the delegation outnumbers those from several other countries.

In 2010, Namibia undertook a similar trip to South Africa with 400 delegates, and also attended youth festivals in Angola and Spain.

The secretary of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), Elijah Ngurare said the budget for this year’s trip is lower than that of previous years and that for Air Namibia alone, about N$4 million was spent.

Neither the SPYL nor the NYC could confirm who was responsible for the overall selection of the delegation.

“It is not true that the selection of the delegates was left in the hands of the NYC alone. Of the 250 delegates who went, we only selected 50, the rest are from SPYL and various ministries,” said the Executive Chairperson of NYC, Mandela Kapere.

Kapere said that NYC had extended an invitation to the different youth wings, including RDP, DTA, Swanu and UDF. He declined to comment further on other details of the trip, referring The Namibian to Ekandjo’s ministry.

Yesterday, over 50 youth from various political youth wings, turned up at the Hosea Kutako International Airport to demonstrate their unhappiness over the trip.

“We will not be silenced, even by those who are calling us cockroaches,” said Swanu Youth League spokesperson, Jeremy Kasume.

Meanwhile, president of the Namibia Exile Kids Association (Neka), Benitha Nakaambo has condemned the SPYL secretary of internal affairs, Edward Kafita, for branding other youth wing leaders “cockroaches”.

“I was shocked to hear people being called cockroaches. It is a pity that politics is being down played to such an extent. I have reservations over the trip, but we have accepted the invitation so that others may learn and see for themselves what goes on there,” she posted on Facebook yesterday.

Nakaambo said such utterances by SPYL should be condemned.

Namibian medical students in Russia

Namibians studying medicine in Moscow, Russia, face an uncertain future after they were given a two-week deadline to pay outstanding tuition and hostel fees or face eviction from their hostels and possible deportation if the government does not send them money.
The 236 students were seen off to Russia by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi, in October this year.

The effort to have them trained in Russia is to alleviate the shortage of doctors in the country.

The students however told The Namibian that the health ministry has not paid the university in Moscow for their tuition as well as for accommodation, triggering their fears for the future.

In a letter to the ministry, the students said the university had refused to renew their permits because of the non-payment of fees. Some of them were given a two-week ultimatum on Friday, by which day to pay up or be evicted.

The contract between the ministry and the students stipulates that the ministry will provide one return ticket, a study permit, registration and tuition fees, accommodation and meals as provided by the training institution.

Training kit and practical training, books and stationery, a monthly allowance and medical care, so the contract states, would also be provided by the ministry.

“We want the ministry to be honest and tell us what is going on. We are close to being deported. We paid 1 000 rubles (N$314) from our own pockets for the renewal of our Russian visas, which will expire in a month. We filled in forms and tried to submit them at the school for renewal, but our forms were rejected,” the letter said.

The students claimed that they had to wait for three weeks after arriving in Russia before the health ministry sent them money.

“And these amounts came in random quantities. Some students got N$2 500, others N$3 000, and N$3500 and even zero (dollars) until today.”

The students claimed their situation is so bad that one girl fainted in class because of hunger while a number were admitted in hospital after contracting pneumonia - perhaps due to the cold weather. However, a few students whose parents can afford, have coats, books, money and food.

“It is really bad here and I miss home. It snows heavily and we don’t have money to buy proper shoes and coats. We commute to class by bus and train and we have to pay for this. Sometimes there is no money and we miss class altogether,” said one student.

A concerned parent, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she didn’t understand why the ministry was not living up to its promises.

“We were told that the government will give our children full scholarships. They were also told not to take coats or money with them since everything would be provided when they arrived in Moscow. However, they were given nothing up to now,” the parent said.

According to the parent, a woman in charge of the program has not been honest with them regarding payment.

“We appreciate the gesture, but this is not the way to treat poor children in a foreign country,” the mother said.

Health ministry permanent secretary Andrew Ndishishi confirmed receiving the letter from the students, but said the accusations are false.

“The ministry has kept its promise to these students. They are just being unreasonable. Besides, there is a process through which to send money to Russia for their tuition and accommodation. It’s a long process. There will be a delegation going to Russia in a week to secure places from other universities.
-The Namibian

Nelson Mandela died at the age of 95

Former South African President Nelson Mandela passed away on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Визит Патрушева в Намибию

Патрушев обсудил с властями Намибии перспективы двусторонних отношений
МОСКВА, 5 дек — РИА Новости. Секретарь Совета Безопасности РФ Николай Патрушев посетил Намибию, где в ходе переговоров обсудил перспективы двусторонних отношений, сообщил официальный представитель Совета Безопасности.

«Третьего и четвертого декабря Секретарь Совета Безопасности Российской Федерации Николай Патрушев во главе российской межведомственной делегации посетил Республику Намибию (город Виндхук)», — сказано в сообщении.

В ведомстве уточнили, что в ходе визита состоялся ряд встреч с руководством страны, в том числе с президентом Намибии Хификепунье Похамбой.

«Проведен обмен мнениями по наиболее актуальным проблемам международной и региональной безопасности, в том числе по обстановке на Севере Африки и Ближнем Востоке. Обсуждены состояние и перспективы двусторонних отношений», — рассказали в ведомстве.

Намибийские партнеры с благодарностью приняли приглашение Патрушева принять участие в пятой международной встрече высоких представителей, курирующих вопросы безопасности, которая состоится в следующем году в Казани.

Is Maerua Mall unsafe for customers?

Social media networks lit up last week when a commenter on the ‘Hot! or Not?’ Facebook page called out Maerua Mall management for allegedly letting a ‘gang’ operate unchecked on their premises, terrorising staff and shoppers alike. Property managers Oryx Properties denied knowledge of any problem for years according to retailers.

The Namibian Consumer went to the mall and spoke to security guards, store managers, staff and customers who painted a very different picture from what Oryx was saying publicly.

Sources inside the mall told us that a petition was created by stores to complain about the issue. A meeting was held with management and security to hear their complaints and, until the issue hit social networks and newspapers, sources say, management was not interested in the issue, which is why it was allowed to go on for so long.

Oryx CEO Stefan De Bruin responded by saying “The situation is currently receiving top priority. A database of photographs of the syndicate operating in the mall have been established over the last year. It is, however, difficult to catch these criminals red handed in order to arrest them, and if they are arrested they re-appear within a few days. We have now instructed security to remove them from the premises whenever they are detected. We have called in extra security in civilian clothes to assist with this.”

Store managers said that Checkers and Jay Jays are the stores that are usually targeted and Angolan shoppers are usually the main targets for money and cellphones. The gang allegedly comes when the store is full because the staff are focused on serving clients. Sources indicated that the gang can be found everywhere around the mall. They are normally found in groups of three to eight and split up and spread out to different parts of the mall.

One store manager said “They lift up their shirts to reveal guns or knives, in an attempt to warn you not to do anything otherwise they’ll use it on you. They swear at you if you warn a customer or if you catch them red handed trying to steal. They sometimes become violent and start kicking clients or staff when caught. There was an incident where the shop owner got a call from a mother, complaining about her daughter being assaulted in the shop. He then referred to the management center at the time and nothing was done about the matter.”

It was apparently decided at the meeting that security will be upgraded but mall staff say that this is still not working. One said “they were just in my shop yesterday (Wednesday),” and went on to add, “Orxy should look into a new company as the staff are vulnerable because they are threatened or warned that if they tell or try to do anything they will be found outside when the go catch a taxi to go home and if they have their own private cars, they are told that they know where they parked their cars.”

“Trying to warn the Angolans is difficult due to the language barrier and if you try to demonstrate it to them, the culprits will see. Some of these people lose their passports and identity documents in these robberies,” say concerned store managers.

Most shops can’t afford to have their own guards due to the cost but most shop owners say these people are well-known, so they just should not be allowed into the mall.

When asked why the security company has not been replaced, De Bruin said, “we still employ the same security company, but extra support has been called in. We had no recent incidents reported to us since the extra support was called in. The special unit will not tolerate the presence of this syndicate and will remove them with force if needed.”

One manager said, “Whenever they come into some stores, the security guard turns away and pretends to not have seem them, which can only mean two things, it’s either, they are working together or they are afraid.”

De Bruin, however, stated that the mall management and security have a long term plan and have renewed focus on preventing the gang from harassing shoppers.

“We will call in the special unit whenever it becomes a problem again. We also urge the public and the tenants to call the management office whenever there is an incident. Our security company was also instructed to be on the lookout for these pickpockets. We will also act against any security guard that turns turns a blind eye whenever there is an incident. The public support in this will be very helpful. We are also in the process of upgrading the CCTV monitoring system in the mall to assist in detecting these criminals. It will also assist in establishing a database of these criminals which will assist the guards on patrol to remove these culprits whenever they are detected on the premises.”

Retailers insist that they have lost customers who are scared to come do their shopping at the mall. Most of these shops are trying their best to warn their customers.

Moz plane's fall on Namibian radar

Namibian Directorate of Aircraft Accidents yesterday said they now have radar footage showing how the Mozambican plane, which crashed in the Bwabwata National Park on Friday, fell.

Captain Ericsson Nengola told The Namibian that flight LM470 fell at a steep angle and high speed.

In most cases, Nengola explained, planes falling from a height of 38 000 feet at that speed would disintegrate in midair before crashing. He said the pilots did not send a mayday signal.

Nengola also told The Namibian that his team had received a report on the weather conditions at the time of the crash to determine if it had contributed to the accident.

Although he said the investigators were still studying the report, Nengola emphasised that comprehensive investigations would reveal the cause of the accident.

He said the black boxes and voice recorders of the plane, which were retrieved from the scene of the crash on Saturday, will be sent to the United States for analysis as part of the investigations into the accident.

According to Nengola, a Namibian investigator will accompany the voice boxes and the voice recorders to the state-of-the-art National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) laboratories in Washington DC for the analysis.

Although he could not say when exactly the black boxes and voice recorders will be sent to the USA, Nengola indicated that this could be as early as today.

He said some investigators from the NTSB arrived in Namibia yesterday while two more from Brazil also joined the investigation team.

Namibia has reduced the number of aviation related accidents over the last decade, with improved regulations, better pilots and quality equipment. In 2000, 159 accidents were recorded with one resulting in three deaths. At the time 93 of the accidents were blamed on human error.

By 2013, however, the number of accidents has been reduced to seven with the most recent taking 34 lives. Only three were attributed to human error. The other fatal air crash occurred in March, which took two lives.

In 2011 and 2012, 14 accidents occurred but no fatalities were recorded, while 2010 saw 39 accidents three of which claimed three lives.

Windhoek innovation - meat flat drying

Tenants at one of the police flats near the police headquarters in Windhoek were spotted drying meat on their balcony yesterday. The meat was hanging on the laundry line next to some clothes.

Air Namibia - news

Air Namibia's is proud to announce the delivery of our second brand new Airbus A330 - 200 aircraft into our fleet, which was delivered on 22 November 2013. This marks another important step in the modernization of our fleet and our ongoing commitment to offer our customer an exceptional level of service, comfort and safety.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Namibia: new railway station in Swakopmund

Major moves are underway to upgrade the railway line at the coast and to relocate the Swakopmund railway station to the outskirts of town. If the existing plans give any clear indication, the residents of Swakopmund
will soon have a new railway station on the northeastern edge of town.

At its final meeting for 2013, the Swakopmund Town Council resolved to donate the land needed by TransNamib for “the purpose of relocating the railway station and providing new siding, including rails for shunting operations…”

As the size of the land required has not yet been established, Council at its monthly meeting on 28 November, instructed the Engineering Services Department “to determine the relevant portion of Portion B of the Swakopmund Town and Townlands No 41 that would be required for the establishment of a railway line and railway siding.”

The remainder of Portion B, the exact size of which has yet to be determined, will be donated to TransNamib. The area in question lies to the west of the back road that runs to Henties Bay. Instead of running into town the new railway line bends in northerly direction, runs past the proposed new salt works and ends near the northern reaches of the DRC.

The existing map indicates some overlap between the proposed area on which the new railway line will be built and the makeshift homes of the DRC residents. The new station will be located on the eastern edge of the DRC, to the north of the Swakopmund airport and runway.

The area is currently zoned as 'parastatal', but as the meaning is not clearly defined in the Town Planning Scheme, the new erf will be rezoned as 'authority', referring to areas demarcated for governmental institutions. Council had already resolved in May that “in future land will be donated to parastatals as new townships develop and that parastatals be required to provide the equivalent value as social responsibility.”

Council thus proposed that instead of charging for the commercial value of the land, to donate the land to TransNamib, who will then be expected to contribute to the town in terms of “social responsibility”, equal to the value of the erf donated to TransNamib, at a rate of N$20/ square metre (m²).
As it is not yet clear what precisely is meant by “social responsibility”, it was also resolved that “a submission be tabled to Council in 2014 to determine what Council considers within the scope of 'social responsibility' together with the relevant guidelines and rules…”

The probable market value of the land to be allocated to TransNamib had been assessed at N$20 per m² for unserviced land (N$80/ m² once serviced) although the precise size has not yet been determined. If they require more land TransNamib will have to submit such application for approval, Council noted. If any more land is needed by TransNamib it will be sold at a rate of N$20/m².

The proposed new site for the Salt Company's salt works will be situated immediately behind the new station, just to the east of the ever-expanding DRC. The area is zoned 'general industrial' and serviced land was valued at N$80/m²; unserviced N$40/m². The proposed design of the railway and new station shows that a new access road will link the station and salt works to the back road that runs to Henties Bay.

The internal and external services must be completed within 24 months of signing the deed of sale, and Council resolved last week that TransNamib should however first submit its layout plans, indicating civil service infrastructure, building plans, as well as “service demand” prior to installing the services.

Council also noted in its resolution that should TransNamib no longer need the land for its operations, it must be “retransferred to Council” and “must be offered to Council at the original purchase price…”

Desert Triathlon in Swakopmund

The coastal holiday town of Swakopmund will once again play host to the annual FNB Desert Triathlon (swim/bike/run) on December 8.

As a result of hectic traffic on Saturdays, organizers have resolved to reschedule the race for Sunday.

The competition kicks off from the Swakopmund Mole with a swim in the chilly Atlantic Ocean to be followed by cycling in the Namib Desert’s salt roads.

The recently rehabilitated salt roads make for particularly fast surfaces especially on the downwind section, also offering the perfect opportunity for runners as they embark on the scenic paths meandering alongside the beach while enjoying the cool and fresh winds blowing off the sea.

Veteran top international triathlete Glen Gore, who won the veterans category last year, has confirmed his presence at this year’s event. “What a fantastic event! Namibia certainly has some hospitable people and the town of Swakopmund welcomes people with open arms. The cycle route is surprisingly flat and smooth considering the lack of tarmac. A steady headwind on the way back to the run transition zone suits the stronger bikers. Overall a great venue, I would certainly rate this as one of those must do races.”

Another triathlete, Russell Nugent, who also took part last year said he looks forward to such an awesome event, adding: “If I had to choose between the 70.3 (ultra distance triathlon in SA) I’d choose Swakopmund. It wouldn’t even be close.”

The FNB Desert Triathlon offers a choice of three distances. The ultra distance (1.9km/90km/21km), a standard distance (1km/40km/10km) and a sprint distance (400m/20km/4km).

Athletes can also team up with athletes in other disciplines to enable them to complete the entire event.

OTB Sport, the organizers of the event say they have promoted this year’s event in South Africa and further abroad in a bid to attract more entries to the ultra section of the race.

A total of 250 participants are expected this year with a strong increase in numbers in the ultra distance.

The FNB Desert Triathlon offers close to N$46 000 in prizes, which include cash prizes, vouchers, trophies and medals. The top prize is for the winner of the ultra event, who will receive N$4 500.  The first 230 entries will receive a Puma  T-shirt.

Development for Oanob Dam - Rehoboth, Namibia

The construction of a N$ 250 million dollar waterfront on the southern banks of the Oanob Dam in Rehoboth is set to start following the ground breaking ceremony done on Friday.
A brainchild of Rehoboth Waterfront Enterprise, jointly-owned by Afred Stephanus Dax, Benhard Mumbashu and Hendry Dirk, the project will be constructed on a 2 026 hectares piece of land, about 10 kilometres outside Rehoboth.

On completion, the waterfront will have 109 chalets that will create employment for 100 people. Project coordinator Alfred Dax said they have a 25-year lease agreement with government, which can be extended for another 25 years.

According to Alfred Dax, the construction will be in four phases, with the first phase focusing on roads construction commencing in the first week of January next year. This phase is expected to take about six to eight months to complete.

He also said during phase two, a community park, with a capacity for 40 braai stands, will be developed on the western side of the dam, which will be donated to the town council for public use.

“It’s for the people. They can have access to the facilities as they wish. The council can charge a fee for maintenance but it should not be overpriced,” Alfred Dax explained.

Dax said the third phase is for chalets and 100 houses for those who wish to stay on the premises or spend holidays with their families. The final phase, he added, will see the development of the hotel and the waterfront. The hotel, on its own, is estimated to cost N$ 200 million.

Currently, there are 18 households on the farm where the waterfront will be built. Dax, however, said the farmers will not be removed forcefully from the land. Instead, the farmers and their immediate families will be considered first for employment.

Farmers Mathew Dax and Josef Afrikaaner, who have been living in the area for over 40 years, expressed gratitude for the employment opportunities offered to them. “We are excited about the project. I accept it. We all feel happy about the project. They have explained it to us. We understand it. At least, we will now have something going on in Rehoboth,” said Mathew Dax.

At the launch of the construction, Rehoboth Urban West regional councilor Theo Diergaardt encouraged the project coordinators to do everything possible, so that the project is implemented in line with set timelines and budgets.

Condolences from Air Namibia on Mozambique flight tradegy

Windhoek, Namibia - The management of Air Namibia has expressed shock and dismay over the tragic crash of the Linhas Aeras de Mozambique (LAM) flight 470 last Friday afternoon in the Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi Region.
The Mozambican aircraft was en-route to Angola when it crashed killing all 33 people on board, among them ten Mozambicans, nine Angolans, five Portuguese, one French, one Brazilian and one Chinese national.
“On behalf of the Air Namibia staff, the Board of Directors and all stakeholders, I would like to express our deepest and sincere condolences to LAM airline, the bereaved families and colleagues of the crew. We pray that the LAM airline and the members of the grieving families be granted the strength to see them through this unfortunate tragedy,” said Theopoltina Namases the Managing Director of Air Namibia.
“We believe that the investigation into the tragedy will help us understand what led to the crash and bring closure for the families and colleagues of the deceased,” she said. The national airline expressed solidarity with all role players in the aviation industry, and said at times unfortunate incidents such the crashing of flight 470 of LAM happen and everyone is affected collectively.
“Such a loss is felt by all fellow aviators and it remains hard to come to terms with. Our thoughts, sympathy and solidarity go to all the bereaved families of the passengers at this trying time,” said Paulus Homateni Nakawa, the Head of Corporate Communications of Air Namibia.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Black box of Moz plane found

The black box of Flight TM470 that crashed in Namibia en route to Angola and killed all 34 passengers on Friday has been located and handed over to investigators. The Namibian government this morning confirmed that search teams from the highly trained special field force found the wreckage at about 9am deep in the Bwabwata National Park, on Saturday. “All members of the search party were heavily armed because of the dangerous wild animals in the area. There were no casualties on the ground except the damage to vegetation in the immediate surroundings. The cause of the accident is not known and the investigation by the directorate of air craft accident investigation in the ministry of works and transport has started, said Namibia’s Minister of Works and Transport, Errki Nghimtina. Namibia as a state of occurrence will lead the investigation together with counterparts from Mozambique where the embraer A190 originated from. The wreckage will be transported to Rundu airport to be quarantined in a hangar for a complete and detailed investigation. As of 11am, Sunday, bodies of the passengers have begun arriving at the Eros Airport this morning where they will be processed for identification.

No Russians on board Moz plane

No Russians on board Moz plane: http://goo.gl/caMI1r

NamLeisure Card launched in Namibia

To promote the growth in domestic tourism, the Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) launched a brand new product, the NamLeisure Card, earlier this year at the Namibia Tourism Expo. This card is now also promoted at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair. With the introduction of Namleisure Card, NWR is offering a 50% discount on the enrolment fees until end of August 2013. Applications can be made at the NWR stand at the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair (Queen’s Hall stand 1 and 2) as well as the NWR central reservations office in Windhoek. The membership card offers Namibians a 50% discount at any of the 19 NWR facilities. SADC and international independent travellers can also apply, qualifying for discounts of 25% and 10% respectively. The benefits of being a member go beyond the discounts, as NWR is dedicating a portion of the proceeds of the membership fee, as well as 5% of the value of any member booking, towards conservation projects, including the NWR-Enviro-Kidz program. The Envi-Fund contribution is an annual cost towards conservation and research projects in protected areas. In addition the cardholders can also benefit partners and co-travellers that are sharing rooms and camping sites. Non-cardholders pay 50% plus a supplementary rate when sharing a room or a camping site with a NamLeisure card holder.

MET Namibia launched the Tourist Guide Registration information brochure

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism in collaboration with the Namibia Tourism Board, First National Bank and the British High Commission launched the Tourist Guide Registration information brochure in the capital. Since 2012, a number of targeted workshops were conducted by the Ministry of Environment, Namibia Tourism Board and the Federation of Namibian Tourism Associations (FENATA) to address bottlenecks in the industry. It was noted that tour guiding is one of the sub-sectors in the tourism industry that is still uncontrolled. Government and stakeholders hence set up guidelines for the registration of tour guides in a consistent and standardised manner as well as design a career path for them. The brochure will thus provide tour guides with the necessary information to effectively guide growth and development in the tour guiding sector, and eventually to become tourist guides. Speaking at the launch of the brochure, the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uaheruka Herunga said an aptitude for languages is a skill most required to be successful in the tour guide industry, as well as an extensive knowledge of animals, plants, weather and history. “ You need to have thorough knowledge relating to travelling and tourist destinations, business tactics and social etiquette’s. The ability and patience to help and provide hospitality is a must, one should also have an up-to-date knowledge of available facilities and services in the field,” Herunga informed. According to Namibia Tourism Boards Head of Industry Services, Manfred !Gaeb, a total of 77 tourist guides were selected to participate in the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) pilot project. He said the exceptional pace of change in tourism in the country is obliging tour guides to develop new skills. “ Namibia has a demographic advantage with a large population of young people, but this advantage can only be realised if opportunities for the youth expand on a massive scale through the medium of education and training in particular the tour guiding sector,” !Gaeb emphasised. The brochures can be obtained from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the British High Commission, FNB Tourist Division as well as the Namibia Tourism Board.

Air Namibia Charging Fees To Transport Firearms

If you are flying aboard Air Namibia for a safari be aware that the airline is charging additional fees for your firearms as checked baggage. Although the fee went into effect May 1, 2013, hunters are being caught unawares at check-in, so we are sending out this warning for those uninformed by the airline or their travel agent. The fee for international flights operated by Air Namibia is $100 US, $60 for regional and $50 for domestic flights. The same fees apply to other sports equipment, such as scuba gear, ski equipment and even tennis equipment. Unfortunately, Air Namibia has not posted any of this information on their website as of yet.

Professional Hunter Killed By Elephant In Namibia

Professional Hunter Erwin Kotze died Tuesday, April 23, after being trampled by an elephant in northwestern Namibia. Kotze, who was only 27, was a PH for Peter Thormahlen of Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris. Kotze was guiding a client while hunting desert elephant in the Kaokoland concession called Orupupa Conservancy. The hunting party had been tracking a bull since morning. Kotze stalked closer to evaluate the ivory. Something went wrong, and the animal charged him without warning. The elephant trampled Kotze, breaking his pelvis. Another PH in the party carried Kotze to the hunting vehicle and called for a medivac to meet them at a nearest airstrip. Unfortunately, Kotze died of internal injuries before reaching the airstrip. Kotze was unmarried and is survived by his parents, Werner and Erna Kotze, who were flying into Namibia from their home in Botswana to make funeral arrangements. In a statement issued to The Hunting Report, Peter Thormahlen said, "We are shocked, grieved and very, very heartbroken. Erwin was like a son in our house."

Namibia: Windhoek Country Club Resort: good earnings in 2012-2013

The turn around strategy of the once loss-making, state-owned Windhoek Country Club Resort (WCCR) continues to bear fruit after the hotel posted a N$12.7 million operating profit in the financial year ended 30 April 2013. The results were boosted by a strong performance in the hotel’s casino operations which saw revenue jump 15.4% to N$75 million compared to N$65.1 million in 2012. Revenue from hotel operations weighed in with N$42.8 million up from N$41 million in the corresponding period. Total revenue for the year, including finance income, increased 11.2% to N$119 million from N$107 million the previous year. Although commendable, results show that operating profit was down from the N$13.6 million recorded in 2012 mainly due to an increase in property and marketing costs. In the year under review, the hotel continued with renovations and upgrading of facilities funded from own cash reserves. Profit attributable to shareholders also saw a decline from N$5.8 million in 2012 to N$4.6 million as a result of an increase in deferred income tax. No dividend was declared for the year. The hotel’s current liabilities decreased from N$51 million to N$26 million after management repaid in full the outstanding N$40 million debt it owed the Government Institutions Pension Fund in February ahead of schedule as management felt the facility was expensive. Sven Thieme, Charmain of the board of directors of the WCCR thanked all the parties that contributed to the hotel’s positive results. He said the main highlight of the year was the repayment of the long-standing GIPF debt which had threatened to cripple the operations of the hotel. He, however, noted that the year had not been without challenges. He said: “The ongoing global [financial] crises still affects the tourism industry and it is therefore more laudable that we can look back at strong results. We are further faced with increased competition in the market. We welcome competition and it has spurned us on to greater heights.” Thieme said the hotel had to slow down its upgrading process as it was almost fully booked all the time. “In order not to disrupt our client’s peaceful stay, we opted to continue with the renovations once we have a slower period in the next year,” he said. Thieme added that management was looking forward to the refurbishment of the hotel’s bathrooms expected to start before the end of the current financial year. “This will be an exciting project and we cannot wait for them to be done and to hear what our customers have to say. We also hope to do the public areas of the conference centre before the end of this financial year,” he said.

Unique and exclusive travel destination - Namibia

Due to the recent global economic recession, the tourism industry worldwide has seen a decline in recent years, making it even crucial for countries to market and expose themselves as ideal tourism destinations to the international market. According to the CEO of the Hospitality Association of Namibia (HAN), Gitta Paetzold, targeted marketing is key and while many other Southern African countries offer wildlife, scenery and sunshine, Namibia has done well to supplement its strong marketing presence in the traditional market from Central Europe, to the USA through the North-American Destination Marketing campaign launched by the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) with assistant from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) funds and programs. Following the success of the campaign in North America, the NTB now targets the Middle East and Central Asia. Paetzold said Namibia has managed to promote its unique splendour to a wider “audience” and the unique successes of Namibia in terms of conservation efforts, trans-locating endangered animals from parks to private game reserves and the country’s success story on cheetah research and conservation, are what is being picked up internationally. “Namibia is a tourism destination worth visiting as it offers wonderful opportunities for people who travel with conscience and meaning and who wish to have an engaging experience and be part of and witness conservation in action, rather than just coming for “consumptive tourism trips”,” said Paetzold. As Namibia prepares to host the Adventure Travel World Summit, Paetzold is confident that this will be the biggest marketing effort the country will run collectively. “We are confident that by September, all tours and accommodation available will be reserved. We are told that this is the first time in Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) history that a summit has had such demand with 90% of the delegates already booking their space more than four months ahead of the summit,” she noted. To show support in hosting the Summit, the City of Windhoek Tourism Division is hard at work to plan for a National Welcoming Event on Saturday, 26 October 2013 in the Parliament Gardens, while the host town of the summit, Swakopmund, is preparing for a dune-dinner under stars for the night of 28 October, ahead of the 3 days of plenary and debate during the Summit. “While we all know that given the economic situation, cash seems to be tight at all levels, it has been extremely encouraging to see how various companies have offered their input and willingness to assist and engage in this national endeavour,” said Paetzold, adding that both FNB and Standard Bank have already made their financial contributions to the Summit and Bannerman Resources has made firm commitments to sponsor the event. Negotiations with Namibia Breweries Limited, Cymot Namibia and Telecom are currently under way and a surprise gift from Nakara made from true Namibian leather awaits the 700 delegates. Paetzold said however that there is still ignorance about the value of tourism in general thus Team Destination Namibia is busy planning awareness events to get the public more involved and excited about the Summit. “We want all Namibians to share in the excitement and help us as Team Destination Namibia, to showcase Namibia as a unique and worthy tourism destination, with beautiful landscapes, wildlife in abundance, and what’s very important, friendly and hospitable people!” Paetzold remarked.

Opening of Kenya Airways office will boost Air Namibia’s revenue

The new Kenya Airways office that was officially opened in Windhoek this week will help boost Air Namibia’s revenue, an airline official has said. Model African airline Kenya Airways opened a representative office in Windhoek on Tuesday, 19 November through global airline agent, Air Promotions Group. The office will be used to sell Kenya Airways products in Namibia. This comes after Kenya Airways partnered Air Namibia in June in a code share agreement that sees Air Namibia selling seats under its own name on Kenya Airways operated flights and vice versa. The arrangement also allows Air Namibia to provide its clients with worldwide services as Kenya Airways has a route network covering 59 destinations worldwide. Xavier Masule, Air Namibia’s General Manager for Commercial services this week welcomed the decision by Kenya Airways to open a local representative office describing the move as positive. “It is a positive move which will help both airlines increase market share as a result of combined forces to sell the same product, being the route Windhoek to Nairobi. The code share is about revenue sharing from each passenger who flies irrespective of which airline sold the ticket. The benefit for Air Namibia is even more because passengers going to destinations not covered in the code share will also be able to fly Air Namibia on the first leg out. The more sales outlets and options from which people can access us the better,” Masule said. He said Air Namibia has seen an increase in passenger numbers on its flights between Windhoek and Nairobi since signing the code share agreement with Kenya Airways. “The increase in passenger numbers translates to additional revenue. The passenger number evolution is increasing and all looks positive.” Rosemary Adogo, Kenya Airways Area Manager for Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Islands said the success of the code share agreement has been the visibility of Air Namibia’s flights on Kenya Airways network and Kenya airways flights on Air Namibia’s network. She said the move to open an office in Windhoek will compliment the efforts of Air Namibia in that it is an added joint effort to sell the code share between Kenya Airways and Air Namibia on the local market. “We are proud of this step and looking forward for immense support from the Namibia public while thanking the Namibia government and Air Namibia for all the support given to bring Kenya Airways this far,” Adogo said.

Germany's funding for development in Namibia

German financial support for development for the period 2013 and 2014 amounts to close to N$2 billion. This funding helps support programs to, among others, develop the coastal national parks, implement the Urban Transport Masterplan for Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth, improve Namibia’s competitiveness in manufacturing. Willem Goeieman of the National Planning Commission lead the Namibian delegation while Alois Schneider, who is in charge of the Division for Southern Africa at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, steered the German side. German Ambassador H.E. Onno Hückmann, and H.E. Neville Gertze, Namibian Ambassador to Germany, also took part in the negotiations. The main objective of development cooperation is to support the government’s efforts to reduce poverty, to improve infrastructure and the sustainable use of natural resources, as well as to foster sustainable economic development. The Namibian-German cooperation is aligned with the ideas and goals formulated in the 4th National Development Plan. Both governments agreed to continue cooperation in the three focal areas of their partnership: Natural Resources Management, Transport, and Sustainable Economic Development. Topics outside of the focal areas include HIV/AIDS as a cross cutting issue to all sectors, energy efficiency and water. The importance of skilled labour for development was emphasised by both sides and reaffirmed through an additional commitment of approximately N$75 million from the German government. The next bilateral negotiations on development cooperation are envisaged to take place in Germany in September / October 2015. Preparatory consultations will be held in Namibia in early 2015.

Namibia: Okahandja brewery starts brewing in 2014

SABMiller’s Namibian Brewery currently under construction, is expected to begin brewing its first products in mid-2014, almost a year earlier than previously anticipated. The brewery is currently under construction and is situated on a 7.2 hectare site in Okahandja. Good progress has been made by local contractors less than 6 months after beginning work, allowing the completion date to be brought forward significantly. Construction began in July this year, shortly after it was marked by SAB leadership and local national and regional government dignitaries with an official ground breaking ceremony on site. This is SABMiller’s first brewery in Namibia. SABMiller previously announced that it expected the brewery would be up and running in mid-2015 after an estimated 14 to 18 month building phase. However, this timeline has been fast tracked owing to construction progress. “The swift construction progress means we are even closer to fulfilling our commitment to the people of Namibia through our investment in the country’s economy and helping government realise its 2030 vision of an industrial nation. Most importantly, we have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society,” said Cobus Bruwer, SABMiller Namibia Managing Director. While SABMiller will fully fund the projects, SABMiller Namibia will be 60% owned by SABSA Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of SABMiller, and 40% by local Namibian partners comprising 20% Onyewu Investments and 20% by three charitable trusts for the benefit of local communities. The formation of the new entity allowed for the allocation of a sizeable shareholding to local partners for nominal consideration, which was an important empowerment initiative. The total investment in the brewery is estimated at N$420-million. (USD$45.7-m) which will make a meaningful contribution to the Namibian economy. Furthermore, several hundred largely local people will be employed and once it is operational, an estimated 100 full time jobs will be created. The company will also seek to make use of local suppliers whose products and services meet global brewing standards. The Namibian owned and run civil works contractor successfully tendered to construct the 260,000 hectolitre brewery, tipping other local, as well as South African based companies. The brewery site plan accommodates future growth. While the installed capacity of the brewery is 260,000 hl per annum which is expandable to 400,000 hl. SABMiller also plans to invest in a 750ml returnable bottle packaging line and warehouse facilities.

Namibia: annual Christmas Party for the senior citizens in Walvis Bay

The Municipality of Walvis Bay held the annual Christmas Party for the senior citizens at the Walvis Bay Town Hall on Wednesday. This yearly celebration started many years ago and became a tradition, so that the senior citizens can celebrate the spirit of Christmas and catch up with long-lost friends. The Deputy Mayor along with a few of his councillors also attended the festivities. It was an excellent turn out: the Town Hall was filled to capacity with people and some even had to sit in the entrance hall. The senior citizens had to register this year if they'll be attending the Christmas Party. “We want to showcase our appreciation and gratitude to you as front-runners who carried the torch and build a strong foundation for Walvis Bay and our country”, Deputy Mayor Benson Uakumbua said. At the end of all the formalities, each and every citizen received something to eat, as well as early Christmas hampers, which included food packages that contained the daily necessities. Mr Uakumbua wished each and every one good health, a Merry Christmas and a happy, as well as a prosperous New Year.

Stuttgart’s Linden Mu­seum holds Hendrik Witbooi’s bible from Namibia

THE iconic bible that accompanied the great Nama captain, Hendrik Witbooi, on the battlefield, is among the many other artifacts of Namibian history, besides the genocide skulls, still in the hands of the German government. This was revealed by Ida Hoffman, for­mer Swapo parliamentarian and head of the Nama Technical Committee (NTC), a group which together with the Herero Technical Committee (HTC) are demanding the repa­triation of Nama and Ovaherero genocide skulls from Germany. Witbooi’s bible is said to have inspired his Christian-themed letters to various Ger­man military leaders, now compiled and fa­mously referred to as the ‘Hendrik Witbooi Papers’. The man on the the Namibian notes is the most revered Nama leader, who led the military resistance against German colo­nialism. It is not clear when and how the bi­ble landed in Germany, but it was confirmed that it is being kept at Stuttgart’s Linden Mu­seum, were it is believed to have been stored for decades. According to Werner Classen, a former United Democratic Front (UDF) City of Windhoek councillor who now works close­ly with Hoffman, the museum’s director, Dr Inés de Castro, has requested from them ad­ditional information that might piece togeth­er how the bible ended up in her institution. “She is aware that they have a powerful artefact and requested our help. However, our stand is that it should be returned to Namibia together with the skulls,” Classen said. With regard to the genocide skulls, Hoffman who was speaking at a media brief­ing on her return from a Pan-African Con­gress in Munich last week, said 17 skulls are ready for repatriation from the Universities of Freiburg and Grefiswald, while many others are kept at the Berlin Society of An­thropology, Focke Museum, and by private individuals. “The main problem with the return of the skulls is the strange reluctance and the re­fusal to acknowledge guilt, give a proper apology, a frame for reparations and the return of the skulls to Namibia,” Hoffman said. So far, 20 skulls were handed to the Na­mibian government in September 2011, while government, on the orders of Presi­dent Hifikepunye Pohamba, has established a Human Rights Commission in the Office of the Prime Minister, to co-ordinate and consult with relevant stakeholders in guid­ing government’s handling of issues related to genocide.

Namibia: wildebeest cause plane crash

A Cessna 210 with the call sign V5- DOC went down on the farm Swart­fontein in the Windhoek District on Monday morning at around 09h30 with a pilot and two passengers on board. All three people were fortu­nate to have survived the crash with only minor injuries. The air crash was confirmed this week by the acting director of Aircraft Accident Investigations of the Min­istry of Works and Transport, Theo Shilongo. Shilongo added a prelimi­nary report on the crash is already on his desk. The pilot of the aircraft was a Ger­man national identified as a certain Rudolf Fischl, who is also the owner of the aircraft. It is believed Fischl flew with the two unnamed passengers from a nearby farm to Swart­fontein and touched down on the farm’s gravel airfield. As the plane touched down, two wildebeest reportedly crossed the runway, compelling Fischl to veer off the runway to avoid a collision with the animals. At the time the aeroplane was still at a substantial speed and the pilot was force to open the aeroplane’s throttle to take off and attempt another touchdown. The plane could not built sufficient speed for a proper take-off and it clipped a number of tree tops and crashed. “The pilot and the passengers were briefly admitted to a Windhoek hospital, but they were soon discharged. Mr Fischl, I believe, already returned to Germany,” said Shilongo. The position of the farm Swartfontein and the crash site was given by Shilongo as 90 km southwest of Windhoek.

Уволился глава ЦБ Зимбабве, уничтоживший национальную валюту

ХАРАРЕ, 30 ноября. Глава Резервного банка Зимбабве Гидеон Коно оставил свой пост после десяти лет работы, приведшей к инфляции в 230 млн процентов и прекращению хождения национальной валюты. 54-летний банкир, отслуживший два пятилетних срока во главе центробанка страны, заявил, что "защищал суверенитет и экономические интересы Зимбабве во времена особой нужды и сильнейших экономических атак на страну". "Как и любой живой человек, я несовершенен", — заявил Коно. Гоно бесконтрольно печатал деньги в конце "нулевых", деноминация купюр доходила до 100 трлн зимбабвийских долларов, сообщает ИТАР-ТАСС. Затем национальная валюта прекратила хождение, и сегодня местные жители продают банкноты иностранцам на сувениры. Ее заменили доллар США, евро и южноафриканский ранд. До назначения нового председателя ЦБ возглавит заместитель Коно Чэрити Дливайо.

Search for black boxes: plane crush in Bwabwara, Namibia

Captain Ericksson Nengola, Namibia's director of aircraft accidents investigations in the ministry of transport, said they are still searching for the two black boxes. They have so far found one voice recorder and an emergency location transmitter. He said Namibia will investigations into the crash and will rope in experts from the USA because the plane's engine was made there, Brazil, since it was manufactured there and aviation authorities from Angola, Mozambique and Botswana. “We do not know what caused the accident. This is a major investigation and worse ever accident after Namibia's Independence [1990]. I do not know how long it will take. It might take months,” he said. The nationalities of the 27 passengers who were on board were; Mozambique (10), Angola (9), Portugal (5), France (1) Brazil (1) and China (1). Meanwhile, Mozambique's government has declared a period of national mourning to honour the 33 victims of country’s worst aviation disaster since 1986. Mozambique transport minister, Gabriel Muthisse told BBC the airline (Mozambique Airlines) has excellent safety standards and that a commission has been set up to investigate causes of LAM crash in Namibia. The Namibian Police coordinator in the Kavango Region, Willie Bampton, earlier today confirmed that they have found the burnt wreckage of the missing Mazambican plane. There were no survivors. Flight TM470 took off from Maputo early yesterday and was due to land in the Angolan capital, Luanda, at 13H10 GMT on Friday, but never arrived. Bampton confirmed that they were informed by officials in Botswana that they saw smoke in the air and heard explosions yesterday afternoon. The police is now searching in the Bwabwata National Park where the plane is said to have crashed. Bampton, who is part of the search team in the Bwabwata National Park, said the area is inaccessible and the rain that fell yesterday in the area is not making it easier for them. “We are still searching. There are no proper roads, you have to go through the bush, slowly and its making our job difficult,” he said. Bampton said the Namibian police were first informed about the incident around 15h00 by officials from Botswana who initially thought the plane crashed in their country.