The recent currency roller- coaster, expensive travel visas and fears of terrorism across Europe and the East have left African business and holiday travellers searching locally for their travel, meetings and conference options. Exotic destinations are becoming a stretch on the purse-strings and a major trend of looking local is apparent. One such destination attracting travellers is Namibia, the close relative of South Africa. The country is fast becoming an appealing option for the leisure and conference markets. (See Tourism Tattler’s self drive package deal for 10-Nights for 2 people sharing a room at 5 Namibian Safari Lodges at the end of this article – Editor).
Nicolae Tambrescu, Regional & Domestic Operations & Marketing for Namibia, Africa & Middle East at Namibia Tourism Board, confirms the growth reflected by Namibian Airports Company figures for 2015 when Windhoek airport handled 773 721 passengers and 14 940 aircraft movements. Supporting airlines are Air Namibia, South African Airlines, TAAG Angola, Airlink, Condor, South African Express and British Airways (Comair) that service routes to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Luanda, amongst others in Africa, as well as to Europe through Frankfurt Airport in Germany. Walvis Bay Airport is a second major airport in Namibia, handling over 20 000 aircraft and about 100 000 passengers in 2015, operating daily flights to Windhoek, Johannesburg and Cape Town. Walvis Bay Airport is undergoing a total revamp and is set to be Namibia’s second international airport by the end of 2016. According to Tambrescu, South African arrivals continue to increase at 12-13% annually, reaching over 500 000 in 2015.
But it’s not only South Africans who are realising the value of Namibia. Arrivals from Angola and Zambia account for about 700 000, whilst visitor figures from Germany, France, Italy and the United Kingdom have reached as many as three hundred thousand per annum. Recent reports confirm the arrival of KLM, Qatar and Ethiopia Airlines, confirming the interest of visitors to the country. Tambrescu explains that there is an upsurge in corporate travel from SADC, but there is room for improvement. “It is important to inform the consumers of various types of destinations and activities, tourism campaigns and incentives, through various communication tools, and in the past years we have seen growth and uniformity throughout the year, positive signs for Namibia.”
Dean van Rooyen, general manager at BON Hotel Swakopmund, boasts that Namibia, especially the coastal town of
Swakopmund, has much to offer. “Less than an hour’s drive from the Walvis Bay airport, the sand dunes and ocean offer a playground of attractions for corporate and leisure seekers and the historical value draws many tourists from Germany and Europe. With such a variety on offer, Swakop is becoming increasingly popular for conference groups, team-building and our leisure market is growing too. Of course, we also enjoy the big -time Hollywood movie shoots. The exchange rate and unusual locations are huge drawcards for production companies.”
If one has to look at exotic travel options for South Africans on our current exchange rate, we have limited choice for value – perhaps Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia or even Mauritius, but Namibia….now there’s a thought!
Self Drive Travel Deal: 10-Nights for 2 at 5 Namibian Safari Lodges
This incredible deal, presented with the compliments of Journeys Namibia and Tourism Tattler, is for accommodation vouchers for two adults sharing a room at five luxury safari lodges in Namibia and includes meals and activities.
Valued at N$35,330.00 this deal is on sale at a 50% discount for a limited period on Tourism Tattler’s BidorBuy travel channel – click HERE to purchase this deal.
If travelling by road from South Africa, start your Namibia self-drive safari adventure at Fish River Lodge for a 2-night stay for 2 people sharing a double room with dinners and breakfasts plus a Guided Canyon Excursion in the 45 000ha Canyon Nature Park.
On the 3rd day take a leisurely 5 hour drive via Keetmanshoop to Windhoek and spend 2-nights at Aus Safari Lodge with dinners, lunches, breakfasts and game drives included.
Check out on day 5 and drive through Windhoek, Outjo, and Springbokwasser to link up on the coastal road through the Skeleton Coast Park towards Möwe Bay and spend 1-night at the brand new Shipwreck Lodge (opening February 2017) on a Full Board basis.
Spend day 6 exploring the Torra Conservancy as you take the return drive via Torra Bay, Springbokwasser and Palmwag to check-in for 2-nights in a double room at Grootberg Lodge, which is perched on the rim of the Etendeka Plateau overlooking the Klip River Valley. Enjoy the unique hospitality provided by the Khoadi/Hoas community with dinners, breakfasts plus a Desert Elephant Excursion.
On day 8, drive just 25km east of Grootberg Lodge for a 2-night outdoor experience among the giant granite boulders and mopani trees of Hoada Campsite where the friendly Khoadi/Hoas community staff will pitch your tent and start your fires for hot showers and braais under the stars (bring your own camping gear and food/drinks as this last stop is self catered).
On day 10 pack-up and head for home to share your incredible travel story and photographs with envious friends and family!
Terms & Conditions:
These vouchers are valid for 12 months and must be booked before December 2017 (subject to availability at the time of booking). The vouchers can be booked in any order or used individually.