Domestic Tourism Issues in Namibia

On a recent study via the Namibian Tourism Board regarding domestic tourism in Namibia, a conclusion was found that many respondents commented on the high prices of tourism services and accommodations. From the distributed questionnaire for a majority of Namibian locals, interviews, and observations, it was found that tourism in Namibia is focused primarily on the international market. This causes prices to increase beyond the affordability of many Namibians, which deters many potential tourists from travelling. Although the domestic tourism industry is currently not a major contributor to the Namibian economy, data analysis discovered that Namibians do spend money on travel but the amount spent and the amount Namibians are willing to spend differ greatly. If the Namibia Tourism Board and service providers do not fix this problem throughout Namibia, domestic tourism will diminish. Comments from responses to the questionnaires and interviews informed the third finding; the tourism industry does not cater to Namibians. The tourism industry in Namibia focuses on the international market. This creates a disparity in pricing and quality of services. The majority of guests are European, and only 31% of guests are Namibian. This percentage is at the unsatisfactory level. As stated, Namibians would like to see improvements in the tourism industry. Pricing in the industry remains a problem throughout the country and prevents Namibians from travelling. Poor quality of service and accommodations are also common complaints among tourists. If services are not improved, domestic tourists may not travel in Namibia (featured Image: Stock image)

Nevertheless, this issue has been going on for quite a while now (according to the NTB – since 2006) and to further see the extent of the matter, some outside links have been added at the bottom of this Post. So, if the information provided via the Windhoek Observer Newspaper is true, things should be looking up (?). Or is it? We would love some feedback from our local community if possible…

As far as we know, the following solutions and projects are currently being put forth:

Domestic travellers disembarking from an Air Namibia flight (by Air Namibia)

+ Conduct more research on domestic tourism

An NTB project has only just begun to determine the issues preventing the domestic tourism industry from expanding. Due to resource limitations, a small sample size was used in this study. Although the sample targeted the desired population of middle-class Namibians, the sample was not representative of the Namibian population as a whole. Several recommendations were made based on the collected data in order to improve the current domestic tourism industry; however, more research must be conducted before conclusive results can be determined. The Namibia Tourism Board should continue conducting research on the current state of domestic tourism in Namibia; specifically, the disposable income of Namibians and the amount of money Namibians are willing to spend on accommodations, activities, and transportation. This Project already seems to show some significant effects (click for more Info).

Sample image by Business 2 Community

+ Improve marketing strategies

From observation and interviews, the majority of service providers focus marketing towards international travellers. Therefore, Namibians are unaware of the types of attractions and accommodations available to them at affordable prices. To improve this situation, it is recommended that the Namibia Tourism Board distributes literature to service providers regarding the importance and potential benefits of domestic tourism, as well as successful domestic advertising methods to attract more locals to their establishments. A sample brochure that specifically markets domestic tourist attractions is included in the full report. Combined with segmentation of the Namibian market, marketing and branding techniques can be applied to better target the population of potential domestic travellers.

Midi-Bus Iveco by Namibian Car Rentals

+ Transportation service providers should establish a pass system

Transportation is an important part of any tourism industry but is a major problem throughout Namibia. As mentioned in the findings, the majority of domestic tourists travel by personal car because the bus and train systems are too expensive and often inaccessible due to scheduling issues. To help alleviate this and other problems, it is suggested that transportation service providers establish a pass system where individuals or families can pre-pay for a pass and receive discounts over a period of months. So in other words, by creating more affordable and easily accessible modes of transportation can encourage Namibians to travel more frequently.

Photo by Kamp Kipwe, Namibia

+ Encourage service providers to accommodate domestic tourists

The first approach is to create an understanding of the importance of domestic tourism to Namibia’s tourism market. This should be done through the distribution of literature describing the seasonality of international and domestic tourist travel, as well as disposable income data outlining suggested pricing structures that locals can afford. If the literature does not encourage service providers to reduce pricing, thus increasing the percentage of domestic tourists engaging in leisure travel, an incentive should be introduced.

Namibia Safari Holiday by Responsible Travel

+ Improve the variety and accessibility of attractions throughout Namibia

As previously noted, Namibians would most like to visit natural attractions. The Namibia Tourism Board should begin to identify and market underdeveloped and underutilized nature-based attractions throughout Namibia. Since the significant majority of questionnaire respondents expressed a desire to explore Namibia’s vast landscapes and changing scenery, successful marketing of such attractions would greatly encourage more domestic travel. Again, attractions in Namibia need to be marketed to Namibians. By reducing pricing and advertising low-cost attractions throughout the country, domestic tourists will be encouraged to travel within Namibia.

If the situation with domestic tourism does not change, the market may cease. Currently, service providers are forcing Namibians to spend money outside the country or not at all which brings the economy down. As discussed in the findings, Namibians do travel, would like to continue travelling, and enjoy travel in their home country but are prevented from travelling more due to several limitations such as high pricing, lack of marketing, inaccessible transportation, and poor quality of services. Domestic tourists must be motivated to participate in Namibian tourism which can be accomplished through several recommendations. To reduce pricing, service providers must see the benefit of the domestic tourism market. Wide-Scale distribution of literature and comprehensive data must be made available to service providers throughout Namibia explaining the importance of domestic tourism. Marketing practices must be implemented that focus on the local domestic tourist market in addition to the international domain. Transportation, accommodations, and activities need improvement both in quality of services and pricing. These recommendations are a means to begin changes in the domestic tourism market; however, further research and years of improvements are necessary to develop the industry to a sustainable level. There is a great sense of national pride and love of their country among Namibians. Through making changes to domestic tourism in the upcoming years, the country can evolve and grow into a greater Namibia: a country belonging to the people.

One recommendation which has been addressed by the Namibian Tourism Board

+ Encourage Service Providers to Accommodate Domestic Tourists

One conclusion made based on the analyzed findings was the need for service providers to accommodate domestic tourists. As stated, only 31% of guests at Namibia Tourism Board registered accommodations analyzed are Namibians. This figure needs to be improved to have a sustainable domestic tourism industry. To encourage Namibians to travel, discounts and reduced pricing plans must be made available. To produce the most profit from the tourism industry, service providers currently focus on marketing and pricing techniques to the foreign market. While prices are affordable to foreign travellers, the cost is much higher than Namibians can afford or are willing to pay. The majority of Namibians spend an average of less than N$1,500 on travel, accommodations, food and activities each while on holiday. With the current prices of accommodations and other tourism commodities, Namibian travellers are forced to stay with friends and relatives or at other low-cost accommodations. This situation does not contribute to the economy because less money is being invested in tourism as prices increase and people are less willing to travel. First, the realization of the importance and potential benefits of domestic tourism needs to be established.

Camping at Spitzkoppe, Namibia by Spiegel.de

+ The conclusion:

The recommendation of a widespread campaign to inform service providers of the importance of domestic tourism is the first step towards improving pricing. The distributed literature should explain the importance of domestic tourism to Namibia and include statistics outlining the benefits of increasing the number of domestic tourist clients. Further research should be 66 conducted discovering the average prices of tourism establishments throughout the country, as well as the amount Namibians can spend, and be presented to service providers in a comprehensive pricing guide. Currently, businesses do not know the prices of their competitors. By forcing the release of this information, the market will become more competitive and prices may be driven down in an attempt to bring in the greatest possible number of guests. An incentive can also be introduced to motivate service providers to accommodate Namibians; however, this should only be done if there are insignificant improvements in the domestic tourism market as a result of the distributed literature. One incentive could be a subsidized rate for the levy tax charged by the Namibia Tourism Board in exchange for proof of compliance to a price reduction and marketing campaign.

Photo by Arebush Lodge, Namibia

If companies devise a pricing plan and implement an advertising strategy to market the new price reduction, some levy tax should be waved. To measure the effectiveness of this plan and to ensure the validity of its implementation, businesses will need to provide data showing a certain percentage of increase in domestic clients. This will not only convince the Namibia Tourism Board of the success of the program but results could be organized and distributed to nonparticipating service providers throughout Namibia to further emphasize the importance and benefits of domestic tourism. Paired with successful marketing techniques, the redistributed literature would be helpful to many companies and the domestic tourism industry.

Links and downloads:

• Strategies for developing domestic Tourism in Namibia

• Stepping up local tourism marketing (The Economist – 2015)

• Domestic tourism neglected (New Era – 2017)

• Few Namibians visiting local tourist establishments (NBC – 2017)

Searching for reforestation

Dear reader, we would love to point out that this informational Blog Post is of vital importance to all of mankind. Therefore we ask you politely to read and watch this post till the end in order to understand the magnitude of the literature and information provided and respond accordingly. Don’t worry, your reaction is not going to cost you a single cent. So, without further due let us look at the following starting with the World Wide Web itself. With the daily growing Internet “digital library (eg. Web pages, Blogs, Online Shops etc.)” and an estimated 3.6 Billion users, the importance of search engines is basically on top of the list regarding general day-to-day internet services. In a simple explanation, a Search engine is a web software program or web-based script available over the Internet that searches documents and files for keywords and returns the list of results containing those keywords. Today, there are numbers of different search engines available on the Internet, each with their own techniques and specialities. In essence, Search engines are the workhorses of the world wide web, returning billions of potential and diverse Information or services to billions of queries on an hourly basis, with some of the major search engines being Google, Yahoo, Shodan, Ask, WebCrawler, Dogpile, Bing and others. To give you an idea of how big the Internet actually is the “Millforbusiness-Website” gives a decent up to date estimate of the ever-changing numbers. (Image by Pixshark.com)

Currently, this all might sound somewhat confusing, and what does this have to do with reforestation(?), but do yourself the favour and keep on reading to gain clarity.

In the 2018 survey, they found that there are 1,630,322,579 websites currently online which compared to the year 2008 a count was reached at 186,727,854 websites.

If you look at the data on the Millforbusiness-Website and minus the amount from the year 2017 from the website count of the year 2018, we get a total count of 5,212,899 new websites created.

If you divide the 5,212,899 newly created Websites with 365 days this equals up to 14281 websites day, that’s a whopping 571 new Websites coming online every hour! In order to find these Websites, all Search Engines are a vital online Tool to find these Websites for whatever reasons (Information, a Service, an online Purchase etc.) If we look at the Search Statistics from Google alone, an insane number of approx. 3.5 Billion search queries are made daily. That’s a total of 1.2 trillion searches a year just from the Google Search Engine alone!

So what exactly does this have to do with our Website sharing Information on Tourism, Wildlife or Fauna and Flora??? Don’t be concerned, this is not a dry Blog on Website tutorials or alike. We just want to introduce you to a Search Engine which is putting up a lot of effort to reforest the globe. This is something worth a Nobel Prize in our humble opinion.

Very simple, we want to make the public aware of the Ecosia Search Engine which doesn’t just fill their pockets like the other big greedy competitors. Ecosia returns to mother earth by every search made. This undertaking deserves the utmost respect and support. Ecosia is a Search Engine which plant’s trees. In their own Words “Ecosia users have planted 40 million trees just by searching the web. Trees are vital to fighting climate change. Scientists agree that halting deforestation is just as urgent as reducing emissions. Protecting and restoring forests could reduce worldwide emissions of CO2 by 18%.” – from the Ecosia Website – The Ecosia Search Engine works just like any other Search Engine, plus they have a nice feature of a live running counter of how many trees have been – or are up for planting below the search box. With the funds collected they evaluate selected locations for the next area where planting trees are of importance and which can provide the highest survival rate for the trees as such (see video clips below for more insight). They prefer to plant Acacia trees (see link below or click here) and have a separate Bank Account to help Woman start their own business. As a cherry on top of the cake, they don’t sell your private information to other third parties (like 90% of all Search Engine providers) and do not force you to accept Internet cookies or trackers. Utmost Respect for eliminating the “online dodgy stuff” and the financial support towards female self-empowerment!!! In writing this, there are a helpful more of aspects which I can write about but we try to keep things short (the Video clips below will explain more).

Have a look at their Introduction Videos below:

A clip on how Ecosia decides on how and where to plant new trees (the human value behind this is stunning):

One clip on the impact Ecosia already had in Madagascar (more clips can be found on the Ecosia Website or via YouTube):

If you have a closer look at the facts as for how many trees are cut down each year, IntactForests.org concludes that intact forest landscapes from 2000-2013 were reduced globally by 70,000 square kilometres per year (about the size of Costa Rica) for a total of 919,000 square kilometres. As to the “number of trees” this represents, it’s impossible to get an accurate count. In regards on the Tree density in primary forests varies from 50,000-100,000 trees per square km, so the math would put this number at 3.5 billion to 7 billion trees cut down each year. Symbolically speaking, we are cutting down the “lungs of the earth” at an alarming rate. That’s why we support the use of the Ecosia Search Engine by all means necessary.

If we take a closer look at the scenario, it is well documented that the earth Oxygen levels are dwindling. According to this article from the Dailymail UK, it states that we experienced a drop of 0,7% drop of the earth’s Oxygen levels due to CO2 emissions, general consumption and deforestation. This value is expected to grow in near future. To simplify the matter, each person uses around 550 litres of oxygen per day (according to howstuffworks). So with the estimated amount from the year 2018 of 7.7 Billion people on planet earth that’s a usage of  4235,000,000,000 litres of Oxygen per day. In general, one fully grown tree at 30 meters (100 feet) produces around 118 litres of Oxygen per year (according to AAAtreeserviceny). At the deforestation rate of 7 billion a year that’s an Oxygen supply loss of 82,600,000,000 per year. If one does further calculations from these statistics one will clearly see that we are heading for a global disaster regarding our air-supply alone (disregarding food supply’s, clean water supply’s etc.).

Just to understand the terminology, Reforestation is not the same as afforestation, though both are directed towards propagating greenery. Afforestation is the endeavour to forest an area which originally had no tree cover what so ever. It is the effort to create a new forest in a previously unforested area or a part of the land that was not under forest cover. The Ecosia Search Engine doesn’t handle the effort under “afforestation”, which is well explained in the Video clips above.

Reforestation simply means the effort put in by repopulating an area which has lost its tree population due to human intervention or natural disasters. It is an initiative different countries are undertaking to maintain ecological balance as beautifully explained in the Madagascar Video clip above.

 Have a look at this Website from The World Counts just to see how fast we are currently destroying our own life-support. The live online measurements will leave you literally “gasping for air”.

Some of our past Blog Posts with similar field of interest:

• Conservation of Namibia’s Ecosystem

• Namibia’s Bush Encroachment Issue

As a closure, we would love to leave you with a simple insight. If for eg. Ecosia reaches a reforestation amount of 1 billion planted trees (per year) at a success rate of 40% survival of each Tree (Percentage is taken as an example) this means that this enterprise has given 400,000,000 trees back to nature by the simple support of your online searches. From the estimated 7 billion trees cut down yearly, this has an impact of 5,7% of reforestation to deforestation. This means that according to the statistics and specific to this example only – at 5,7% success rate, it will take Ecosia 17,5 years to reforest a one-year calculation/count/estimate of deforestation statistics. Another thing to take into account is that it takes multiple years for a tree to reach it’s full growth, meaning that before a tree reaches a considerable minimum size (not fully grown) to make an environmental impact on the global atmosphere, could take up a minimum of 3 years (only true for fast-growing trees – click for the general encyclopedia). For one tree to help with the maintenance of our atmospheric gasses and the global warming problem, this is a relevant fact which is very often forgotten or overseen. With our current technology, cutting down beautiful age-old trees takes a matter of minutes. Replacing them is an entirely different ball-game. The Ecosia Search Engine Project is difficult, complex but remarkably beautiful. Please Note: This specific example excludes other non-mentioned “Reforestation Projects”.

Some short clips on deforestation:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwqvSE0UV0w

It isn’t in our control in which manner you understand or think about this Blog Post and is up to each individual themselves. But a wise person once said: “These current problems do not burden us, however, the next generation(s) will thank us for the mess in which we left them behind.” -unknown-

         Nevertheless, you do the math on the Information given above – definitely, something to think about…

Your support is vital:

Go to the Ecosia Search Engine 

Go to the Ecosia Facebook Page 

Other reforestation Project links:

• The Eden Reforestation Project

• The Carbonfund Reforestation Project

• The UNFCCC Project (.pdf document)

• The Andes Reforestation Project

37 free Travel Hacks for international fliers

For many international visitors, not just to Namibia but globally, we would love to share our insider Tips to get the most out of your money to the value of each flight. Below are 37 of our personal best hacks needed to make your Airfare as comfortable as possible. Make sure to view the very last Video at the bottom of this Blog Post, some of the best Tips and Tricks are explained accordingly. Furthermore, this Blog Post is trying to cover the general Hacks available globally. Certain Airlines or countries might not carry value for our advice presented here. One of the biggest Problems which should be taken into account is Point No.21. Ignoring Point No.21 is the most frequent and also the most expensive one hence one will have to buy new Flight tickets in order to be allowed travelling on the next day, should you travel back home to collect the required documents(!). Plus, if you have a strict Safari itinerary your entire booking plan is subject to failure. So your Travel Agents will have to shift each accommodation by a day (or more) without any return for your funds which have been paid in advance. Almost no Lodge or Hotel will give you a refund on a “one-day” in advance notice.

     + So without further due, here we go:

  1. Check all flights properly. In our experience, many get to save a lot of money by booking two one-way flights instead of a flight round-trip.
  2. In case of an emergency, always be aware of the fact that you have a 24-hour period for a refund.
  3. Almost all airlines offer a Booking-App making your check-in a lot easier. Some famous airlines always causing turmoil are AirNamibia and Ukranian Airways. The counters of these specific airlines always have a long line in front of the check-in counter. Nevertheless, being top Airlines the counters need some upgrade with the management of their check-in counters. By checking in via the App one can simply drop off the luggage at the Business Class counter where the line is mostly not present.
  4. Avoid Jet-Lag by adjusting your meals and sleep hours accordingly before embarking. Especially on flights which include long hours of transit periods.
  5. Products like Red Bull, Coffee, heavily processed foods, greasy foods, sugary Soft Drinks or similar will dehydrate you, so with making your Jet-Lag even worse. Have some water or a real fruit smoothie which will make things a lot easier to cope with.
  6. Ordering meals at the Airport which are less favoured will most of the time get you served a lot faster (eg. Vegetarian, Halaal etc.). This comes in handy when in a rush and want to grab a quick snack/meal.
  7. Most forgotten items include Cellphone charger, prescription glasses or sunglasses and the famous Laptop mouse. Keep these in the back of your mind!
  8. Never lose your luggage check-in number. Bags get misplaced or forgotten more often than you think, especially when travelling through transits.
  9. Make sure your bag is tagged with your Name and contact details. Should you wrap your bag, ensure that your tag is visible and easily accessible and readable. If you have a messy handwriting we guarantee that in the unfortunate event of the misplaced/late luggage will take a lot longer or not show up at all. Especially in countries which aren’t managing things on the European alphabet (eg. China).
  10. Whoever takes you to the Airport, ensure that they arrive early in order to avoid the line in front of the check-in counter. In our experience, we had situations of power outages at diverse Airports where every flight ticket had to be written by hand.
  11. If possible, wrap your luggage. Getting access to your gear is easily accessible by thieves working inside the loading area.
  12. Keep the most expensive belongings inside your hand baggage. Remember, no liquids allowed inside hand baggage, valid for all airlines.
  13. If you bring souvenirs of liquid nature (eg. Wine) while returning home, pack them in the middle of your bag to avoid breakage.
  14. Behave when on the flight. Should you cause problems on a flight because you are in a bad mood or drunk expect to be collected from the Airport Police once on arrival. So if you think you are someone special and try to change seats from the economy class to the business class, guaranteed you will be held accountable for it. Officers will enter the Airplane before anyone embarks, even in Namibia… with hand-cuffs. If you are supposed or sitting in the back of the Airplane you will take the walk of shame down the Airplane lane with the Airport Security while all eyes are on you. (please view the last Video at the end of this Blog Post)
  15. If you need specific medication, ensure to pack enough supply. Nothing creates a bigger headache when in search for specific medicine needed inside a foreign country. The Pharmaceutical Industries often vary from country to country. Also remember to pack them accordingly, especially when in liquid form. Big reminder for individuals with thrombosis. Watch this very clear and short video below!
  16. To get a chance for a Seat upgrade, try to Book an economy seat with a Standard or Budget listing (some Airlines listed as Y or B) in the case of an overbooking option. (view last Video below for more Information)
  17. Save money on international calls when calling your loved ones by sending Whatsapp voicemails. Especially if you don’t have a SIM Card yet, once upon arrival.
  18. Many airlines or travel agents offer stop-overs to avoid transit hangouts. If you have time this is a nice one to broaden your horizon by spending a couple of days at the specific locations. Take some photos! Also, very important is to speak to your Travel Agent just to ensure everything is in order in regards to VISA’s, Passports etc.
  19. Always remember that your Passport has a valid VISA and has a decent expiry date exceeding a minimum of three Months. Also, make sure that your Passport is in proper condition. If the Passport Control gets a worn-out Passport which gives the impression that it has been “fumbled” with, entry into your country of destination could be declined.
  20. Some Airports give you the offer to buy a ticket for a “hang-out Lounge”. This is recommended for long transit periods or early arrivals at Airports. A good insider for long flights!
  21. The biggest Problem these days is travelling with children. Due to the increasing global human-trafficking issue many Airline Company’s requests a birth certificate once checking-in. Qatar and Emirates are some Airlines who are stone cold and very harsh on these rules. We met many people who where declined their check-in without the proof of these documents. So if travelling with children below 12 – sometimes16 years of age it is a very high matter which to pay attention to. (see Video below)
  22. Try to exchange some of your currency at your local Bank with a currency exchange. Although many Airports have diverse currency exchange Banks on site, the chance that they might be closed (especially when arriving late at night), sold out or have a huge line in front of the counter. Worth mentioning is that you could get a much better exchange rate at your local Bank so with giving you more “bang for your buck” and one could save a lot of time and stress. Research ahead of time on the exchange! A good one is http://www.xe.com …
  23. Prepare your Documents! Always pack a print-out of your Hotel/Guesthouse bookings should you book via an Online-Portal. Many Hotel Bookings get cancelled when a guest doesn’t arrive at Hotel check-in times. You need to show the proof on arriving, especially should you arrive late in the evening. Remember, if you disembark at eg. 23:40 it could still take you another 45min. with a Taxi to reach your Hotel. Many Hotels do not take this in to account making things somewhat difficult for travellers not using a Travel Agent. A cancellation received from diverse Online Booking Platforms will hence often get cancelled without prior notice. So a print-out of your Online Booking Platform could save your stay over.
  24. If you travel by yourself, share your Booking Print-Outs with a family member or a loved one. In a worst case scenario, it could happen that your luggage gets lost or stuck in transit. In such a scenario you can at least contact a family member who has the information which you need (eg. Street Name, Hotel Name, Suburb, Booking Number). Should you visit a country where you are not a master of the countries official language you could have a serious problem (eg. China, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, Punjabi, Japanese etc.). So coming prepared is recommended! How else will you tell your Taxi Driver where to go?
  25. In regards to catching a Tube or the Rail, personally avoid booking Train tickets ahead of time. We are very serious about this one! It came to our attention that many Rail-Road tickets have been rejected because they do not conform to Rail-Ticket numbers provided. On getting Rail-Tickets we personally recommend getting them on site. Many Travel Agents have big problems with rejections on pre-booked Rail-Tickets taking one from the Airport to the City of destination. This, however, is not true for visitors embarking on a multiple days Rail-Road vacation (which are not available at the Airport but only at Rail Company offering the experience).
  26. If you get offered the choice, try to get a flight on a 767. They offer more space inside the economy class. Good if you want to stretch your legs in an unoccupied middle row.
  27. Pack your bag with thought behind it. Leave some free packaging space for souvenirs which you love to bring back home. Use space wisely by eg. stuffing your socks inside your shoes. If you pack your Koffer to the brim, guaranteed you will leave some things behind just to get your material memories (eg. Souvenirs or Curios) back home. Pack lightly! (see video below)
  28. Don’t take the first Taxi driver! The best example is Dubai, UAE. Take your time and speak with Taxi drivers. Often the first Taxi Driver approaching you will lead you directly to the VIP-Taxi’s costing you double. Also in our experience, should you travel to Germany, if your Hotel is close by with a short distance from the Airport many Drivers will curse you because of the short ride. This is because the German Taxies follow a “waiting-in-line” customer acceptance system. Many wait for hours in line to be allowed to take the next visitors to their destination. If the ride has a fare of only 10 Euro’s the driver might harbour resentment. So take note!
  29. If travelling with Sports Gear, many Airlines sell a surplus weight licence sometimes up to 85kg(!). Just ensure that your licence is valid for all Airlines should you change Airline Company’s while in Transit. If this is not cleared with proper Documents expect to pay extra at the Check-In counter (which is not cheap). Recommended is to check-in your Snowboard, camping equipment or Surfing Gear directly within the transit luggage handling.
  30. Always pack your own Bag, unless you seriously trust the person packing your Bag(s).
  31. If you have booked a rental Vehicle, please be aware of these facts stated in one of our past Blog Post’s regarding AA-International Driving Permits (click for Info).
  32. Pack your own headphones. The headphones provided by most Airlines often have a poor sound quality or are sometimes literally rubbish. You don’t want to spoil your entertainment when on a 14-hour flight. (please view the last Video at end of this Blog Post, – some of you will be up for a surprise)
  33. Always pack your own Pen! Many Airports require you to fill in diverse forms. Don’t rely on available pens at every Airport. You will just extend your time wasted throughout the Passport Control procedure.
  34. If possible, avoid packing natural products like meats, seeds, animal products (furs, taxidermy etc.), botanical products or similar. Most liqueurs or tobaccos are fine but unprocessed natural products are always an issue subjected to a fine. Some of the most hardcore Airports adhering to this rule are Australia and New Zealand.
  35. Know how much Cash you are carrying on you. Many Airports require you to state the exact amount brought in by international visitors. If you are being caught with a stack of bills which haven’t been declared, expect consequences.
  36. Arrive fresh! Nothing worse when sitting next to someone who is sweaty and who just came out of a Pub. The Airline reserves the right to remove you accordingly should a complain be listed regarding your personal hygiene.
  37. Always be kind and humble towards the Airplane Staff! Chance is that they will be at your service notably faster on request. Your good behaviour will be noted, especially if you are a frequent flier making use of specific Airline Companys.

The image on top of Blog Post by Airport Terminal Operations Ltd – Mauritius

Videos linked via youtube.com

• Read our past Blog Post on European Driving Licence’s within Namibia

• Read our past Blog Post on Namibian Border crossing via a rental Vehicle

 

14 of Namibia’s outstanding local Products

We at Hippo Adventure Tours love Namibia and support local Namibian Businesses who go through great efforts to manufacture outstanding Namibian Products. For all Holidaymakers and Visitors spending some time within our beautiful country, we would love to share some of these Products. Keep an eye out for these Items and judge for yourself. One will notice that all these Brands supply great Products which can stand up to International Competitors. Something locals are very proud of.

So, without further due, here is our first listing, hand selected by the Hippo Adventure Tour’s Team:

     + Choice No.1 – Namibia Dairy Products

Do you know the difference between Oshikandela Plain and Nammilk Omaere Plain?  Oshikandela is a smooth low-fat drinking yoghurt that can be used as a complete meal replacement all on its own. Omaere is a full-cream cultured milk known for its high nutritional value. It is a brilliant source of nutrients for the entire family and a healthy choice to use as a mix for breakfast, cereal and pap* (*Pap – a cooked maize porridge generally consumed all throughout Namibia). This Product is packed in bright coloured Dairy Containers with traditional African design elements, very hard to overlook on the shelves. Generally available at most general Retailers all throughout Namibia.

• Generally, Prices for a 2 Litre container roam around N$47,99.

Manufacturer: Nammilk

     + Choice No.2 – Cold Cuts and fresh Meat Supplies

Love your Cold Cuts or not sure where to get trusted Meat Products? Namibia’s biggest butchery enterprise is at your doorstep for trusted offerings. Hartlief has been committed to providing and manufacturing quality products not only for the Namibian Market but also border-crossing. Hartlief hasn’t changed its processes in this time and continues to produce premium meat the same way it always has. Time and tradition is the secret behind this family-oriented business for the last 70 years. Their Head office / Butchery located in Windhoek offers a comfortable Rooftop Bistro and a fully stocked On-Site Retail Shop for Walk-In Customers, selling both individual Items and Bulk. Some of their Range Items include Ham’s, Spread’s, diverse Salamis, Sausages and a great offering on Bulk Meat options.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

More Information: Hartlief Website 

     + Choice No.3 – Namibian Beer

Namibia’s premium quality range of Beer’s are well known for being an all natural Product, brewed using only the finest imported ingredients. The complete Product palette delivers a refreshing taste profile for the social drinking occasion. We can almost guarantee Visitors in Namibia that you will cross these Beverages throughout your stay here. Produced by the Namibia Breweries Company located in Windhoek, one can say that most of the Range is highly refreshing beer products. Beers like the known “Draught range” can be found on tap at selected outlets, as well as in the unique ‘big’ 450ml nonreturnable pack – ideal for any outdoor occasion or any social gathering. Some Product Range listings include Tafel Lager, Windhoek Lager, Windhoek Draught, Windhoek Light, the newly added “Camelthorn” Range and many more. Did you know that Namibia Breweries respects and cherishes the 1516 Reinheitsgebot method of brewing up to this day? Just like mentioned inside their branding: “Made of the Right Stuff”.

• Generally, a 440ml Can of Windhoek Draught sells for about N$20,00.

More Information: Namibia Breweries Company Website

     + Choice No.4 – Namibia Diamonds

Everybody knows Namibia has a long ongoing History regarding superior Diamonds (read our past Blogs for more Info). The company Hard Stone Processing aka. “HSP” processes rough diamonds from various De Beers owned mines, including Botswana, South Africa, Namibia and Canada. Namibian All rough sources are from ethically responsible suppliers and HSP guarantees the highest level of corporate standards to its clients. This company produces classic brilliant cut diamonds branded with ‘Cut in Namibia’, to distinguish them as ethically responsible Namibian products. Raw Diamonds handled via HSP are polished and cut to triple-excellent standard, to meet the global standard for top cut high-quality diamonds. Should you buy some Jewellery throughout your stay in Namibia which includes Diamonds, there is a high possibility that those Gemstones have been handled via HSP.

More Information: Hard Stone Processing Namibia Website

• Would you like to know more about Namibian Gemstones?

     + Choice No.5 – Namibia Wines

If you are a Wine connoisseur than don’t ignore this one! It’s not just only Stellenbosh and France where the best Wines are being bottled. Situated in Omaruru, the Erongo Mountain Winery can be found. At 1200 meters above sea level, situated along the Omaruru river and surrounded by the beautiful rugged mountains of the Erongo region (Namibia) this Winery produces a Range of Wines which can take on any International Wineries. Wines from the Erongo Mountain Winery are trailblazing, together with the innovative boutique winery is pioneering the Namibian wine industry one Vintage after another. Their Collection to keep an eye out for include Ohamba, Namibian Kiss, Krantzberg, Etosha Blend, Chenin Blanc. Our personal recommendation would be the Etosha Blend, a depth of Shiraz spice and sweet fruit complements the Cabernet Sauvignon’s boldness and dark berry flavours. To add a small Insider Tip, try to get hold of their renowned “Devilsclaw Apperativ” (available inside the Hippo’s Shop), made purely from the Devilsclaw (Latin classification: Harpagophytum) which outranks Europe’s “Jägermeister” by miles! In our humble opinion, the delivery of this Product regarding their Bottle Design deserves a Red Dot Design Award. Rumour has it, apparently extracts from this ingenious plant has been used by Namibian indigenous Tribes as a very successful natural medicinal heart remedy (?).

• We stock many of their Products within our Hippo Adventure Tours Shop.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

• Like to know more about Namibian medicinal Plants?

More additional Products from this Namibia Distillery are available and can be reviewed here. 

     + Choice No.6 – Namibian Olive Products

Who doesn’t love good quality Olive Products? No matter from quality Namibian Olive Oil up to Olives packed in Brine. These Products contain no additives whatsoever, compared to commercial Products which usually are loaded with dodgy preservatives. The olives from the Ruheleben Olive Farm, located at the Namibian Coast are popular with the locals and Visitors alike. Also, hence the superior quality of these Namibian Olive Products are used in many of the local Namibian restaurants. Green and black olives are handpicked and sorted for the curing and bottling process. From raw fruit to the packaged product is a long process, very labour intensive in order to put the emphasis on a superior quality. A range of Products free from strange commercially used chemical additives. As they say, quality takes time and special attentional care.

Have a look here for more Information on Namibia Olive Products 

     + Choice No.7 – Namibian Plant Cosmetics

Yes, Namibia Produces Cosmetics! Ever heard about “!Nara”? The !Nara plant, also called !Nara melon or !Nara fruit which belongs to the botanical family of pumpkin plants. The scientific name is formerly known as Acanthosicyos horridus. This species of Plant is a thorny shrub that is endemic in the Namib Desert and only grows in the dunes along Namibia’s Kuiseb river bed. The nurturing and healing properties gained from the Oils of the !Nara plant has been known to the indigenous people of Namibia for centuries. For the !Nara cosmetic products, the dried !Nara seeds are cold pressed in a special, patented spiral press without the use of solvents or other additives. Body Oils, soothing Night Creams and Deo Creams are some of their available Cosmetic choices.

Complete details about these Namibia Cosmetics can be found here.

• If you like medicinal Plants have a look at one of our previous Post’s here

     + Choice No.8 – Namibia Canned Products

The fishing Enterprise, Etosha Fishing, offers Atlantic mackerel in a can. This one is specifically selected by Hippo’s for our Backpacker Guests. The value addition of horse mackerel in a Can, Namibia’s favourite national fish product, branded as “Efuta Maasbanker canned product range” are offered in three flavours namely tomato, chilli and salt water. This is a truly Namibian product “dressed” in the traditional bright magenta coloured label, and get’s its name from one of the indigenous languages meaning “from the ocean”. The product is not only available in Namibia, but is also generally available throughout southern Africa. Expect to see it on the shelves.

• Depending on location, expect Prices of N$20,00 and up. Great buy!

Have a complete look at the entire canned Fish Product Range available

• Also, read this Blog Post about Namibian Atlantic Deep Sea Trawling

• An Anglers Paradise here in Namibia (fresh water)

     + Choice No.10 – Namibian Gin

Did you know a nice glass of Gin and Tonic is a good preventative for Malaria? The quinine found inside tonic water is what really helps the prevention of malaria. It has a bitter taste hence which it is complemented by the addition of gin. That’s the reason why British colonialists in India started to drink the combo in the first place. Stillhouse Gin is a true spirit from Namibia’s Atlantic Coastline. Distilled using 14 botanicals inside Stillhouse’s Gin recipe, 10 plants are being foraged locally throughout Namibia. Careful choices have been made regarding their choice of organically grown citrus, free from pesticides or chemical fertilisers. Tiny batches of this Product are Distilled in-house making each bottle of aromatic Stillhouse Gin a masterpiece with an individual finish to create a unique work of uniqueness and taste. When it comes to rare liqueurs, add this one to the list.

• Prices range generally around N$450,00 and higher.

Would you like to know more about Namibian Gin? 

     + Choice No.11 – Namibian Poultry

There is nothing better than some spicy chicken on a braai (BBQ). Namibia produces and offers some outstanding poultry food products available throughout all of Namibia. Namib Poultry, located just outside Windhoek in the direction of Okahandja puts great emphasis when it comes to our chickens. Once again for Namibian Company’s, high value for chemically free, organic processing is on top of the line. Unlike frozen Products imported from South Africa, this Company is ensuring optimum freshness!

• Pre-packed and supplied via General Retailers, expect a weighed Price range around N$60,00 per kilo.

• Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

See where this Poultry Product comes from

     + Choice No.12 – Namibian Firestarters (Hippo’s favourite Product choice)

We all love a good campfire or braai (BBQ). So why use petroleum products when there is a better alternative? Here is our choice for one of our favourite Namibian Products. Omuriro is a fairly new Product available on the Namibian Market. Omuriro which translates as “Fire” in the native Otjiherero language is Namibia’s finest all natural firelighters. Completely made from the toughest hardwood brush trees found throughout southern Africa. Nothing compares to this Namibian product made entirely from the renewable Acacia Black Thorn. All Self-Driver Guest’s, Hikers and Camper’s should make sure to include this one inside their Gear.

Hippo’s choice Award reasoning: Although all the listed Products and suppliers listed here are Top of the Range, why does this Product get to receive our Company Product choice Award? Omuriro firestarters represent the true essence of a natural, hands-down stunning Product. For a type of “Result producing surplus” which in general get’s destroyed via burning, a lot of effort, labour and down to earth thought went into this beautiful item. Don’t be fooled by its professional Package Design! If you are an Individual who respects Nature and the Earth as a whole, you will know exactly what we are raving about. Each individual “burning Stick” is self-explanatory, where one becomes aware of the fact that this Product has been put together based on a design concept which seems simple. Nevertheless, on a deeper insight into this Item, the historical history of mankind as such so with reveals itself. Showing humble properties on methods which have been used through the ages, even before daily petroleum-based competitor products available these days. We would just like to note that this Company is not just using selected invader Bush and 90% natural ingredients, but they also have a unique employment scheme for our fellow Namibians. So with, they do help people in rural areas with high unemployment like Omaruru location, Kalkfeld and Omatjete to become Entrepreneurs and even employ others. Furthermore, they do deliver Tooling and Material and collect monthly what has been produced (Complete Firelighters or components). It is very encouraging to see how this undertaking has a very positive impact already. Additionally, they employ 10 Individuals inside the factory in Omaruru Town, which for a new manufacturing establishment is very commendable. Respekt!

• Available for round about N$29,00 at selected locations. Also available inside our Shop, when in Stock!

Ideal for your next Potjie (click for details) !!!

More details on these Firestarters can be found here

     + Choice No.13 – Namibia dried Meat Snacks

You thought we gonna leave out Biltong, didn’t you? For those of you who don’t know Biltong, it can be compared almost to America’s favourite Snack known as “Jerky”. Most people unfamiliar with Biltong soon learn to love this Food Item and just can’t help reaching for a little more from the snack bowl. And while everything is good in moderation, biltong is one of the better snacks to enjoy. Visitors will come across this Product all over throughout their Safari at General Retailers, Service Stations or Potjies* (7/11 Portuguese Retailers) who always have Biltong Stocked. Different Ranges include Chilli Bites, Rangers, Droewors (same like Biltong just in Sausage Form), Wheels, Stokkies and many, many more. The Okahandja located Enterprise “Closwa” is a consistent supplier of this much-loved Snack.

• Expect to pay around a minimum of N$95,00 per kilo, depending on Type, flavour, size and location of purchase.

One of Namibia’s biggest commercial suppliers of packaged Biltong

     + Choice No.14 – Namibia Leather Products

If you want to buy a fashion item which last’s a lifetime than we at Hippo’s can only recommend the Products manufactured at Nakara. Given the extensive range of raw materials with all different properties on their own, the many processes developed over time leather making is highly versatile and leather manufacturers can produce qualities with widely varied properties and looks. Nakara produces a wide range of natural leather garments, ostrich bags, belts, wallets, coats, purses, handbags selective from a wide selection of game skins (Oryx, Springbok, Kudu, Zebra,). Products are sold at Nakara’s boutiques in Swakopmund, Windhoek and Nakara Factory Shop Windhoek. No pleather anywhere around here! They also offer custom tailored Masterpieces on request.

Check out Nakara’s craftsmanship leather Products here.

Something extra (Choice No.9 – Branding) – Hippo Adventure Tour’s small insider Tip:

Take a look out for Products branded with the Team Namibia Logo. This show’s that it’s purely approved and quality inspected Namibian Goods. You can be ensured that they will be good for you.

Details on Team Namibia available here

Although there are a whole bunch of manufacturers and producers available throughout Namibia who supply superior products, unfortunately, we can’t list everyone in this Post. Nevertheless, we want you to watch this Space as we are going to list more inside an upcoming Post in near future. We lovingly ask our Namibian Guest’s to visit the above-listed Company’s and/or purchase and try their Products should you come across them. At Hippo’s we are committed to support and promote all Namibian suppliers who enable us to get hold of their well-respected offerings. In essence, as we preach here at Hippo’s: “Don’t just be a Tourist in Namibia, – experience Namibia”.

Also, read about our choice of 26 reviewed Restaurants in Windhoek here.

Click this link for a complete List of Top Products Exported by Namibia

Image rights: Photos owned by each mentioned Producer

 

A Haunted, Abandoned German Village In The Namib Desert

It’s one thing to “happen upon” an abandoned colonial town, but it’s another thing entirely when it’s an abandoned German-style mining village — in the Namib Desert.

Urban adventurers and explorers who are making their way to Kolmanskop, an old diamond mining town that was deserted in 1954 and is now filled with dune sand and, supposedly, haunted spirits. Kolmanskop’s uniquely Jugendstil German architecture makes its hospital, casino and theatre stand out and an extremely rare global destination.

Ghost Town in Desert

Kolmanskop’s History:

Situated only 15 km east of the harbour town of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop used to be a tiny colonial railway station in 1908, when the railway between Keetmanshoop and Lüderitz was built. As far as legend has it the station derived its name from a Nama man named Coleman, who got stuck at the site with his ox waggon and consequently died of thirst and dehydration. Back then, travelling from Windhoek to Lüderitz via Oxcart was a massive undertaking – taking approximately 14 to 29 days.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

In 1908 the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a shiny stone and took it to the chief railway foreman August Stauch. Herr Stauch had been stationed at the station “Grasplatz” with the instruction to keep the railway line clear of the all surrounding masses of Namib dune sand. He was a self-taught mineralogist and had advised his workers to collect any unique stones they might come across and show them to him for further analysis. Herr Stauch instantly assumed that the Rock Sample of Lewala to be a diamond, which was later confirmed, after the stone had been examined and thoroughly analysed by his friend and future partner Söhnke Nissen, an educated mining engineer. Stauch and Nissen did not shout their find from the rooftops, but instead quit their jobs and secured claims of 75 km² at Kolmanskop. They successfully continued their search for diamonds further down the line.

Africa, Namibia, Kolmanskop, entrance board of the ghost town

Nevertheless, the occurrence of Namibia diamonds did not stay hidden for long and soon a real diamond fever developed after the News spread across Europe. Big crowds, hordes and mining enthusiasts of diamond seekers and adventurers moved to Namibia and settled throughout Kolmanskop. As a result, within two years at a rapid speed, an unparalleled town developed. Following, a few years which started as a small Rail station, back then the new colonial town Kolmanskop became the richest town in Africa and one of the richest towns known to man. The thereby developed infrastructure was unmatched at the time; as from 1911 the town had electric power, luxurious stone houses, a casino, a hospital, a school, an ice factory to produce ice for fridges, a sport-hall and bowling alley, a theater, a ballroom, a salt-water swimming pool and much more although less than 400 people lived here. Apparently, the very first bathtubs were first introduced in Namibia, all exported from Hamburg via the Woermann Linie.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

Noteworthy is that the hospital had the first x-ray medical apparatus in southern Africa installed. Rumour has it that this equipment also probably served to control workers, who might have swallowed diamonds (?)*.

In 1908 no more claims were granted and the southern coastal strip was declared highly Restricted Diamond area. Diamond mining at Kolmanskop was industrialized and the diamond-yielding gravel was treated, washed and inspected in large factories. Predictions from 10 tons of sand only one to two carats of diamonds have been mined.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)

With this method, 1 ton of diamonds was mined until the first World War. With the outbreak of the war in 1914 the production was nearly zero and with the loss of the German colony the German Era of diamond mining came to an end and was taken over by South Africa where Walvisbaai became the first Mandatsgebiet

Kolmanskop – Open Doors

In 1928 profitable prospecting sites were discovered south of Lüderitz all the way up to Oranjemund and as the deposits around Kolmanskop were nearing depletion the mining activities were discontinued resulting that until 1938 all machinery was taken south. The town was left to its own reckoning and the Namib desert claimed its lost territory back. The last inhabitant left Kolmanskop between 1956 and 1960.

Pictures of a desolate ghost town at Kolmanskop Namibia. (Photo by Hoberman/UIG via Getty Images)
Kolmanskop open door
Room of requirement

Links:

 

Video Kolmanskop, Haunted, Abandoned German Village Namibia (Narrated in German):

Video Kolmanskop, Haunted, Abandoned German Village Namibia (no Narration – Notice: Editor added a silly scare-prank!):

More Information on Kolmanskop (click here)

 

Namibia Tourism Expo 2018

Since its origination in 1999 , the Republic of Namibia Tourism exhibition has systematically fully grown and has earned an outstanding name for providing the sole centralized promoting platform for Namibia’s tourism trade. aside from presenting a extremely effective showcase for Exhibitors active in commercial enterprise, the organizers have revitalized the exhibition year after year by increasing the showcase.

The 20th annual Namibia touristy exhibition, hosted by Namibia Media Holdings, materialized at the Windhoek Show Grounds with a large quantity of individuals disbursement each day, tasting wine, new establishment showcasing, product and land developments and enjoying performances by local teams and/or artists. Expected where over 20,000 Visitors.

The Expo was held past weekend from the 30th May till 2nd of June at the Windhoek Showgrounds. One highlight of the event saw ‘the most traveled man in Africa’, Kingsley Holgate, stop by and share camping adventures with listeners. Also celebrity Chefs from South Africa and Namibia where showing of their culinary skills inside the Mopane Hall (Chef Benny Masekwameng, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, Chef Nicolas van der Walt and Chef Sanet Prinsloo).

The collection celebrated its 20th birthday underneath the theme ‘community’, bringing together locals and tourists at the four−day affair.

“To offer a platform for the Namibian Tourism trade is to push and market their merchandise and services to all or any concerned within the trade moreover as the general public.”

Namibia tourism Expo was a prestigious and mega event organized by the Republikein and supported by the Namibian tourist as well as the Tourism Organizations and its facilitators. This event aims to supply a platform for the hosting trade of Namibia by promoting and selling their merchandise and services among potential customers and trade leaders. Namibia tourism Expo has a superb reputation of providing the sole centralized selling platform for the hospitality industry in Namibia. By displaying the merchandise and services regarding travel and overall summary, this collection can draw the eye of travel enthusiasts from everywhere of the globe. The Namibia tourism Expo has lasted a period of 4 days. Demonstrations of the innovative merchandise will create this event a more valuable exhibition and a lot of popularity among the tourism enthusiasts.

Also worth mentioning is the great involvement of the Motor Industry taking stronghold inside this Event. Mazda, Volvo, Volkswagen, Mahindra, Ford, Mercedes, MAN, Hyundai, Suzuki where some of the Manufactures present, displaying their newest Vehicles. A great crowd pleaser has been the unveiling of the new Mercedes X-Class (click for details).

Key sponsors where Old Mutual Namibia and First National Bank Namibia.

For more details about Namibias Tourism Expo click here.

Click here for a short News Post by Team Namibia.