Three new self‐drive travel routes in Namibia were officially launched last week, funneling attention across the lesser known areas of the country.
The three routes consist of:
1. Omulunga Palm Route (northern part of Namibia)
2. Arid Eden Route (stretches from Swakopmund ot the Angolan border, and includes the previously restricted western area of Etosha
3. Four Rivers Route (named after the rivers it travels along, namely the Zambezi, Okavango, Kwando and Chobe Rivers).
The launch took place in Windhoek, and was officiated by Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, Honourable Pohamba Shifeta.
The development of the routes was funded by the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia (MCA‐N) Tourism Project in support of the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) to diversify tourism products in the country, create sustainability and direct tourists to communal areas.
Officially launching the routes, Shifeta said, “this is a step forward in sustaining these routes and I want to encourage, in particular, the Car Rental Association, Tour Operators and Hospitality Association of Namibia to render their support and enter into partnership agreements in drawing more and more tourists to these routes.”
Handing over the maps and logos for the newly developed routes to NTB, MCA‐N Chief Executive Officer Penny Akwenye emphasised that, “tourists have been coming to Namibia, but had little chance to experience the rich cultural, historic and scenic attractions in the rural hinterland, but know they will be able to do so with clearly designed maps and various tour operators indicated.”
Tourists have mainly visited the more popular landmarks of Namibia and only a few adventurers have dared to leave the the beaten track to explore the hidden treasures along the dusty and long winding roads in the hinterland.
Since the conservancy concept caught on in Namibia, some conservancies were not fully integrated into well-known and marketed routes as an attractive package for tourists.
This is why the NTB requested for the development of tourism routes under the MCA Namibia Compact that take these jewels of Namibia’s beauty into consideration. The aim is to tie‐up rural attractions,
especially the attractions in and around conservancies, into route packages to pull tourists to remote areas to boost the revenue of rural communities.
MCA‐N invested US$ 8 million (N$85 million) into marketing Namibia as a viable tourism destination through various initiatives like the North American Destination Marketing Campaign (NADM), the Online Marketing Campaign (OMC), the development of an interactive NTB website and the development and marketing of these three new local and regional tourism routes.