Camping Car Hire was the first privately owned car-rental company in Namibia.
Compiled by Marita van Rooyen
How it all started: Way back, in 1991, Andy and Angelika Rechter helped a certain German couple on safari in Namibia with the mechanical problems they experienced with their old Land Rover. The Rechters promised to organise a proper tour for them, with a proper car, should they one day return to Namibia. The Rechters kept to their promise and in 1992 bought a second-hand beige Toyota 4×4 single cab. “In those years the market for car rentals was really small. And without the Internet, we had to build up a business purely through word of mouth.”
What happened along the way: In 2000 Andy passed away tragically in a high-jacking incident. Angelika took the leap of faith and kept on running the business ‘as usual’. “At that stage I didn’t have the faintest idea how to remove a screw from the wheel, let alone anything about the inner workings of a car.” But Freddie Dobson, former salesperson at Nissan, entered the scene and became the unsung hero, teaching Angelika all the ins and outs she needed to know about vehicles. And to this day, 99% of the Camping Car Hire fleet consists of Nissan vehicles.
In 2010, the Rechters’ daughter, Angela, returned to Namibia after 10 years in Cape Town, where she studied for a diploma in Travel and Tourism and later worked as a travel consultant and African Travel Specialist. She joined the family business and expanded it with a Tour Facilitator section. “We now offer our clients a full package, from car rentals to booking accommodation and individual tour planning.”
The biggest challenge: For Angelika the major challenge was to show others that a woman could do a man’s job, especially in the car-rental business. “It was really difficult to upgrade the fleet every year, since initially I didn’t have a clue about cars.”
MY NAMIBIA: Angelika’s favourite getaway is Swakopmund, “…where you can just sit next to the ocean, take in the peaceful atmosphere, and relax.”
This milestone was originally published in Travel News Namibia Autumn 2013 print edition.