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Otjiwa Safari Lodge has a pretty new face following a complete makeover. This well-known tourist facility near Otjiwarongo has been completely transformed from a budget facility for local families to an upmarket safari lodge for international hunting clients.
On a beautiful summer’s morning in October, after a heavy rainstorm, Namibia’s Prime Minister, Tourism Minister, Ohlthaver & List Executive Chairman and representatives of the Namibian press witnessed the unveiling of the plaque at the main building on a hill with a 270-degree view over the savannah.
All the speakers quoted WTTO figures which had recently impressed and inspired Namibia’s tourism industry, national leadership and business sector by proving for the first time that tourism contributes substantially to foreign earnings and job creation in Namibia. Sven Thieme said the report made ‘dazzling and unexpected predictions’. Prime Minister Angula said that if we brand Namibia correctly, we could make the WTTO predictions a reality.
Namibia’s travel and tourism industry currently accounted for approximately N$6.8 billion, 16 per cent of the total GDP, sustaining over 70 000 jobs. “Estimates state that capital investment into tourism will amount to N$1.3 billion this year,” said Thieme.
Otjiwa Safari Lodge forms part of the Namib Sun Hotels portfolio, which is a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List group of companies. During 2005 the new accommodation facility was developed at a cost of N$3.5 million, increasing the total investment to over N$20 million. “Otjiwa has always been a unique, naturally endowed establishment with lots of potential,” Thieme told the guests. “It has been developed into a stylish hunting destination offering a diversity of game species for the trophy market.”
The chic new accommodation facility is a far cry from the product Otjiwa guests were offered in the past. The decoration and design of the chalets create a distinct, but stylishly elegant African ambience. The five air-conditioned chalets, positioned sufficiently far apart not to spoil each other’s panoramic view, offer double en-suite accommodation.
Game species galore
Otjiwa was one of the first places in Namibia to be involved in the rhino custodianship programme managed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to relocate black rhino from state-owned parks to private land. Besides rhino, 24 game species can be encountered on game drives and leisurely walks. The big earth dam has always been a well-known bird-watching spot for dedicated birders.
This article was originally featured in the Travel News Summer Dec 06 / January 2007 printed edition.