Infrastructure maintenance challenges tourism ministry

12 October 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The tourism ministry continued to face major infrastructure development and maintenance of protected areas challenges during 2019/2020.

According to the ministry's annual progress report for 2019/2020, given the shortage of financial resources, it shifted its focus to maximising the use of its own internal staff and resources to maintain and develop infrastructure. A new approach known as the 'Friends of the Parks Programme' was also established in 2019/2020 to mobilise support from donors, the private sector and other stakeholders so that national parks are run and managed according to the highest possible standards, the report said.

A new ministry office was also constructed in Lüderitz and new signage was developed in Tsau //Khaeb.

“Through the development budget, a contractor was appointed to renovate 15 staff houses at Onyoka and Okatjikona in Waterberg Plateau Park, of which eight houses were finalised and renovations for the remaining seven is scheduled for completion during 2020/2021.”

The report said the finalisation of construction and remedial works of the ministry's sub-divisional office, garage and staff houses at Impalila Island was also undertaken.

The completion of all project activities was achieved last August and handed over to the ministry.

According to the report, a three-year action plan for the construction and repair of the Etosha National Park fence was developed and approved by Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the electrification of the 20km section of game-proof fence for the Waterberg fence was finalised. This is critical to prevent the escape of buffalo into the adjacent farmland.

Routine fencing work was also conducted in all protected areas by ministry staff, especially where damages were caused by elephants and warthogs. De-bushing of fences also took place routinely, and ministry staff assisted with patrolling, repairing and clearing fences around conservancy core areas.



Poor roads

The report further noted that roads are in extremely poor condition in several protected areas, especially in Etosha and Namib Naukluft Park.

This results in an increased of tourist road accidents. It said a notable development was the regrading of over 200km of the road network in Etosha with the assistance of private companies. The rehabilitation of the 18.1km Okaukuejo-Otjozovazandu road in Etosha was also successfully completed during June 2019. This was identified as one of the roads that was in the worst condition.

Given the severe drought of last year, there was significant focus on the maintenance and development of new water infrastructure in protected areas. Normal water installation, trough and reservoir maintenance, upgrading from windmill to solar installations, water point protection, repairs and cleaning continued as usual in all protected areas.

In Etosha, Auib (Namutoni area) and Nou-Obes and Tsam (Halali area), boreholes were fitted with solar installations to create additional water sources for wildlife and to help take pressure off other areas.

In central Etosha, Elandtrek and Sonderkop South, boreholes were commissioned.

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