Nothing unusual about camping at Shark Island – ministry

09 November 2021 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

The tourism ministry has rejected reports that Namibia Wildlife Resort’s (NWR) Shark Island campsite, located in Lüderitz, is built on top of a gravesite and that physical alterations were made to the site.

This follows an uproar on social media after the campsite reopened on 1 November, with some Namibians rubbed the wrong way by an announcement that the facility was taking bookings again.

They questioned how a former concentration camp could be used as vacation accommodation.

Shark Island was Namibia's first large-scale concentration camp, where close to 1 800 Nama prisoners arrived in September 1906, including Cornelius Frederick, one of the strongest Nama military leaders.

We consulted

Ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said there is nothing unusual about having guest facilities at a historic site.

“It is a practice done all around the world.”

He said NWR did not alter the original design of the infrastructure or build anything new on Shark Island or on top of the graveyard, as it is being alleged.

“However, Shark Island being a tourism attraction, NWR undertook renovations to the guest facilities such as the ablution blocks and the light house to improve the visitor experience. These improvements were done in consultation with the National Heritage Council of Namibia.”

“We should allow visitors to visit Shark Island and, if so, there must be guest facilities and the place must create some local employment and provide some corresponding activities to generate some revenues for its upkeep,” he said.

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