Michael !Goreseb Namibia Wildlife Resorts snake handler

Michael !Goreseb showing one of the snakes he recently caught 

Windhoek, 9 June 2021 – The mere mention of the word snake sends chills up some people’s spines, however for Mr Micheal !Goreseb, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) Limited snake handler, these species fascinate him. Having worked at NWR’s Namutoni resort for the past 14 years and recently relocated to Okaukuejo resort in the last two months, Mr !Goreseb has come into contact with all types of snakes over the years.

 

Mr !Goreseb is originally from Otjiwarongo; however, he grew up and schooled in Tsumeb, where his mother moved to when he was younger. He got introduced to snake handling from an early age by his grandfather, who was also a snake handler. As he grew older, he continued sharpening his skills, thereby making it easier for him to catch all types of snakes.

 

Michael !Goreseb with his snake handling equipment

 

“When I was a young boy, I started to catch these venomous snakes and all other types of snakes. That’s how I got into catching snakes,” says Mr !Goreseb. He further adds that “when one catches a snake, one should release back into the wild. This helps maintain the ecosystem. However, if you kill it, you will disturb the ecosystem”.

 

Over the years, he has gotten better at identifying the different types of snakes to the extent that he sometimes allows some of them to bite him, but he is quick to add that “I know the differences between the different types of snakes, so I’m always trying not to be bitten by the venomous ones but the mild venomous ones. Because when they bite you, the spot that would have been bitten will swell up and subsides after a few days”.

 

Michael !Goreseb showing a snake bite on his palm

 

When he recalls the most venomous snake that he has caught, the black mamba comes to mind. Thus far, he has caught three black mambas, with the latest one being 3.6m long. His future plans are to grow in his profession to the point that he is recognised throughout the country as one of the best snake handlers around.

NWR seeks to partner with Social Media Influencers

Mufaro Nesongano – NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager

 

Windhoek, 23 May 2021 – According to the statistical website, Napoleoncat, in April 2021, Namibia had 782 000 Facebook users, which accounted for 28.3% of its entire population and 320 700 Instagram users, which accounted for 11.6% of its entire population. Individuals between the ages of 25 – 34 years formed the majority of these users. To create awareness of its facilities to this age group and others, Namibia Wildlife Resort (NWR) Limited is inviting Social Media Influencers to be part of its first-ever Social Media Influencer Program from 1 July 2021 up to 31 October 2021.

 

Over the years, NWR has seen how social media has become an essential part of how travellers decide on their next destination. For instance, if one sees a social media influencer posting about a particular destination, as an individual, it’s normal to become curious about this place they are posting about.

TUNACOR donates 716 Kg of Fish to NWR Hospitality Institute

Mr Peya Hitula (Tunacor Chief Executive Officer) handing over the donated Fish to Ms Upahee Kasete (NWR Swakopmund Senior Sales Consultant)

 

Windhoek, 9 May 2021 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited Hospitality Institute (NWR Hi) recently received a donation of 122 cartons of fish valued at N$ 20 000 from Tunacor. The donation from Tunacor is aimed at supporting the newly established NWR Hospitality Institute students in their culinary arts experiential learning training.

 

Some of the students standing with cartons of fish that Tunacor donated

 

Receiving the donation in Swakopmund, Ms Upahee Kasete, NWR Swakopmund Senior Sales Consultant, said that “we are very grateful to have a reputable organisation such as Tunacor being our first industry sponsor partner in the area of fish culinary arts specialisation. Tunacor should be assured that this donation will enrichen our students in getting first-hand practical Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)”.

 

Mr Simon Williams, NWR TVET Apprenticeship, Hospitality & Tourism Trainer, and the entire NWR Hi Team were extremely excited and grateful at this latest development. Since the inception of the institute, NWR Hi has looked at partnering with the industry to find ways for collaboration. “Thus, this donation from Tunacor speaks to this sort of partnership that we have been looking for. Through this donation, our students will derive maximum value from their practical lessons. Therefore, we would like to call on other organisations to emulate Tunacor’s example by partnering with NWR Hi”.

NWR holds AGM amidst Covid-19 storm

 

Windhoek, 2 May 2021 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 29 April 2021 in compliance with the Public Enterprise Act 2019 (Act 1 of 2019). During the AGM, the Shareholder was represented by the Minister of Public Enterprise Honourable Leon Jooste and the newly introduced Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism Honourable Heather Sibungo.

 

In presenting its results to the Shareholder, NWR Chairman Ambassador Leonard Iipumbu said, “during the financial year 2019/20, we faced our greatest challenges as an organization. The significant milestone of our first-ever profit of N$ 22 million since the establishment of the organization and other financial gains made in 2018/2019 were wiped out due to Covid-19”. However, to sustain its operations which resulted in it not retrenching or reducing its employees’ salaries except for its Board’s allowances and Senior Management salaries, NWR needed to be innovative to survive.

 

“Therefore, we were the first organization to offer our establishments to the Government as isolation facilities. We must say this was an arrangement few tourism companies were looking at during that period. Additionally, we paid special attention to our domestic market, which resulted in us offering a discounted rate of N$ 600 per room from May up until September 2020. That was a significant discount on our normal rack rates. Through this effort, we were able to keep the business going and provide a much-needed service to the nation. We also launched a new tour package that we envision will be one of the cornerstones of our future,” says Ambassador Iipumbu.

 

From a cost-cutting perspective, NWR signed a Memorandum of Understanding with NAPWU. The MOU resolved, amongst others, to suspend salary increments for the financial period 2019/20, suspend normal overtime, Sunday and public holiday payments, and other allowances and benefits with effect from 27 March 2020. Additionally, it also resolved to place a moratorium on external recruitments to ensure that the company’s wage bill remained manageable. NWR also introduced a voluntary separation initiative, which 130 staff members took up. These efforts were aimed at helping it reduce its employee costs.

 

NWR Managing Director, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, noted that “during the period under review, the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Hospitality Institute (NWR Hi) was successfully established. In collaboration with the National Training Authority (NTA), NWR’s training arm, NWR Hi, was operationalized in 2020 and apprenticeship scholarships were awarded to 80 apprentices sourced from all of Namibia’s 14 regions for the period 2020 – 2023”.

 

Furthermore, in appreciating the role the media played during the financial year, Dr Ngwangwama stated that “the negative media reports that characterized us in the past, also significantly reduced under review. A positive media tonality index (positive media reports exceeding negative reports) was achieved in 2020. At one stage, the company was ranked in the 6th place in terms of positive media coverage in 2020 by NamMedia monitoring agency during the year”.

 

On his part, Honourable Jooste thanked the company Board and management for having done relatively well in coping with the disastrous effects of Covid-19 on the company in relation to industry trends.

NWR reimagines its Mobile Application

 

Windhoek, 20 April 2021 – One cannot dismiss the impact technology has had or continues to have in most people’s way of life. As an organisation, Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) has consistently improved its Apple iOS and Android phone application, which it originally launched in 2015. For instance, with the previous update, NWR included clients’ ability to check availability, make their bookings at any of the NWR establishments, and apply for an NWR discount card (Namleisure card).

 

Thus, to further add more value to those who have the mobile application on their phones, NWR has added a new feature that allows its clients to scan and store their NWR discount card (Namleisure card) on their NWR phone application. Additionally, users of the application will be able to view their card benefits and be reminded when their card needs to be renewed.

 

“After launching our revamped website late last year, which we built from the ground up, we felt that our mobile application required to give more value to our clients equally. Therefore, aside from allowing users to make bookings and view our resorts, we believe this new addition to scan and store your Namleisure card on your phone will ensure that our clients always have their card with them. Additionally, clients will now be able to get a calendar notification when their card is up for renewal,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorship Manager.

 

With the customer-centric philosophy that NWR has adopted, the reimaging of its mobile application is one way it is looking at making it easier to avail its services to its clients. “With our recently launched call centre and now our mobile application, we are geared towards giving our clients the best possible service we can offer. Therefore, our customers should expect more innovations coming from our side, and equally, we are working towards improving on things they have mentioned to us to make them continue supporting us,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

/Ai-/Ais Hotsprings and Spa set to open soon

 

Windhoek, 7 April 2021 – On 11 January 2021, Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) closed its /Ai-/Ais Hotsprings and Spa after it experienced flash floods that resulted in the rivers along the resort overflowing, causing damage to the resort and its campsites. NWR had initially anticipated the rehabilitation work on the resort being finalised before 1 April 2021. However, due to ongoing internal processes, the resort will remain closed until 30 April 2021 and is set to open on 1 May 2021.

 

NWR is cognisant of the number of travellers that frequent the resort, especially those that undertake the Fish River Canyon Hike. “This is why our internal team has conducted minor renovations to some of the areas with the limited resources at our disposal. It is just unfortunate that the camping sites were badly affected and will thus remain closed once we open,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

 

Furthermore, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director, states that “we greatly appreciate the understanding of our guests who had their bookings moved to later periods. We, however, are working hard internally to have the areas that we can fix done before we welcome them from 1 May 2021. At the same time, we will continue with the internal processes to finalise the rest at a later period,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

NWR increases customer focus

 

Windhoek, 28 March 2021Just over a year ago, Namibia, along with the rest of the world, was confronted by the devastating impact of Covid-19. During this period, the tourism sector was one of the hardest-hit sectors. Being the sector that Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) solely operates in, the company was forced to look at innovative ways to sustain its business over this period up to date. This situation presented an opportunity for NWR to further enhance its domestic offering, which it had been doing so before the outbreak of Covid-19. Some of the incentives NWR offered the domestic market were discounted rates for Namibians and pensioners. Special rates for periods such as the Independence month and the festive season period, including a discount card (Namleisure Card) that provides a discount on accommodation & activities at its resorts.

 

These offerings presented NWR with the base to realise relative occupancy, ensuring that its operations did not come to a standstill. For instance, during the financial period, 2018/2019, NWR averaged an occupancy of 49%, whilst during the financial year 2019/2020, NWR averaged an occupancy of 21%, which is 5% better than the average industry occupancy of 16% for the similar period. A great deal of these occupancies came from the domestic market. “It goes without saying that since we had more domestic travellers visiting our resorts, a few complaints were raised on various platforms. Our assessment shows that the two major areas that we needed to look into urgently were our response time, both via our emails and telephone lines, especially during the periods we offer our special rates, such as the Independence special or the festive season where many people would want to call us to make bookings. Another challenge was maintenance-related matters at some of our resorts,” says Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director.

 

These two challenges provided NWR with insight into what their clients wanted to see the organisation improve on. Thus, earlier this year, NWR introduced a Peer Review and Quality Assurance Unit (PRaQAU) consisting of NWR team members from across the organisation to tap into their experience, allowing NWR to pick up customer service-related problems and address them before they get out of hand. The second initiative was the NWR call centre. “The call centre will reduce the time clients have to wait to get in touch with us and also act as an information-gathering centre for possible improvements to customer service. Thus, these initiatives are geared towards our efforts of furthering our customer-centric approach as well as picking on matters we need to look into to avoid our clients not getting value for their money,” says Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate, Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager.

NWR provides the weekday break at 70% off

 

Gross Barmen premier chalet
Gross Barmen premier chalet

Windhoek, 3 March 2021 – Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is once again proud to announce that it will be running its 70% Independence discount during weekdays for March 2021 in commemoration of Namibia’s 31st Independence anniversary. The discount will be running at all its operational facilities spread across Namibia.

 

Mufaro Nesongano, NWR Corporate Communications, Online Media and Sponsorships Manager, says, “our travelling public can look forward to paying low rates during the week to visit our resorts. Resorts such as Gross Barmen, Namutoni and Terrace Bay will cost as low as N$ 234, excluding meals. Dolomite, Onkoshi, Popa Falls and SDL will cost as little as N$ 396, excluding meals. After the support we have received over the years for this special, we could not wait to offer it once again. For those members of the public that might not be able to make use of the special during the week, they are more than welcome to make a booking on our special rates that have equally been heavily discounted and include meals”.

 

NWR’s Managing Director, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, says that “last year when we ran this special most of our guests could not use it as Covid-19 caused so much uncertainty and the National lockdown that ensued. To appreciate the resilience of the nation during this challenging period and their support, we decided to run this special once again”.

 

At the same time, NWR would like to acknowledge the various comments it has received on all its social media platforms about some of our resorts’ status and service levels that need improvement. “It is obvious that the nation holds NWR at a high premium considering their direct shareholding through the Namibian Government. Therefore, as an organisation, we have taken all these comments seriously and, consequently, constituted a self-assessment and peer review team that has already started visiting our resorts to assess each establishment’s status to act on basic and minor things do not require huge monetary requests. This intervention also aims to ensure that going forth; our resorts will be in a state that we as Namibians can all be proud of.

Ransomware attacks NWR Windhoek server

Dr. Matthias Ngwangwama – Managing Director

Windhoek, 10 February 2021 – On 7 February 2021, Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR) Windhoek server was attacked by ransomware. This attack resulted in the NWR booking system – Innkeeper and its email server being unresponsive.

Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR Managing Director, said that “on Sunday we were unfortunately attacked by a Ransomware. The ransomware negatively affected our booking system and our email server. Over the past two days, our IT Team has been hard at rebuilding and restoring our booking system and our email server. Thus far, we have been able to restore our booking system; however, our email services should be restored before the end of the week. We would like to thank our clients for their understanding during this period”.

Fort Namutoni National Heritage Site

Windhoek, 20 January 2021 – Fort Namutoni was declared a national heritage site on 15 February 1950 by the then Historical Monuments Commission of South West Africa (HMC). The HMC is the National Monuments Council’s predecessor, which later became the National Heritage Council of Namibia (NHC) in an independent Namibia in 2004.

The protection and preservation of Namibia’s national heritage resources, and its listing on the National Heritage Register, is an important national assignment. Thus, the National Heritage Council of Namibia and Namibia Wildlife Resorts Limited (NWR), as the responsible managing authority of Fort Namutoni, strongly recommits that Fort Namutoni, and all other heritage sites, maintain their heritage significance through annual condition assessment exercises and periodically address identified areas of concern as required.

In preparation for the Etosha National Park Centenary celebrations in 2007, renovation works were carried out at various NWR facilities, including Namutoni Resort. The works done at Namutoni Resort included alterations and renovations to the Namutoni Fort after permission was granted by the NHC. In particular, the Fort was transformed into a one-stop-shop for all client activities, such as shops, bar, restaurant and curio shops. However, these changes were not positively received by the market and, as a result, numerous complaints from the clients and the public were received. The Fort was then closed to the public in 2013, and all client services were moved out to the current resort restaurant and shop areas. The rationale was to restore the Fort to the previous state before 2007 in line with customer demands. However, due to budgetary constraints, NWR could not execute the envisioned plan of restoring the Fort. Thus, the Fort was closed off from public access until a time these renovations could take place.

At the end of last year, in December 2020, photos circulated on social media depicting the purported condition of the Namutoni fort. Upon physical inspection, it came to light that only a few rooms were not in good condition. It also came to light that, even though the rooms in the Fort was inaccessible to the general public, forced entry was made to gain access to the rooms, especially the rooms from which photos were taken and circulated. Constructive feedback and criticism are valuable. However, criticism with malice, intended to destroy or achieve a specific plan cannot be accommodated because it can result in unintended consequences such as destroying that which is dear to all of us, namely, the country’s national assets treasures.

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