Rundu residents have in the past been robbed of affordable recreational facilities, despite being blessed with the beautiful Okavango River’s ‘beaches’.
However, that has now changed with the revamp of Rundu beach, which has also created employment opportunities, says Peter Immanuel, the man behind the new face of the famous beach.
Speaking to The Namibian on the banks of the river, Immanuel said he took over the management of the area through a tender from the Rundu Town Council.
Before its refurbishment, the area was a typical untidy drinking spot, he said.
“My company won the tender to come and try to resuscitate and manage the whole happenings at the beach,” said Immanuel, the owner of Nguni Trading.
With close to 20 years’ experience in sales, Immanuel left his job to concentrate on the resurrection of the barren beach.
He said there have been plenty of challenges since taking over the area in October 2022.
“Waste management, the issue of security and we needed to change the perception of how the people used to know the place and what it is now.
“As we speak now, people are getting married here, family retreats and team building activities and a lot of festive season activities [take place],” said Immanuel.
The beach now offers an array of activities, thanks to the refurbished facilities such as renovated ablution facilities, a lawn and a kiddies playground, with plants adding to the ambiance of the area.
“We are growing and if we are going to have more time to work and make the place more beautiful, we’ll shoot to the stars,” said Immanuel.
Several employment opportunities have been created, with indirect employment stemming from the festivities that kicked off from 1 December till 3 January 2024, he said.
Immanuel’s company has four permanent employees – a gardener, someone to sail the cruise boat, a receptionist and a cleaner to clean the ablution facilities, he said.
“We have created a lot of employment, indirect and direct employment from the start of the festivities and the remaining days. We are also able to offer small services like boat cruises and quad biking,” said Immanuel, adding that plans are underway to create more activities for visitors to Rundu to enjoy.
Immanuel further indicated that this year’s festivities and the work that has been done to the area are game changing.
He said his goals and desires are to create a trading environment where small entrepreneurs can have a space to trade, sell food to people that are visiting the beach and offer feel-good activities, including kiddies jumping castles, seven-a-side soccer and volleyball games.
“Every end of the month, even if it means setting up two stalls where people can acquire the stalls because we want to encourage our people to have that entrepreneurial mindset and create a feel-good environment,” he said, emphasising that other plans include the extension of the area to other parts of the river, the erection of a soccer pitch to host soccer tournaments and the extension of services including bringing potable water and electricity to the area.
“Rundu is growing and it’s our responsibility as entrepreneurs, because we owe it to our people to also have recreational facilities like in other towns.”
Rundu Town Council chief executive Olavi Nathanael confirmed that the area is being leased out.
The beach has also received a major facelift, from its entrance that was covered in a swamp and developing the front into a water front.
The public relations officer of the project, Jerry Kauyu, told the media recently that the place will be called the Rundu Beach Water Park, and it will boast a restaurant and swimming pools, alongside other recreational facilities.
He said a lot has been used to develop the place and this was done to change the face of the town and create better recreational facilities.
With the festive season in full swing, the area is hosting a festival with a line-up of music performances and kiddies jumping castles, including food and beverage stalls.
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