Our Goals and Objectives
The principal aim of KOAR is the promotion of the Kavango Region, by marketing it as an attractive and worthwhile Tourism destination, rather than a region merely travelled through en-route to other more well-known areas in Northern Namibia and neighbouring countries. In this way we hope to improve and diversify income opportunities for the residents of this region.
Other goals are:
∙ To promote the legitimate tourism operators, local entrepreneurs and private businesses in the Kavango Region but maintaining high entry operational standards for members.
∙ To assist with the preservation and protection of the region’s natural resources of the Kavango River System by establishing a close and mutually productive relationship with the Governmental Ministries and community-based NGO’s which share our common interest.
∙ To add to the national data-base of natural resources (EIS) by means of our Flagship Species Monitoring Program and any other similar projects.
The route is from Mohembo Gate, on the Botswana border in the south-east, to Katwitwi on the Angolan border to the north-west. The route includes the original gravel road between Rundu and Divundu along the river. This route gives the visitor more access to the attractive river scenery as well as the diverse cultural activities of the people living along side it. Participants along this route include any legitimate individuals or organizations that have anything of interest to offer to the travelling tourist. These involve tourism accommodation establishments (lodges, camps and campsites whether private or community-based), Government organizations, community-based NGO’s, clubs, schools, missions and churches, conservancies, community forests, craft producers, historical points and a variety of private entrepreneurs.
Open Africa a well-known Tourism Initiative funded by the World Bank and other donors, based in RSA and Zambia, from where they have established almost 70 now famous Tourist routes. In Namibia they have initiated 4 such routes. One of these routes, the Kavango Route was officially launched at the Windhoek Tourism Expo in May 2010, almost seven years since it was first introduced in 2004. With TV and other media coverage and in close association with HAN and Mr. Ricky Kalaluka (Open Africa), the guest speakers included Mr. Sem Shikongo (Director of Tourism), Mrs. Gitta Paetzold (CEO of HAN) and Mr. Mark Paxton (Chairman of KOAR)
All route participants are required to have a Conservation-based ethic as well as a commitment to the protection of the natural resources and wildlife along the Okavango River. To this end we have designated 5 flagship species, which we feel are most representative of the Region, and require some form of protection and monitoring. These are African Skimmer, Grey-headed Parrot, Tiger-fish, Hippopotamus and Kiaat, and the active participants are required to monitor at least one of these species. Open Africa in turn offers long-term website exposure, with marketing details on their extensive website (www.openafrica.org) and in a comprehensive brochure of the route at selected distribution outlets within Namibia and in neighbouring countries.
KOAR has now established itself as a formally recognized Association with an elected committee and constitution. Together with schools and community members it has embarked on an extensive awareness campaign throughout the region, involving permanently placed signboards at specific locations along the route, coupled with posters and T-shirt distribution.
We enjoy the support of MET, the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and the Ministry of Inland Fisheries with whom we will be working hand-in-hand with. We intend forming a secure, co-operative and productive working relationship with these and many other similar-minded organizations that have the interests of this region and the residents at heart.
KOAR has also embarked on an environmental Wetland Tourism Trail in the Rundu area in association with the Rundu Town Council and the Kavango Regional Council. This trail will give tourists and residents access to the interesting aspects of the hitherto neglected and under-appreciated Rundu Wetlands near the town. The trail will have well placed environmental information boards and the trees and shrubs along the route are marked with information tags.
Member Lodges have formed a total of 7 monitoring groups which conduct tri-annual wetland waterbird counts along stretches of the Okavango River and now cover over 70 kms of river frontage. These counts are linked to Wetlands International, which is a global coordinating body based in the Netherlands.
KOAR has placed demarcation and direction road-signs at strategic points along the route on the district roads and throughout Rundu town. The membership signboards displayed at our member Tourism establishments and businesses will ensure the travelling tourist of legitimacy and a high standard of hospitality and service.
We now formally represent the Tourism Sector in the Kavango Region, and a large proportion of the Rundu Business Sector with SAREP, OKACOM, OkBMC and NACSO.