WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Environment and Nuvella Development Marketing Management have signed a 25-year lease contract with the Iipumbu ya Tshilongo Conservancy for the construction of a N$40 million lodge in the conservancy. Construction of the lodge, to be called Olupale Lodge, is expected to take place at the beginning of next year.
Olupale, an Oshiwambo noun, refers to the central meeting fireplace of a homestead where tales and culture often take center stage. The lodge is to be constructed on the same basic principles of a homestead. It will be situated near the northern boundary of Etosha National Park and it will cover 70 000 hectares during the construction of 40 key lounges in traditional style, which will be designed with wooden decks, canvas tents covered in wooden sticks on the sides, and with palm leaves on the roofs in an upper three market with four finishes, the owners say.
According to Christophe Van De Vijver, the managing director of Nuvella, the aim of the concession is for the concessionaire to attract quality private-sector investment in the concession area, with the objective of developing and operating the concession to its optimal potential and thus contributing to conservation and poverty alleviation within the local community.
Van De Vijver said that they aim to create a unique product that has not been introduced into the Namibian market as such, an Oshivambo village experience, and this would be the unique selling point of the lodge.
The design concept will be similar to that of Lesedi Cultural Village and Shakaland in South Africa.
“As lodge developers and lodge managers, our main objective would be to operate a lodge within the concession area for a financial benefit to all of the stakeholders, including the local community and the investors.
To bring more value to the community, we have foreseen to assist the local community in creating products to incorporate into the lodge operations.
Having a lodge in the area will create a demand for various products, such as uniforms, fresh produce, meat, arts and crafts which can be supplied to the lodge by the local community,” said Van De Vijver.
The lodge will cater for all the basic needs of guests including restaurant, bar, pool, laundry service, activities and curio shop.
However, Van De Vijver said a visit to a local cultural village which is a newly erected village in the traditional style, including the staff accommodation will give guests a unique Namibian experience of the Oshiwambo culture.
This area has a rich heritage in artisan products, including jewelry and wooden products and we feel that visitors, whether they are Namibian, Southern African or international will be fascinated and charmed to see the skills in making of these products and to have the opportunity to purchase these, either for their own use or for gifts.
Chairperson of the Iipumbu ya Tshilongo Conservancy, Kamati Joseph emphasised the agreement must be honoured especially that the lodge must not be transferred to the conservancy and it must not be sold to any other person before the expiry date of the agreement.