KATIMA MULILO - As the festive season reaches its peak, two famous recreational places of Namibia’s two northeast regions, Kavango East and Zambezi, namely Stony City and Rundu riverside beaches, famous for swimmers usually attract thousands of people.
However, these two recreational places which people should use to relax and swim are normally turned into drinking places at this time of the year. These places are usually turned into open dumping sites for empty beer bottles and cans and are usually littered with plastic bags.
Speaking to New Era, the spokesperson of Zambezi Regional Council, Damien Siyambango called on Katima Mulilo residents and other holidaymakers thronging Stony City situated along the Zambezi River close to the Wenela border to look after the place and to desist from littering.
“People should not litter when they visit that place, they should go there to relax, not to drink, and they should be very cautious because a lot of things can happen. Children under age should go with their parents,” advised Siyambango.
The maintenance of that area remains a concern because of the huge amount of litter left by , holidaymakers, Siyambango however hinted that plans are underway to revamp the area.
The situation is worse at Rundu Beach along the Kavango River which is a popular hotspot for hangouts and social activities. The place is situated close to lodges, as such it normally attracts many people including visitors staying at nearby lodges.
Lodge owners in Rundu have on numerous occasions approached the Rundu Town Council with proposals on how to develop the place, but their proposals seem to have been fallen on deaf ears.
In a telephonic interview with New Era, the owner of Tambuti Lodge which is situated about 20 metres from the beach, Elizabeth Hilger could not hold her frustration that council has ignored several proposals to revamp the beach and turn it into a tourist attraction area.
According to Hilger, Rundu does not have indigenous places which tourists can view when they visit the town, and she is of the opinion that, Rundu Beach has the potential to become a tourist attraction area if it ismaintained properly, as it is also home to some unique and indigenous plants and birds.
She stated that they have on numerous occasions approached the town council with proposals that, “the only place that we have is Rundu Beach and its wet land. If we protect it, then we can create for instance a nature trail, when tourists come they will walk among these trees and they can learn about our trees.”
Hilger is not happy that council has ignored their requests and continue to rent out the place to people who sell alcohol, which she believes is not suitable to the environment. “Every time they are tendering this place, the activities which are allowed is alcohol and noise, and looking at alcohol and noise it does not suit in this fragile land,” she said.
She also stated that when council rents out the place they do not give prior notices, to business people in the vicinity of the beach, who end up making a loss, as clients normally cancel due to excessive noise emanating from the beach, as they operate beyond normal hours.
Contacted for comment, Rundu Acting CEO Sikongo Haihambo stated that he was rushing to a meeting, however, regarding the excessive noise created by liquor traders at the beach, he stated that council has put measures in place to ensure the situation is put under control.
“Generally if you have a public place like that one, there is noise, but if the noise becomes excessive no matter what that excess is, we have got people who will be able to go and tell them to reduce the noise level,” said Haihambo. He added that, he is also accessible to all the people who would want to lodge complaints with him.