ATWS opens in true Namibian style

27 Oct 2013 14:20pm
WINDHOEK, 27 OCT (NAMPA) - Close to a thousand local and international adventure enthusiasts, members of the diplomatic corps and government, local cultural groups and members of the public attended the launch of the first adventure travel summit in Africa here on Saturday. President Hifikepunye Pohamba opened the launch of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS), which was held at Parliament Gardens in true Namibian style.
The gardens were a hive of activities with various cultural groups performing and showcasing their ways of life. These included, amongst others the San, Herero, Nama, Damara, Kavango, Himba, Ovambo, Baster, and Zambezi (former Caprivian).
Namibia’s conservation efforts were also rewarded – in particular the game guards of the #Khoadi //Hoas conservancy in the Kunene Region - for protecting sustainable use of the environment, as well as for curbing the poaching of wildlife.
The Manager of Adventure Travel Product Development and Operations at Recreational Equipment, Incorporated (REI) Justin Wood handed over equipment to the guards which amongst others included torches, tents, and mattresses.
Wood was also awarded for his outstanding contribution towards conservation by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga.
The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) handed over the 2013 Gift to the Earth Award to Pohamba which recognises Namibia’s outstanding conservation successes.
Former WWF president, Chief Emeka Anyaoku handed over the award to the Head of State.
Delegates were entertained by the San, who danced in front of a temporarily constructed hut complete with fire on which the lids of the black cooking pots did their own dance.
Also showcasing their culture were women from the Herero tribe and young Nama women, who exhibited their well-known traditional ‘veldskoene’ (shoes made out of animal hide) and beadwork.
Delegates were entertained with musical performances by the University of Namibia (Unam) choir and Elemotho, a local musician who is well-known on the international scene.
Windhoek Lager beer and juicy meat from the Meat Corporation of Namibia (Meatco) were on the menu, while traditional food and drinks from all corners of the country were also available to the guests.
Delegates to the summit also attended the Windhoek Jazz Festival at the Hage Geingob Stadium where South African musicians Hugh Masekela and Zahara graced the stage.
Local acts included Elemotho, Big Ben, Fu-Jazz All Stars, Erna Chimu, MoJs, Sharon-Unplugged, Ama-Khoe and Mahetage, amongst others.
Close to 700 members of the adventure travel community are attending the tourism indaba, which is taking place on African soil for the first time from 26 to 31 October this year.
The main event of the summit commences in Swakopmund on 29 October, with the first topic focusing on 'Raising the Bar for Tourism's Future'.
There will also be presentations on conservation, community development and tourism that will be under discussion until Thursday.