Namibia’s pristine natural wonders are becoming more accessible and more popular due to its strong and persistent marketing and growing social media popularity.
While the average person only knew it as the country where a famous Hollywood actress gave birth to her twins a decade ago, Namibia is making different headlines now. It has made Top Ten lists when it comes to travel destinations for 2019 and has started taking up spreads in travel magazines. Social media influencers have begun to include it in their recommendations, and safari operators are scrambling to meet the heightened demand.
At first glance, it would seem like the country is riding a wave of fortunate circumstances. In fact, Namibia’s Tourism Board has been setting the stage for some time and is now reaping the fruits of its efforts. However fickle worldwide interest may be, Namibia has made consistent efforts for years to make its unique appeal last a long time.
No Longer Just Host to European Travelers
The European-dominated tourism demographic is slowly beginning to shift thanks to Namibia’s Tourism Board efforts.
Not only has tourism reported growth of around 2.2% in the past couple of years, but it also shows no sign of slowing down. The head of marketing of safari organizers Go2Africa believes that tourism growth will exceed every expectation by the year 2020, with all the momentum at hand.
Namibia’s audience range is fast expanding too. The average European tourist in Namibia used to be groups of Brits in campers or self-sufficient tourists from Germany. There was also the steady influx of South African tourists who’d take their low-end, self-drive holiday to neighbor Namibia.
The owner of the specialist marketing solutions company and safari-operator of Classic Portfolio stated that Namibia was a low-budget destination for those in the know, and the Brits, Germans, and South Africans were the “bread and butter” of the then-humble Namibian tourist industry. Improved regional air travel has changed the game, she ascertains, allowing for more high-end operators to develop. Luxury safari organizers like Classic Portfolio, Shipwreck Lodge, and Hoanib Valley Camp have established their footing.
You can now find all the luxury accouterments of all your Out-of-Africa inspired dreams as well as mid-range and affordable options.
Secluded and Otherworldly
Namibia is a huge country, with a surface area greater than France and Portugal put together. However, it has just over 2.5 million inhabitants, making it one of the least densely populated countries in the world, second only to Mongolia.
It is as vast as it is gloriously untouched.
This is the beauty and the lure of it — sprawling sand dunes, the famed shipwreck-filled Skeleton Coast, and pristine nature. Whether you want to take stunning shots on a photo safari, or just soak in the beauty of the desert, this is the place. If you want to enjoy the seclusion, you can; if you want to share the beauty on social media, you can. In fact, Skift Inc. has reported that social media sharing is part of what has helped Namibia rise in the tourism game.
The managing director of Wolwedans camps and lodges pointed out that Namibia has been a politically safe county for a long time; this cannot be said for all of its neighbors. It also isn’t the first African destination to come to mind, rather the next or third destination for the Africa-bound traveler.
Namibia’s natural beauty is pristine and hasn’t been “run into the ground” — at least not yet. This exclusivity and otherworldly feel are what draws clients in, luxury travel designers Lux Perpetua believe. The interest is surging for luxurious Namibia experiences as well, they report.
Namibia Plays Long Game, Gets Ahead in the Long Run
Some say that unexpected windfalls usually get spent before the next rainy days. This was not the case with Namibia as they employed the 2008 cash-infusion in the best possible way. In July of the year mentioned, Namibia’s government signed a compact with the Millennium Challenge Corporation worth 304.5 million USD. The five-year compact was signed for the purposes of accelerating Namibia’s economic growth and reducing the levels of poverty. Some of the money was used for boosting tourism and especially promoting the country in North America.
This move finally broadened the tourism market for Namibia, and the safari-organizing company Natural Selection confirmed this with their own example. One of their four founders expressed that this bolstered business for them to the point of needing to expand to cater to the demand.
African countries are becoming increasingly more accessible via air travel, with options multiplying and ticket prices dropping. This, coupled with all the investments in safari lodges, means all the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.
It would seem the marketing is becoming a self-manifesting prophecy, and the experience is now matching the expectations.
The co-founder of Mango Safaris says she believes that Namibia will lure adventure seekers as much as those seeking classic luxury safaris. People don’t just want to drive around and view the animals; some prefer more adrenaline-inducing safari experiences.
Worth the Value
The natural beauties of Namibia have left even the biggest travelers at a loss for words in the best possible way. The best part is that the tourism developments have made a visit there much more affordable compared to previous years and decades. Likewise, more price point options are becoming available, so you can see the same naturals from the room of your luxury lodge or from the porch of an affordable hostel. The country is becoming more accessible to tourists as are its neighbors — the Congo and Rwanda.
The well-known Classic Portfolio likens a visit to Namibia as a travel to simpler times. With its portfolio of eco-friendly camps and secluded luxury resorts in the great wide wonder of Africa, Namibia stands out. The country’s vibe is akin to the 1980s — somewhat naive, backwards, and all the more charming for it.
With so many hidden gems, Namibia still holds mystery for tourists. It would seem its carefully crafted tourism long game is beginning to pay off.