Tourists and operators in the industry can look forward to some relief from the hell of driving on the main road between Walvis Bay and Sossuvlei that is often described as a rodeo at its best and a death trap at its worst.
The well known benefactor, Chris Theron from Walvis Bay, is going to get involved in the rehabilitation of Namibia’s most famous tourist trajectory in an effort to the contribute to government’s responsibility towards providing infrastructure and the growth of the tourism industry.
In the current economy and the state of affairs of state finances, there is simply no money to tackle the horrible gravel road from Walvis Bay, via the Kuiseb Pass, through the Solitaire area and Zaris towards Sossusvlei that has become a prime tourist destination.
With dozens of lodges and campsites along the route, the area has become a popular route for self-drive tourists, bus tours and domestic travellers. On any good day, hundreds of vehicles are to be found on this route and as it is, vehicles are now even found driving next to the road trying to reach destinations intact or with its occupants even alive.
Theron, who recently applied his expertise in Etosha with a massive road grading project reconditioning about 500km of roads in the national park over a period of a few short weeks, is now going to tackle the road to Sossusvlei.
In comparison with Etosha, this is an expensive project, and plans are being made to finance it, as government cannot contribute more than what was budgeted by its agencies for normal maintenance and upkeep, which also lack from time to time, mostly because of the mere pressure and volume of traffic on that famous byway.
Meetings are set up with lodge owners along the way who indicated for some time now that they are willing to contribute to the betterment of their area. Theron also met with officials of the Ministry of Roads to discuss his plans. They confirmed that they are indeed busy with maintenance at certain sections of the road, but it is done within their budgetary constraints.
Balancing the needs and capacity of government with the real situation on the ground, Chris Theron decided to take the bull by the horns and to get involved. His efforts can be seen as a multiplier effect to government’s capacity and an assurance that the route will become part of the pleasant experience of the thousands of visitors to one of Namibia’s most prized destinations.
Especially lodge owners with millions upon millions invested collectively in infrastructure to earn tourist dollars, have an interest in assuring trouble free roads for their visitors.
In times when government cannot, for whatever reason, get their hands around problems, one should stand up to be counted, is Theron’s motto and as a retired former senior official at the Department of Roads, who came from the hard grinding days of driving a grader to managing roads and executing projects all around the country, he is just the right man for the job.