New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Holidaymakers Should Spare Environment

Windhoek — The new Minister of Environment and Tourism, Uahekua Herunga, has appealed to holidaymakers at the coast, especially in the Dorob National Park, to adhere to park rules and regulations.

Thousands of tourists from neighbouring countries, as well as local visitors normally flock to the scenic and tranquil coastal region of the country during the festive season. This is also the most 'difficult' time for the environmentally sensitive area, as huge numbers of people frequent these fragile areas.

Some visitors do not adhere to park rules and they tend to litter, as well as damage the fragile environment with their activities such as quad-biking and other environmentally unfriendly activities.

Dorob National Park is home to a very special biodiversity and it allows safe passage to migratory species, and is also an important sanctuary for some unique plants and birds.

The area further includes a coastal dune belt, vast gravel plains, major ephemeral river systems and their river mouths. "It is thus understandable that we need to take care of this unique national asset, as it is the most frequented coastal area and is exposed and subject to the actions and conduct of human kind every day," Herunga said at a media briefing specifically intended to convey this special message to holidaymakers.

In recent times a lot of additional activities have sprung up at the coast such as the filming of international movies and an increase in transport, logistics in the booming mining sector. Herunga said all of these activities put a further strain on the coast's natural resources and the environment, even though they contribute to growing economic activities.

"For them to be properly managed, the necessary checks and balances have to be carried out," he said. Unlike the other national parks where strict control and law enforcement is possible within fenced-off or clearly demarcated boundaries, in Dorob authorities can only rely on the cooperation of the public and that of holidaymakers.

"Because of its difference, we as citizens or visitors should play our collective role in safeguarding the natural treasures for generations to come," he appealed. His plea included the Skeleton Coast Park, Namib-Naukluft Park and the Sperrgebiet National Park, which together with the Dorob National Park form the 8th largest protected area in the world, stretching along the Namibian coastal line of 1 570 km. Dorob National Park with an area of 8 118 square km is the largest state protected area in Namibia.

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