Rugby icon helps with awareness

Rudi Bowe

The survival of the Namibian tourism industry is much dependent on tourists from neighbouring countries. It was the main motivation for O&L Leisure to create a Namibian awareness campaign in South Africa.

To make a maximum impact with this awareness campaign, O&L Leisure turned to the South African rugby icon, Victor Matfield. Matfield is a much loved and respected former South African Springbok with a support base reaching into all corners of South African society. He was thus the obvious choice to promote Namibian tourism in the South African market.

O&L Leisure brought Matfield, his spouse Monja and two (of three) children to Namibia. The couple toured the country, with the last stop Swakopmund on Tuesday. They will take their adventure to South African audiences now.Namib Times had the privilege on Tuesday night to meet the Matfields at the Strand Hotel Swakopmund during a function. At the function O&L Leisure’s media relations manager, Corinna Howard, explained the reason for the awareness campaign is to contribute in the process to get the Namibian tourism industry back on track.

The Covid-19 pandemic grinded tourism industries to a virtual halt worldwide. Namibia is no exception. “This to my view was a brilliant plan to bring the Matfields to experience the beauty and tranquility of Namibia.Their positive experiences and perceptions of our country will now be brought to South Africans by the Matfields”, explained Howard “We felt that if the Matfields like Namibia, why wouldn’t any other South African not want to come to our beautiful country for a relaxing and fun-filled vacation?” From the beautiful natural settings of our country, its beautiful people, the best beers on the planet and tasty meat, Namibia will not disappoint any South African visitor. The Matfield family, of whom only Victor was in Namibia before, was pleasantly surprised of what they found.

In an interview with Namib Times Matfield said Namibia offers you open spaces and silence. A chance to get away from the hustle and bustle. “It was an incredible five days for me and my family. “We love the generosity of the people in this incredibly beautiful country of yours”, he said. Adding: “My wife was not so sure, but now she feels that we should visit Namibia more. Many South Africans spend fortunes on visits to Europe and other international destinations. That all the while where there are so many things to explore right here on our own African continent”, says Matfield. Namibia as a neighbour to South Africa is the proverbial stone’s throw away for South African visitors. “I thought the land was covered with only desert sand. Then we traveled to the north of the country and the land is suddenly covered in a green blanket of grass and trees.” “I must say that Namibia is very safe. We traveled by car to Etosha and wherever stopped we did not feel threatened at all.

“It is the first time that I really thought Namibia can be a proper holiday destination. Not only for me and my family, but to my view for every South African”, says Monja Matfield.

The Matfield’s concluded: “The easiest and most popular way to tour Namibia is with your own vehicle. We recommend a self-drive camping tour. Namibia gave us a whole different perspective on the desert and the different landscapes that the land presents to you. While there certainly are some long boring sections of desert scenery, there is also very stunning scenery that makes you wonder how it can possibly occur naturally. Namibia has the best beer in Africa and yes of course it’s one of the most important reason to visit any country is the quality of its beer and. Namibian beer is brewed to the highest German standards and Namibians are passionate about their beer”.

Victor and Monja thanked O&L Leisure for the opportunity to be part of their awareness campaign and to all the employees of Strand Hotel Swakopmund and Mokuti Etosha Lodge. Also, to everyone that made their short stay in Namibia special and to all guests who came out to Brewer and Butcher for the meet and greet. It was a wonderful experience to meet people at Brewer & Butcher. “We will definitely be back to explore the country further.”

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