Africa: Rundu’s Popular Ngandu Lodge Launches Bon Hotels’ Expansion Strategy To Grow Their Namibian Footprint
When Oswald Thearts obtained the Permission to Occupy for the site where he envisaged to build his dream lodge on the banks of the Okavango river, little did he realise that almost thirty years later his iconic establishment will become part of an intra-African network of hotels and lodges.
This week, South African-based hotel group, BON Hotels announced that it has formed an alliance with Oswald and Corry Theart to operate and manage their prime venture in Rundu, Ngandu Lodge, and its smaller sister establishment, Ngandu at Sea, in Walvis Bay.
Where the sprawling Ngandu Lodge toady occupies a prominent rise above the Okavango, when the Thearts gave their first tentative steps in hospitality in 1990, there was nothing other than a splendid view of Calai, the Angolan town on the opposite side of the river. Today there is a whole campus of bungalows, a massive dining hall, a famous bar, a camp site and an outdoors activity centre. It has become Rundu’s landmark stay-over for business people coming from and going to Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Ngandu at Sea that developed later as an extension of the ethos of its owners, is on the site of the house that Oswald, a Walvis Bay native, grew up in. Today, Ngandu at Sea comprises two developments in close proximity, and is a favourite boutique hotel for business travellers.
BON Hotels cut their teeth on the Namibian hospitality market with their wholly-owned BON Hotel in Swakopmund which was opened in 2014. Taking charge of the two Ngandus is the next step in what they see as an expanding Namibian footprint.
BON Hotels Operations Director, Pieter van Eck, said “Growing our Namibian presence is a strategic approach in expanding our African footprint. Entering the fourth year of BON Hotel Swakopmund’s existence, we now have a good understanding of the Namibian market and we have identified the areas offering growth opportunities in Namibia. Adding two Namibian properties to our portfolio allows BON Hotels to increase our offering to our loyal guests, travel partners and BONami loyalty members.”
The group’s Chief Executive, Guy Stehlik, commented “Namibia has experienced significant growth in its tourist numbers in recent times. In fact, statistics provided by Trading Economics reflect an increase from about 80,000 tourists in 2006 to over 1.4 million a decade later. The country is attracting many new visitors from Europe, as well as South African travellers.”
BON Hotels owns or operates 37 hotels throughout Africa.