Katutours sells culture and history
According to Anna Mafwila, founder of Katutours, the decision to start a business that offers tours around Katutura on bicycle in a country like Namibia where most people would prefer travelling in vehicles than riding bicycles, was personal because it created a job for her.
“I found a great idea and niche in the market and I did it. It was personal, creating employment for myself but it is also brought great empowerment in the sense that I think every body holds on to their biggest concept or idea of what they would like to do in life. I think the best way is to actually create employment for yourself,” she said.
She said, although the itinerary and the whole concept sound good, Namibia is not a bicycle cultured country. Locals are put off by the fact that they have to do a three and a half hour tour on a bicycle while others fear for their safety on the road because there are no bicycle lanes.
She further said because her business is tours on bicycle and not every tourist is fit enough to hop on to one, she needs money to purchase and to upgrade to electric bicycles. This will enable her to cater for elderly people and people who are not inclined to pedal.
“Not everybody is fit enough to just hop on to the bicycle, so for this reason a lot of money is needed for me to at least upgrade to electric bicycles where people do not have to do so much work on the bicycle itself because it is powered by electricity. When I have a few electric bicycles, I can accommodate people who do not usually use a bicycle as a means of transport or as an exercise machine,” she said adding that the physical exertion is the single most important issue that put many prospective cycle tourists off. And Katutura is not flat.
“But there are a lot more people now actually joining my tours since I started. They enjoy riding the bicycles and they are the ones who are a bit open minded and very flexible so they are cycling all the time and I have never heard of a tragedy that was caused to a cyclist,” she added.
She said although there are plans in the pipeline to expand to Swakopmund, as in any upcoming business, she has some challenges with the finances to promote her company as well as to create more employment as she is currently employing only two people on a full time basis.
“We are the only registered company in Namibia that offers tours on bicycles and would like to expand to Swakopmund but obviously we need some financial help with the promotion of the company. This year is better than last year. Since I started operations, for one year I was able to manage my running cost but I would like to expand and create more employment for others,” she said.