Bigger and better Bennies Park
Situated along the main road in Ongwediva, Bennies Entertainment Park has grown from only providing entertainment services to hosting business conferences and accommodation complete with family entertainment facilities such as swimming pools, a kiddies’ a play park, family barbeques (braai) as well as miniature golf course (put- put).Birthday parties as well as weddings are also hosted at the park.
The decision to set up the park in Ongwediva, according to Six Hauwanga, General Manager of Bennies Entertainment Park, is because the town is mostly a residential area but lacks entertainment parks for the whole family. “When kids come to the park, more often than not their parents also accompany them. The park caters to everyone’s needs in one package,” said Hauwanga.
The park has 80 permanent staff employed at the lodge, restaurant, bar, administration as well as for security services. Since its establishment in 2006 by local business man, Ben Hauwanga, the park started off with only six rooms and a small conference room which could only accommodate 50 people. “Conferences where first held in the restaurant until the demand for accommodation and conference rooms grew bigger hence the decision to construct more rooms and bigger conference facilities,” said Hauwanga.
An additional conference hall, Bennies Hall, was recently completed and can accommodate between 700 and 800 people. According to Hauwanga, Bennies Lodge now boasts an additional 35 new rooms ranging from twin to single rooms and two presidential suites, bringing the total number of rooms to 124.
“The lodge is usually fully booked especially during trade fairs such as the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair hence the need for more rooms,” he said.
Construction for the new rooms and conference room cost about N$20 million and according to Hauwanga, the swimming pool, one of the biggest attractions at the park, is currently also being renovated at a cost of around N$360,000. “The old swimming pool was build with tiles so the new one will be covered in fibreglass to make it safer for swimmers,” said Hauwanga.
Renovations of the rooms started in mid 2012 and took until March this year. The project includes a multifunctional roof top for hosting cocktails. The park also has a restaurant and a bar while construction of a VIP bar is currently underway.
A smaller Bennies Entertainment Park in Oshikango that has eight rooms is strategically placed to attract one of the parks’ largest clients, Angolan citizens.
Activities at the park include Afro Carnivals held in February and June by Angolan customers to run concurrently with the famous Brazil Carnival.
The just ended Economist Business Women Northern Conference was held at the park’s state of the art conference room. This was the third time the conference was held at Bennies.
According to Hauwanga, the biggest entertainment show ever held at the park’s open air arena was the 2008 Tafel Lager Year-end bash which attracted more than 4000 people.