Doing it the 'Segway'

There is a new way to see and experience the coast.

28 July 2020 | Tourism

Kula Muatunga; Swakopmund Eco-Gliding Tours; “…I want people to experience Swakopmund in a fun and exciting way.”

Swakopmund • [email protected]

The business idea for Eco-Gliding Tours originated from her prior travel experiences, explains owner Kula Muatunga (24).

“I have travelled quite a bit and almost everywhere, Segway tours were on offer,” she says.

Muatunga says she hopes her business will give tourists another outlook on Namibia which she had found to be missing.

“I want people to experience the scenery we have on offer and fall in love with my country the way I'm in love with it.”

According her, the Segway is the ideal tool for experiencing a location on another level.

A Segway is a two-wheeled, self-balancing personal transporter invented by Dean Kamen. He brought the concept to the market in 2001 as the Segway HT (human transporter) and subsequently as the Segway PT (personal transporter).

“I've gone on walking tours that lasted hours. At some point you get so exhausted and just want everything to end. With a Segway you can enjoy mobility and still experience what you would have on a walking tour by trying out an activity that is new and exciting. You don't have to exhaust yourself. I think this is ideal for people who are looking to enjoy themselves while exploring and learning about our beautiful country.”



Youth

According to Muatunga, her start-up which is closing in on its first month of being operational, is long overdue.

“The process of obtaining permits and legal permission took about 18 months.”

She explained that she intends to address youth unemployment too.

“I only have one tour guide and one administrator. In the process of hiring people, I realised that I only needed someone with matric, but I saw people with master's degrees applying, which worried me. These people were clearly overqualified for the position, but could not find employment. People are desperate and youth unemployment is definitely a big problem, so I am focussing on the youth,” she says.



Bittersweet victory

Being granted approval to start conducting business was a bittersweet moment for Muatunga.

“It's surreal to finally have the necessary permits to operate. I've been working on this business since 2018.”

The nature of her business protracted the process, as it is the first Segway tour company to be registered in Namibia.

“I think when you're the first to register a concept in your country, it can be daunting. I had to figure out where to go. I was 22 when I started working on the project and had little experience with an entrepreneurship project of this nature. I had no idea which ministry or government sector to approach at first, but I received a lot of support and encouragement from the Swakopmund municipality.”



By a Namibian, for ­Namibians

Muatunga is hopeful that Namibians will enjoy their own country through her business.

“From the very beginning I wanted a more affordable rate for Namibians compared to that for tourists, so that locals can also experience Segway tours in their own country.”

She encourages the public to keep an eye out for their Heroes Day special offers.

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