September 2016 – Wilderness Safaris Botswana has donated 50 000 Pula to 33 local community partners in celebration of the country’s milestone anniversary of 50 years of independence, highlighting the company’s pride in and commitment to operating in this beautiful country for over 33 years.
Left: Members of the Okavango Community Trust (OCT) receive five cheques of BWP2 500.00 each for the five OCT villages (Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretshaa, Beetshaa and Gudigwa) Middle & Right: Wilderness Safaris’ Maun office staff celebrate Independence Day in style.
“Having pioneered sustainable and authentic ecotourism in Botswana since 1983, we wanted to focus our Independence Day celebrations on giving back to our local community partners. This forms part of our commitment to our 4Cs sustainability ethos (Commerce, Community, Culture and Conservation) and we are proud to have already made 33 donations to some of our community partners, village kgotlas and various NPOs that we support in Maun, as well as to Children in the Wilderness Eco-Clubs and Adult Eco-Clubs. These 33 donations are not only in celebration of this incredible milestone for the country, but also commemorate our 33 years of operations”, said Wilderness Safaris COO, Grant Woodrow.
“This is a huge moment for the citizens of Botswana and our donations have helped contribute towards a number of individual celebrations; in some cases, facilitating the less privileged to enjoy this celebratory moment with the entire nation. Our Maun and Gaborone office staff also gathered together on the 27th of September to celebrate independence in style, whilst reflecting on core traditional values and Setswana culture, and congratulating the President and all Batswana people on how far we have come as a nation”, Woodrow added.
Wilderness Safaris began its journey in Botswana in 1983 and while the company has since expanded its ecotourism operations into other parts of the continent, it has never strayed far from its roots. Botswana’s far-sighted ecotourism model has influenced the way Wilderness operates its camps; its “low volume, low impact, high value” tourism policy has prospered and secured the conservation of land and wildlife, as well as most importantly ensuring that the benefits accrued from ecotourism are also realised by the local communities.
After operating mobile safaris for two years, in 1985 Wilderness Safaris opened its first permanent camps in Botswana – Xigera and Xaro, with Mombo Camp opening in 1990; both Xigera and Mombo are still in existence. Today, the company operates over 25 camps in the country, providing jobs and income for 1 200 Batswana. It is also involved in a large number of conservation and community projects in conjunction with government partners and NGOs, such as the Wilderness Wildlife Trust and Children in the Wilderness.
From being one of the poorest countries on the continent before independence, Botswana is now one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is this success story combined with natural riches and a visionary government that make Botswana one of the most rewarding countries in Africa and possibly the most exciting for a safari to appreciate its plethora of wildlife great and small.
Wilderness Safaris is looking forward to the next 50 years!