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Botswana Trade August 2011

In this Issue:


Post-Indaba 2011 Botswana Trip Report: Tsabong Camel Park Initiative

Camels in Botswana? You bet! From as far back as 1921, camels have been used for transport and patrolling services in the Botswana Police Service when no other mode of transport was able to traverse the desert. In the late 1990s, after the police in the Kgalagadi district had been equipped with four-wheel drive vehicles, the camels were designated for tourism purposes.

The Camel Park Initiative, spearheaded by the Botswana Tourism Organization, will expand and diversify tourism product in rural southwest Botswana.Development of the park is a collaboration between BTO and Tsamama, a community trust comprised of locals from the villages of Tsabong, Maleshe and Maubelo, and brings jobs, financial, and social benefits to these rural dwellers. The Tsabong Camel Park is located in the southwest region of Botswana, near the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and an approximate five-hour drive from the capital city of Gaborone.

So what is this newest tourism product all about? FUN in the desert! When construction is complete, the park will have six upscale ensuite chalets, camping and picnic grounds, and quad bike routes. The camels, currently undergoing training by Kenyan camel experts (who are also training local Motswana to take over camel training), will provide long or short rides in the desert. We met several Motswana who are now learning the trade, including a young woman who had her camels firmly under control – which, if you know anything about the temperament of camels, is no easy task!

In addition to tourism activities, camel husbandry will be developed, creating exciting entrepreneurial opportunities in the sale of animal by-products and other economic ventures. The next phase of the camel project will be the establishment of a factory to process and produce camel by-products such as milk, yogurt, cheese and meat.

My colleagues and I had a blast riding camels and quad bikes, milking camels and tasting warm camel milk (okay I admit, not my favorite beverage!). The Tsabong Camel Park will be a delightful addition to the portfolio of tourism products in Botswana, and will provide visitors to southwest Botswana with exciting adventure and cultural activities to experience outside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. I'll keep you posted when the first phase of the Park is open for business.

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Who's who

Who's Who

Welcome to Ngoma Safari Lodge... a Place of a Hundred Heartbeats Situated in northern Botswana, approximately 40 miles southwest of Kasane, within the Chobe Forest Reserve and overlooking the Chobe River, lies Ngoma Safari Lodge, a private sanctuary set amidst the wild.

Recently opened in June 2011, this 5-star bush property has eight river-facing suites, all delivering romantic space and luxurious comfort in true African sensuality. Each air-conditioned suite has spacious internal and external living areas, an en-suite bath with both an inside and outside shower, and a mini bar. All suites have a full view of the legendary Chobe River and offer guests the opportunity to see, depending on the season, the famous Chobe elephants, migrating zebra, or buffalo grazing the floodplain below.

Ngoma Safari Lodge is fully committed to making a sustainable difference to the local community in which it operates and to its environment. To this end the lodge has partnered with the Chobe Enclave Conservation Trust (CECT) in its development. The concession is located in a community trust area, meaning that the local community benefits directly from tourism and natural resource management within the concession and has an active hand in decision-making. Lodge guests have the opportunity to visit nearby Mabele village and the Mabele Primary School to interact with the locals as they go about their daily lives.

From the well-appointed rooms to the gastronomic delights served up by the talented young chef, Paddington Muguza, to the prolific game and impressive variety and quantity of bird species, and to the awe-inspiring views and serenity of the landscape that ignites the soul, Ngoma Safari Lodge will awaken your clients' senses and create unforgettable — and romantic — memories to be treasured forever.

Hundred Heartbeats

Hundred Heartbeats

For more information, please visit or email

Experience the Best of Safari Wildlife with Planet Wilderness Safaris
Established in 2004, Botswana-owned, Maun-based Planet Wilderness Safaris offers fully catered, upscale, guided mobile safaris in Botswana’s most breathtaking destination for wildlife and cultural heritage throughout southern, central and northern Botswana. 

Owner/operators Johnny Ramsden and Thomas Perschil are two of Botswana’s most experienced guides, with over 30 years combined experience in the safari industry. They understand that an outstanding safari experience combines comfortable accommodations, exquisite cuisine, excellent guiding, well-maintained vehicles, and unforgettable sightings. Their aim is to provide the very best in service while enriching the souls of your clients.

Accommodations are in large, walk-in dome tents with en-suite bathrooms, featuring comfortable cot beds with cotton linens and duvets, bedside tables and battery powered lights within. When not roaming the wild, your clients will indulge in hearty three-course meals provided by the company’s friendly and talented private chef.

Specializing in small groups of 4 to 7 guests, your clients will receive that personal attention they so deserve. All safaris are accompanied by expert guides, a chef and camp crew, whose sole purpose is to ensure you clients’ holiday is a dream come true. Safaris are conducted in open, customized Toyota Land Cruisers furnished with a fridge for keeping beverages cold. As the camp crew moves on ahead to prepare camp, your clients will enjoy ample time for guided game viewing and other activities in the African wilderness.  

Planet Wilderness

For more information on Planet Wilderness Safaris, please visit or email

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Meerkats Lodging & Ground Operator Updates

A Refreshed Xigera Camp
Wilderness Safaris welcomes back a refreshed Xigera Camp! A number of positive changes have been made to the camp during its recent refurbishment. The rooms have received significant attention including re-canvassed sides with new windows/blinds, sliding doors to the outside shower, and privacy doors for both the shower and toilet. The main area has also undergone a redesign with updates to the bar and buffet and the addition of a small, cozy library area. A new foot-bridge has been built to avoid disturbing the view from camp, and the novel and popular sand-pit where animals tantalizingly leave their tracks has been retained. A new "star deck" has also been built for dinners, star talks and private dinners. Encourage your clients to experience these improvements at Xigera on their next Botswana safari. For more information, please visit

WIlderness Safaris

New Products at Bush Ways Safaris
It looks like 2012 is going to be an innovative and exciting year for Bush Ways Safaris, as the company will be introducing two new products. Of course the semi-participation mobile camping style that Bush Ways has become renowned for will remain, but in addition they will be offering a luxurious, fully serviced safari, as well as a flexible accommodated safari option. The fully serviced 7-day safaris will include accommodations in spacious dome tents with en-suite bathrooms, comfortable stretchers and soft bedding, and will be limited to a maximum number of eight guests. The accommodated safaris include traveling from lodge to lodge with your clients making the decisions as to which activities they would prefer to participate in. These 11-day safaris highlight the best that Botswana has to offer and leisurely circumnavigate the Okavango Delta, allowing your clients to take in the splendor of the various landscapes along the way. Loyal to their customers and your clients, Bush Ways will continue to offer tailor-made safaris which are client-focused specialized offerings, depending on the specific requirements of prospective clientele.

Bush Ways

For more information, please visit or email 

New Aircraft, New Routes, New Horizons with Air Botswana
Significant developments are taking place at Air Botswana including introducing new routes and looking into acquiring jet aircraft to operate new regional services. In the short term, Air Botswana has introduced direct flights between Gaborone and Nairobi, between Gaborone and Dar es Salaam via Harare, and between Maun and Victoria Falls.  However, please note, that as of August 3, 2011, Air Botswana will no longer operate its twice-weekly service between Kasane and Lusaka. They will continue to operate direct service between Gaborone and Lusaka on Fridays and Sundays. Route network expansion will continue, taking in more domestic and regional destinations. Air Botswana has also begun assessing different types of jet aircraft for its particular needs, for regional route development and, in the longer term, with an eye to the possible introduction of long-haul service. For more information, please visit

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Making a difference Making a Difference: Cooperation Puts Alien Weeds Under Attack in the Okavango Delta

Several years ago, a weed known as the Salvinia molesta, originally from South America, began to spread through the waterways of the Okavango Delta. If left to grow uncontrolled, this floating weed could form large, impenetrable mats that choke up waterways and reduce access to the surface water for a number of organisms. In an effort to combat this invasive kariba weed, the BIOKAVANGO Project was formed through collaboration between the Department of Environmental Affairs, Department of Water Affairs and the University of Botswana’s Oppenheimer Okavango Research Center.

One of the ways to manage this weed is with a biological control agent, namely a small weevil that feeds on the main growth of the weed. The release of these weevils into an environment such as the Okavango Delta requires constant monitoring.  We are happy to report that this project has already contributed to a large decline of this invasive plant in the entire Okavango Delta.

The project has been largely successful thanks to the organizations, lodges, and volunteers who spent countless hours monitoring the waterways. Monitoring will continue, but for now the communities of the Okavango Delta are happy to have their waterways back. For more information, please click here 

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Giraffe Newly Announced Travel Offers

Children Stay Free at Orient-Express in Botswana
Orient-Express invites families to get away to Botswana. Your clients will receive a complimentary second tent for up to two children ages 8- to 17-years-old when booking a safari. Offer valid until 31 October 2011, subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other package, promotion or special offer. Give your clients the gift of family discovery and share memories that will last a lifetime with Orient-Express. For more information, please visit or email

Newly Announced

Summer Special with Wilderness Safaris and Sanctuary Retreats
Summer in Botswana is the time when there is a kaleidoscope of color with rich landscapes, an explosion of new life with many species giving birth to their young, and a myriad bird species to be seen. Wilderness Safaris and Sanctuary Retreats have teamed up to create a truly exciting summer special at exceptionally competitive prices through the traditionally quieter period of November to April for your clients. From mokoro excursions down the waterways of the Delta to seeing herds of elephant in the Linyanti, your clients will have an unforgettable experience. Invite your clients to discover the best of Africa with this Botswana summer special from Wilderness Safaris and Sanctuary Retreats.

Newly Announced

For more information, please visit or

Footsteps in Africa Launches Kalahari Summer Promotion
Footsteps in Africa is making Botswana easy and affordable during the Kalahari Summer. From the 1 December 2011 to 31 March 2012, 14 separate camps and lodges throughout seven diverse regions of Botswana will be available to your clients at exceptional rates. Terms include a minimum of three nights at any one camps/lodge or minimum of four nights at two or more different camp/lodges. Footsteps in Africa wants your clients to experience the spontaneous celebration of nature that is summer in Botswana at an incredible value. For more information, please visit or email

Green Season with Liquid Giraffe
Liquid Giraffe has launched a “Green Season” special safari — the Okavango Trail — for 2011/2012 to celebrate Botswana’s summer season. The Okavango Trail combines the varied land- and water-activity program of Kwara Camp in the Central Okavango Delta with a new camp, Motswiri, in the Selinda Reserve. Motswiri Camp specializes in horse riding and guided walking safaris. Invite your clients to take advantage of the green season in Botswana with the Okavango Trail! For more information, please visit or email

A Boating Adventure with Roger Dugmore Safaris… October 2-7, 2011
Roger Dugmore Safaris wants your clients to experience a boating safari like no other in the Okavango Delta. This 5-night safari from October 2-7, 2011 explores the vastness of the Okavango River, dominated by floating galaxies of water lilies, dense spans of submerged plants in translucent lagoons, evergreen woodlands, fringes and islands. Your clients will spend their days leisurely drifting downstream while game- and bird-watching, or just relaxing onboard taking in the magnificent views - whatever tickles their fancy. For more information, please visit or email

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Dereck Joubert Breaking News

Botswana Filmmakers Earn Emmy Nomination
We would like to congratulate Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Botswana filmmakers, on their Emmy nomination for their work on the National Geographic television series called Great Migrations. Dereck’s cinematography received a nomination for a major segment highlighting the largely unknown zebra migration from the Okavango Delta into the Mkgadikgadi Pans. The story shows a different face of Botswana, and highlights the huge unspoiled wilderness in Botswana still ready to be explored by travelers. “I hope that this film will reveal the interior, the Pans and desert that are some of the most beautiful and unsung spots in the country,” says Dereck. This Emmy nomination is their 10th for films shot entirely in Botswana and comes on the heels of their acclaimed feature The Last Lions. To check out Great Migrations, click here and don’t forget to tune into the Emmy Awards this September!

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We hope you enjoyed the final edition of this "post-Indaba" newsletter, and take the opportunity to reach out to the suppliers highlighted this month. As always, we truly appreciate all you do to promote and sell Botswana travel. Until next month, we remain,

Yours in Travel,

The Botswana Tourism USA Team

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