MAUN: The minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, has confirmed that no new applicants for the mobile Safaris will be allowed to operate in Chobe and the Okavango Delta, as these prime areas are already congested.
The minister broke this disappointing news at a media briefing in Maun recently. Khama announced that the new mobile Safari licencees would only be allowed to take their tourist clients to Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Tuli block. However, he added that his ministry was investigating strategies to ease congestion in the Okavango Delta, before opening the prime tourism areas to more mobile safari entrants.
The Botswana Guides Association (BOGA), which represents many of the mobile safaris, is up in arms against the move. BOGA chairman, Kenson Kgaga, described the move as ill advised, as it targets the mobile safari sector that is citizen-controlled. “The mobile sector is the most affordable for Batswana entering the tourism sector. Forbidding them to tour (to) Chobe and Okavango is tantamount to running them out of business. Few tourists are interested in CKGR.” Kgaga also pointed out that tourists booking with the mobile safaris chose which places they wanted to visit. The government’s embargo on their travelling to certain areas makes staisfying these clients very problematic.