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luangwablondes

End of Self Drive in Botswana?

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I received an email Friday afternoon:

 

Hi all

tourism had a meeting last Friday. They want to close all self drives in Botswana and only lodges and safari companies will be allowed to take pax into the parks.

 

A representative for all the self drives, Deon, is going to the presidents office on monday so we are looking for as much info as we can.

 

Please let me know how many pax/vehicles you are excepting for 2010 , as this will effect everyone. food stores, employment, breakdowns, fuel sales, park entrance etc..

We need to give them as much info as we can to plead our case.

Do you think you can let me know by this afternoon.

many thanks

brenda

 

An action like this includes eliminating even the Botswanans from the parks. It touches people across the country who work in small businesses throughout Botswana. Butcheries, fuel stations, Community Trusts, 4x4 hire companies, garages, campsites, b&Bs...... it will put many places out of business, reduce employment throughout the country. This is not just a couple hundred self drives, but thousands that will be eliminated. Many people who return to Botswana to visit a couple times a year, every year.

 

The Self drive and companies that are affected are not organised like the safari industry, who already has the ear of the ministry. I am not looking forward to the results of a Monday meeting.

 

If anyone who will be self driving in Botswana this year would like to comment and have it reach the proper spokesperson, you can email it to me and I am consolidating and forwarding them. I've suggested including information like this:

 

1. How often do you visit Botswana

2. Where do you go

3. How long

4. How much money do you spend on:

a - Fuel

b - Food & sundries

c - Accommodation

d) activities- mokoro, flips, boat cruise, etc.

 

comment on support of Community cultural activities, ceremonies, tours

support of local small Botswana businesses in villages and towns along

the way

interaction with locals

Would you visit Botswana if you could not self drive?

 

Please email your comments Sunday Botswana time, as early as possible, so I can forward to them for the Monday meeting.

 

Thanks all

Robbie

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My goodness, they sound serious and you have to wonder why the government thinks it's such a good idea. Not planning a trip so I can't provide any info but I hope others can.

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So this scheme has legs. Really shocking and a move in the wrong direction IMO.

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Putting it in perspective. How would you feel about it if all the parks in the USA could not be entered except with a lodge or 'safari company'? That you could no longer drive around on your own or go camping in those parks except in the company of a guide, their vehicle, and other people stuffed in with you. That those hiking/camping or boat and fishing trips you enjoyed with friends and family for years now require a guide.

 

That seems to be what the lodges and safari companies in Botswana want to do. You know it won't be cheap either.

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LB,

 

By safari companies, you mean the mobile operators? If my interpretation of the various media articles is correct, mobile operators won't be impacted by the ruling, except, new licenses etc etc., may be hard for them to secure (new mobile operators)?

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Well I suppose this had to be expected, it is an absolute disgrace.

 

Anyone with any knowledge (i.e. Harry Oppenheomer Okavango Research), will tell you that Self-Drive "spend the least, but most of the money is spent locally"!

 

This is just self-serving elitism, from a clique that run the country for their own and their relatives enrichment.

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Putting it in perspective. How would you feel about it if all the parks in the USA could not be entered except with a lodge or 'safari company'? That you could no longer drive around on your own or go camping in those parks except in the company of a guide, their vehicle, and other people stuffed in with you. That those hiking/camping or boat and fishing trips you enjoyed with friends and family for years now require a guide.

 

That seems to be what the lodges and safari companies in Botswana want to do. You know it won't be cheap either.

 

This is a great way of putting it. However, I have serious doubts that many Americans that travel to Africa have ever even been to their own parks, so this perspective could sound foreign to them. If they have, why do so many of them suddenly expect to have such luxury in a similar African context?

 

I've personally been considering a self-drive trip in Botswana in August but to be honest I don't want to start planning it if it's already too late.

 

I refuse to spend the kind of money needed to experience the Botswanan parks through a safari company, and I have the money to do so. If I can't have the opportunity to self-drive in their parks, I won't go. It's that simple. There's plenty of other places I can go and spend my American dollars and I know I will enjoy it just as much.

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However, I have serious doubts that many Americans that travel to Africa have ever even been to their own parks, so this perspective could sound foreign to them.

 

For the record, my other hobby besides traveling to Africa is walking around parks closer to home in the US and picking up garbage.

 

Agreed this Botswana ruling is astounding and a terrible slap to those who love nature and do not demand luxury.

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This was bad news...

 

Any news on the outcome of the monday meeting?

 

/Tom

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There is a meeting yet today. So I will update once there is something to offer.

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Ken,

 

I will check with Ewan and others while on the mobile, about this situation and see what they have to say.

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Thank you for any updates.

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this week's Ngami Times. The safari operators spoke their piece last week . A couple days ago, a representative of the self drive in Botswana had their meeting.

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“I will not put personal issues before the interest of the country,”

 

What about the dynasty, I wonder?

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Luangwablondes, I've only just got back and read the bad news. If you need any comment from someone who hires and buys everything (except Insurance) in Botswana when self driving let me know. Sorry I wasn't here lat Friday.

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This is absolute madness.

 

Also, with Zimbabwe putting its camping fees up large swathes of southern Africa are going to price themselves out of the local tourism market.

 

Botswana needs to take a long hard look at South Africa and see that you can have well-run parks which are environmentally sustainable (in fact, parks like Kruger are a showpiece of conservation, no matter how many people visit them) and profitable.

 

To be honest, I always though Botswana National Parks self drive entry and camping fees were a joke - too expensive and poor valute for money. Ironically, this year I have booked some campsites and was going to give the country a good go - I was going to try and convince myself that I was wrong and that Botswana could be a good self drive destination.

 

My experience in the past with certain lodges and operators in Moremi is that the drivers drive off road too much, harrass the wildlife unecessarily and that there seemed to be a total absence of parks rangers on the ground policing and caring for the local environment.

 

Botswana's been long on hype and short on value for money for years, so this is really just a natural evolution of its elitist, inward-looking and short-term policies.

 

Watch all that tourism money dry up, Botswana, next time the world financial or security situation takes a dive and the rich tourists stop flying to AFrica.

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Tony, I wish you'd say what you really think!!! :D

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Just picking up on this old thread...

 

Well self drive tourism is still happening in Botswana's national parks, but it's getting so expensive I reckon it's not worth it.

 

We checked Savuti and found that management of the campsite has been handed over to a private operator and for foreigners like us it was going to cost us someting like US$50 per person per night to camp there. We thought that was too much, but it was academic as we were told the camp site was full.

 

When we passed through (recently) we found the campsite was completely empty, although the guy in charge maintained it was fully booked and people would arrive later in the day.

 

Looking around, the members of our little convoy all decided we were pleased we hand't been able to book it.

 

Far better - and much cheaper at around US$20 per person per night, with no national parks fees, was the Khwai Community Development campsite on the northern border of Moremi. Paradise at a reasonable price.

 

Someone asked on another thread recently if Botswana should be boycotted because of the country's treatment of its San people. I say boycot their national parks because they're too expensive - and a bit overrated if you ask me.

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Posted (edited)

Tony,

 

That's what's exactly happening at the very moment. Look at some recent changes and you can easily see where their trouble is coming from. :lol:

Edited by johan db

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The Khwai Development Trust is in the process of gating off the Trust to campers at their campsites and the lodges, it looks like. The roads have been going in so that there is a route around to the Khwai village and on to the park. So once the roads are finished, no more driving along that game rich section of the Khwai River on the way in and out of Moremi, unless you are staying in the Trust.

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Luangwablondes,

 

This has been told to me since 2008 ... so finally it will happen.

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As long as I can still camp at Khwai I'm happy.

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There's been talk last year of a proposed increase in Park Entry fees in Botswana - but these have not been increased as yet.

They are currently (for foreigners) P120 per person per day and P50 per vehicle per day. I presume this may increase from December.. we'll see!

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I received an email Friday afternoon:

 

Hi all

tourism had a meeting last Friday. They want to close all self drives in Botswana and only lodges and safari companies will be allowed to take pax into the parks.

 

A representative for all the self drives, Deon, is going to the presidents office on monday so we are looking for as much info as we can.

 

Please let me know how many pax/vehicles you are excepting for 2010 , as this will effect everyone. food stores, employment, breakdowns, fuel sales, park entrance etc..

We need to give them as much info as we can to plead our case.

Do you think you can let me know by this afternoon.

many thanks

brenda

 

An action like this includes eliminating even the Botswanans from the parks. It touches people across the country who work in small businesses throughout Botswana. Butcheries, fuel stations, Community Trusts, 4x4 hire companies, garages, campsites, b&Bs...... it will put many places out of business, reduce employment throughout the country. This is not just a couple hundred self drives, but thousands that will be eliminated. Many people who return to Botswana to visit a couple times a year, every year.

 

The Self drive and companies that are affected are not organised like the safari industry, who already has the ear of the ministry. I am not looking forward to the results of a Monday meeting.

 

If anyone who will be self driving in Botswana this year would like to comment and have it reach the proper spokesperson, you can email it to me and I am consolidating and forwarding them. I've suggested including information like this:

 

1. How often do you visit Botswana

2. Where do you go

3. How long

4. How much money do you spend on:

a - Fuel

b - Food & sundries

c - Accommodation

d) activities- mokoro, flips, boat cruise, etc.

 

comment on support of Community cultural activities, ceremonies, tours

support of local small Botswana businesses in villages and towns along

the way

interaction with locals

Would you visit Botswana if you could not self drive?

 

Please email your comments Sunday Botswana time, as early as possible, so I can forward to them for the Monday meeting.

 

Thanks all

Robbie

 

 

Sorry I missed all this Robbie.

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Putting it in perspective. How would you feel about it if all the parks in the USA could not be entered except with a lodge or 'safari company'? That you could no longer drive around on your own or go camping in those parks except in the company of a guide, their vehicle, and other people stuffed in with you. That those hiking/camping or boat and fishing trips you enjoyed with friends and family for years now require a guide.

 

That seems to be what the lodges and safari companies in Botswana want to do. You know it won't be cheap either.

 

Very good and descriptive analysis. I think it is horrible. It almost sems as if the government wants to turn over running the parks to private contractors eventually. A very bad move for what I believed was one of the better run democracies on the African comtinent.

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