Going wild for BW

Francinah Baaitse Mmana
REMOTE PARADISE: Jao Camp, one of OWS' lodges

In a bid to promote homegrown businesses, this December, Okavango Wilderness Safaris (OWS) will host a first-of-its-kind expo, giving local enterprises a platform to showcase their products.

The event is aimed at lending a helping hand to Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) in Botswana that have footprints in the tourism and safari industries.

Announcing the initiative at a recent stakeholders’ cocktail dinner in Maun to celebrate 40 years in the travel and hospitality industry, OWS Board Chairperson, Kabelo Binns, explained the company are looking for more ways to empower locals.

“We are open for local business, is the message I want you to take away; we want the very best of what Botswana can offer,” declared Binns, noting OWS already source some of its products locally but are determined to increase this.

Areas the safari outfit will be looking within BW for supply include: soap for the lodges, special food stuff, jewellery, music, culture and spices.

“Our business creates value for wilderness and wildlife, employment and small business support and reduce reliance on natural resources,” said Binns.

- Advertisement -

Founded in 1983 with its offices in Maun, in its four decades of existence to date, Wilderness Safaris has actively contributed to conservation, community development and the country’s economy.

The lodge operators’ empire includes 13 luxury camps, located in remote, rural areas in the Okavango, on land set aside for tourism purposes.

According to Binns, such areas have very few sustainable economic alternatives, with communities suffering from limited access to education, healthcare and basic utilities.

“This leads to heavy reliance on the environment, which can be a threat to biodiversity conservation. But these areas and the people living in and around them are the foundations of our business and so our Impact Strategy is designed and implemented in an effort to provide promising opportunities and address key threats to biodiversity,” stated the Chair.

He revealed OWS does this in three ways: Empowerment – through employment and buying from local businesses, Education – through conservation education in schools, and Staff Development agenda.

The company has also invested millions of Pula in conservation and promotion of co-existence of wildlife and people.

- Advertisement -

Wilderness is one of the leading conservation and hospitality companies in Africa, with operations in eight countries across the continent as well as offices overseas, including in United States of America and the United Kingdom.

Currently it employs 1, 100 employees in Botswana alone, with 96 percent of them being citizens.

Share This Article
Leave a comment