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MASHATU PROMOTES CULTURE TOURISM



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BENEFICIARIES: Basket Weavers

Mashatu Game reserve a subsidiary of Botswana Development Corporation has taken a leap in promoting local culture thus empowering the locals of Motlhabaneng village and subsequently diversifying the tourism sector.
According to the camp manager Bobson Kontle the tours include Mmamakwa ruins in Motlhabaneng village, the kgotla, primary school, cattle post and Mlala wine making. 
During the tour, tourists experience the culture of the local people. The reserve gives some of the profits back to the community. Wine making seems to be a hit with tourists as they are able to taste locally brewed wine from palm trees. The wine is produced by one of the local women thus benefiting from the project. At the primary school, children provide traditional dance of which according to Kontle, tourists normally join in the dance. Asked if they don’t view it as exploitation of children Kontle explained that this is done with the consent of the parents and the school benefit a lot from the activities. “Tourists can also buy baskets weaved by local women.  Most of them bring gifts for school children including books and other accessories.” Kontle revealed.
Residents, Kontle said, have full ownership of the projects while Mashatu assist by ferrying tourists to the respective destination. “The traditional way of milking cows, eating sour milk and seeing livestock grazing is what tourists experience when they visit Moraka.”
BDC with some of its profits have managed to plough back P20, 000 to Basket weaving projects to fence and build a storeroom for their products.
The reserve has also a research project in which tourists are offered an opportunity to accompany researchers on elephant and predator research. The reserve supports the researchers by giving them free accommodation inclusive of meals.The media tour to Mashatu was organized courtesy of BDC which is celebrating 40 years  of existence.