Ngangane, A Game Reserve like no other

Christinah Motlhabane
IN CHARGE: Kangootui

Looking to escape the bright lights of second city life, swapping Ghetto’s hustle and bustle for the starlit serenity of the bush, then Ngangane Game Reserve is the place to be.

Located along the Old Matsiloje Road, just half-an-hour’s drive from Francistown, Ngangane was one of the area’s best kept secrets…until now.

Already a favourite with international tourists, the reserve is keen for locals to experience its splendor.

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With a capacity for 14 guests, the reserve stretches across the Tati River and is home to hundreds of wild animals, with impala, giraffe and zebra the most common, although leopards and hyena also roam the land.

During a recent media tour of the impressive facility, Voice Money sat down with 42-year-old Henry Fana Kangootui, the man charged with managing the reserve.

A larger-than-life character, this is what Kangootui had to say…

As Ngangane Game Reserve Manager, what do your daily duties involve?

Meet and greet, opening and closing, stock taking, handling petty cash and making sure that we make profit by selling quality service as well as training and supervising staff.

Before joining the Ngangane team, what were you up to?

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I have managed a few establishments before: The Old Bridge Backpackers, Jumbo Junction and Claws.

Briefly give us an idea of the establishment’s history?

It was previously owned by the Armstrongs.

Olaf and Maria Mulder (a German and Spanish couple) bought the lodge in 2014.

It then took six years of hard work and dedication to renovate the lodge and reintroduce certain wildlife back onto the property.

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Situated about 40km south of Francistown with its 17, 000 hectares (42, 000 acres), Ngangane is one of the largest family-run conservatives in Botswana.

It is made up of a variety of habitants as it is situated in the wetter part of Botswana.

It is traversed by the Tati River, a heaven for antelopes like kudus or oryx, giraffes and carnivores like leopard and hyena.

Ngangane Lodge is comprised of seven en suite rooms.

Exclusivity is therefore guaranteed, accommodating a maximum of only 14 guests at a time.

What can guests expect when staying with you?

Besides quality accommodation and excellent food, we offer hunting, game drives, e-bikes as well as self-drive game drives and walking safari.

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We don’t have any elephants, lions or hippos, so the reserve is safe to explore.

With what you offer, what gap is Ngangane filling in the market?

In Francistown, we don’t have many private reserves that offer game drives, e-bikes and self-drive; traditionally tourists have to go to Maun or Kasane for such activities: not anymore!

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Where do you want to see the Reserve in the next five years?

I would like to see Ngangane grow reputation of the lodge and add more rooms as well as introduce Rhinos to this part of the country.

What sets the place apart from the rest?

I think we are the only reserve that offers self-drive with our Suzuki, whereby you are given a map and a radio to drive around the farm alone.

Who are your clients?

Mostly Europeans but we want to tap into the local market.

I think they are happy with the quality service that we provide as proven by the reviews that we get.

Are there any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives you are currently engaged in?

Besides employment, we have programmes for kids to come and learn about conservation through game drives and educational games at Ngangane.

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What are the biggest daily challenges Ngangane faces?

Poor network in Ngangane, hence the use of WhatsApp and Emails.

Also, doing shopping in town as and when the demand arises, especially when it comes to fresh produce.

In a nutshell, how is life at Ngangane?

It is great; the down side is being away from our families as we stay for long periods without meeting them.

But they do visit on school holidays and whenever we take our leave and off days.

And on a personal note, when you’re not managing the reserve, what keeps you busy?

Besides work, Ngangane has a social soccer team of employees and they participate in local tournaments.

PERSONAL PROFILE

NAMES: Henry Fana Kangootui
DOB: 22-06-81
POB: Charleshill
FAV MEAL: T.bone + chips with salads
FAV DRINK: Gin and tonic

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