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Wilderness Safaris to procure more local products

Publishing Date : 05 December, 2017


Wilderness Safaris’ Botswana Managing Director, Kim Nixon has revealed that they intend to get the community to be more involved in production of supplies currently being imported from neighbouring countries like South Africa.

While the company does use products and services from local suppliers, the company is of the view that it can do more to create employment in other sectors which are not necessarily in the line of ecotourism. The main project that Wilderness wants to focus on is soap production. They intend to involve community trusts in this business so that they run it. “Our main role will be to provide them with captive market,” Nixon revealed. He pointed out that Wilderness Safaris in Botswana spends in excess of P1 million annually in procurement of soap. He said if they are to include other concessions and accessories the figure to go to over P3 million annually.

According to Nixon they could get soap companies to collaborate and ensure that they supply the tourism industry in Botswana with these soaps and related products. The Wilderness Safaris Managing Director – Botswana indicated that they are currently working with the Okavango Community Trust (OCT) in Sankoyo to identify four people who will be sent to South Africa for training. “As soon as they complete the training we will bring them back home to start the soap production company,” he said.

Wilderness Safaris will put money into the business and arrange a proper facility through which the money will be repaid as soon as the business is up and running. “The biggest problem with community projects has been financial mismanagement hence we are prepared to get our experts to help run these businesses until community people are ready to take up the lead operationally,” Nixon said.

Nixon further indicated they are currently sourcing most of their soap from South Africa and “it would nice to spend all this money in the local market.”  However he revealed that there are some products they are already procuring locally. He said two companies in Maun are already supplying them with Lettice and Cucumber, “we are determined to support the local community.” Furthermore boats they currently using for their guests are sourced from Ali Boats and another company.

Wilderness Safaris uses Land Rover 4x4s for game drives and the vehicles are procured locally and re-designed by a local company in Maun. Wilderness spends almost P700 000 on each of the vehicles which are spread to the different camps in Botswana. According to Nixon there is another opportunity in the trucking business which he said local truckers should take advantage of. “We transport a lot of supplies to the camp sites on a regular business hence there is need for transport in this business.

We want reliable companies to transport our supplies to the campsites. We do carry even perishables and we do not want a truck to break down with such supplies frequently, it will hurt our business. We need reliable truckers who will ensure our supplies reach our campsites,” he said. Wilderness Holdings had its formal beginnings in Botswana in 1983. As a Botswana company, listed on the Botswana stock Exchange, with a secondary inward listing on the JSE Limited, Wilderness wants to make sound investment in local communities.

The company acts as the investment holding vehicle for the business. The Company operates on 622 000 hectares of land in Botswana.  Wilderness is also involved in helping villages that surround its concessions through the Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) policy.



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