Whereas 2016 was a low year for Botswana’s economy with thousands of job losses and dis-investment of major business giants, 2017 has begun with positive news.
While the Tourism & hospitality industry itself experienced significant headline administrative issues with the Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) making rounds with negative reports to the travel and tours space, rankings making headlines in 2017 place the landlocked Botswana at high ranks of best travel destinations of both 2016 and entering into 2017.
The New York Times places Botswana as the world’s firth most desirable place to visit in 2017. According to an article published on the 4th of January titled 52 places to GO in 2017, Botswana’s Okavango Delta which is populated with lions, elephants and species unique to the only inland delta in the world resembles the red lechwe.
“Expect safaris on boats with built-in camera mounts (when water levels allow) and a chance to see the descendants of Ma di Tau, the star of “The Last Lions,” reads the article. The New York times places Canada as the best place to go in 2017. Another international media company, CNN observes The Sanctuary Chief's Camp as one the top 5 best new luxury safaris in Africa , articulating that it offers top notch post-safari pampering “For anyone looking for a spot of pampering after a long day's lion-, leopard- and giraffe-spotting, Sanctuary Chief's Camp, situated in the Okavango Delta's Moremi Game Reserve, deliverer,” it states.
The lodge which was completely rebuilt in 2016, is home to 12 pavilions, each with a private pool and outside seating area, with special features like the Geoffrey Kent Luxury Suite sleeps six people and comes with its own private bar, kitchen, waiter, guide and safari vehicle.
One of the world well respected ranking and analysis magazine, the Forbes magazine singled out Botswana alongside the Democratic Republic of Congo as two African countries that made it to the publication’s list of The 10 Coolest Places to Go In 2017.
Forbes highlighted Botswana for its elephant population – about 130,000, known to be the biggest in Africa – and its government's continued commitment towards its hunting ban. “In effect since 2014, it was imposed after the decline of several wildlife species in the country he safari camps in Botswana's Okavango Delta are some of the best accommodations to see these majestic animals” it observed. In September, luxury safari lodge Belmond Eagle Island Lodge opened in the Delta. It offers visitors a horse ride through the wilderness before whisking them away by private helicopter for an aerial safari.
As if that was not enough, 2017 hot travel destinations analysis in “The Australian” a renowned weekend newspaper in Australia observes Botswana as the next big thing in the hospitality and tourism space.
It notes that Botswana’s continued development of calm and exclusive safaris and game camps singles it out as the upcoming tourist attraction of the world. “There’s a general resurgence, but Botswana is increasing at a much faster pace. It’s made the decision to go after small-scale luxury tourism, and that’s exactly what people are looking for.
They don’t want to go where the masses are, they want a sense of exclusivity. The game viewing is exceptional but perhaps not as prolific as in other parts of Africa so you need to search it out, which makes it more exciting. It also means you have to have a high-caliber guide,” notes The Australia.
Luxuries Travel Intelligence (LTI) Agency also named Botswana Lodge Finline Fields as world’s best new safari in 2016.The Lodge is the ultimate private African safari experience. Located in the heart of the truly spectacular and unique Kalahari landscape, it will inspire even the well-travelled and renew the spirit of all who visit. The Lodge was envisioned to be the ‘perfect’ safari camp. It embodies authenticity, luxury and simplicity to create a lodge that has been thoughtfully planned to be as environmentally sensitive as possible.
Botswana’s unique and the world‘s only and largest inland delta the Okavango was listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site inscription in 2014. It is believed that the recognition could be placing Botswana into a more comfortable place in the world travel and tours space. Ever since the listing the Okavango delta has been receiving the most luxuries safari development and number of tourists visiting has increased tremendously.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.