Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO), set up by the government to market tourist products and to grade and classify tourist accommodation as well promote investment in the tourism sector, recently took pride in hosting the South African and Pretoria-based motor biking club dubbed Tshwane Legends Bikers Club (TLBC). TLBC, which is a friendly, diverse group including a wide range of ages, ethnicities and professions who find common ground in a love of biking has strategically partnered with local bikers known as the Three Chiefs and recently included Botswana in their five country tour across the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).
Aptly prompted by the KAZA TFCA goal, which is to sustainably manage the Kavango Zambezi eco-system, its heritage and cultural resources based on best conservation and tourism models for the socio-economic wellbeing of the communities and other stakeholders in and around the eco-region through harmonization of policies, strategies and practices, the bikers recently visited all the countries.
The countries in the conservation area include Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola. BTO who are entrusted with opening avenues for both international and local tourism saw 65 motor bikers travel through Botswana with the Chobe river boat cruise being the highlight of their ‘fantastic’ trip.
Although South Africa does not form part of the KAZA TFCA, the TLBC leadership believes that they need to promote the SADC region through inspiring travel hence the need to include even areas outside the KAZA TFCA such as Mozambique among others.
Speaking during their Gaborone stopover over the weekend, TLBC’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ernest Mokganedi said they took the decision to embark on a cross region motorbike tour to promote and enhance cross border tourism in the SADC region as well as expose the individual bikers to the untapped tourist destinations in the varied region, some of which they have never been to before.
Furthermore, Mokganedi added that they wanted to create an unending buzz around the African tourism sector. The 65 bikers with the support of five Jeep Wrangler Rubicons stayed in Kasane and Francistown before lodging at Masa Square Hotel in Gaborone’s Central Business District (CBD).
“The main highlight of our Botswana trip was an invigorating boat cruise in the Chobe River in Kasane. The main purpose of the tour was to simply expose all bikers to the many different and diverse countries. From South Africa we went to Namibia, Angola and back to Namibia before coming into Botswana. From Botswana, we went to Zambia with Zimbabwe being the last country before crossing back into Botswana again using the Francistown route. Today, we are in Gaborone. This is the first time we have done five countries. Let me just say the Botswana entry points are fantastic but your drivers on the road are horrible. This is the only thing that the country needs to get right. We are thankful to our strategic partner bikers club, Three Chiefs and we want to expand biking in the whole of southern Africa,” said Mokganedi.
The chairperson of the Three Chiefs Bikers Club, Tebogo Ferguson-Mokobi was truly thrilled about the idea of travelling all the five countries within a short period of time which also involved profiling each and every venue the bikers stopped at. Even though she was not part of the just ended tour, Ferguson-Mokobi said she will in future join the group adding that it is truly a “beautiful” experience for every passionate biker.
“We want to use this opportunity to explore other countries where under normal circumstances we doubt we will be able to. Biking is a sport that is growing in Botswana. Even though it is not a cheap sport, priorities differ and I urge Batswana who fancy the sport to join different clubs in large numbers. We need all the numbers to travel and explore unknown territories as well as sell our country to the rest of the world,” said Ferguson-Mokobi.
BTO hosted a luncheon for all the bikers. Quizzed why the organization saw the need to welcome the bikers to Botswana, BTO’s PRO Samuel Lephalo said cross border tourism improves cross border movement and also avails an opportunity in the region to get to understand and appreciate the diverse tourism offering and cultural experiences across the various destinations in the region.
Furthermore, Lophalo said the tour showed the positive and efficient relations shared by the countries within the KAZA TFCA as the bikers successfully engaged on a 10-day tour.