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Wilderness Safaris Botswana – pioneering sustainable ecotourism since 1983

GABORONE, Botswana, November 2019 – A pioneering ecotourism company proudly founded in Botswana in 1983, Wilderness Safaris says its dedicated to the conservation of the breathtaking biodiversity of the Okavango Delta, Linyanti Wildlife Reserve and Central Kalahari Game Reserve, while empowering local communities at the same time. Beyond the countless life-changing experiences it offers guests, Wilderness Safaris continues to have a significant and meaningful positive impact on the local and national economy.

“Botswana is a must-see spectacle and Wilderness Safaris has been fortunate to have a presence in the best and most exclusive wilderness areas. The location of our camps in the country’s prolific wildlife places offers an experience that we’re constantly looking to improve, in our quest to provide our guests with life-changing journeys. Doing well enables us to create value for our stakeholders and surrounding communities, as well as continue investing in biodiversity conservation projects that contribute to the protection of these important wild areas”, says Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD, Kim Nixon.

Here is a quick rundown of how Wilderness Safaris Botswana positively impacts the country, its people and its wildlife:   

  • 1 110 staff employed, supporting an average of some eight dependents each, impacting a total of around 8 800 people.
  • Over USD10.5 million was paid in Wilderness Safaris staff salaries in 2018.
  • Partner organisation Wilderness Air Botswana owns and operates 12 Caravans, effortlessly linking an average of 60 000 passengers and guests each year between a number of distinctly different ecosystems, while ensuring comfort and safety, and maximising the time guests can enjoy on safari.  
    • The company has 22 pilots, of whom seven are local Batswana and four are female
    • 54 out of a staff of 74 are locally employed, with only 13 non-citizens
  • Wilderness Safaris Botswana owns and manages 21 world-renowned safari camps in the Okavango Delta, Linyanti and Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which help to conserve 622 300 hectares of remote wilderness areas and 20 Vulnerable and Endangered species.
  • As a responsible and leading ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris has always been focused on biodiversity conservation and mitigating any negative impacts its operations may have on the environment, through a number of proactive measures.  
    • All Wilderness Safaris camps are operated with a light environmental footprint , with 12 of its camps in Botswana being 100% solar powered, namely: Mombo, Little Mombo, King’s Pool, DumaTau, Seba, Vumbura Plains North and South, Xigera, Pelo, Kalahari Plains, Chitabe, Chitabe Lediba
    • Since the company started rolling out its investment into 100% solar camps in 2012, approximately 2 105 736 litres of diesel, which would have been used in the generation of power, has been saved. This has resulted in a saving of 5 538 tonnes of CO2
    • Since launching its plastic water bottle reduction campaign and encouraging the use of reusable water bottles, Wilderness Safaris Botswana has prevented 283 312 plastic bottles from entering landfills
    • Camp-related emissions have reduced by 6.4%
  • Wilderness Safaris has operated an in-house Training School, fully accredited by the Botswana Qualification Authority, since 2005. The school was formed in 1998 in consultation with, and at the request of, Government. To date, 415 people have been trained in a variety of career-shaping skills, thus helping to uplift communities, build careers and generate more wealth for staff, as well as assist the government achieve the localisation of the industry.
  • The company’s non-profit partner, Children in the Wilderness (CITW), is an environmental education programme. In Botswana:
    • The programme has been running for 18 years and has positively impacted over 2 100 children
    • CITW has 15 Eco-Clubs
    • Its informative and fun-filled annual camps are hosted at Wilderness Safaris and partner camps that are closed to guests for three to four days in order for CITW to run the camps
    • 180 participants have participated in YES (Youth Environmental Stewardship Programme) Camps
    • USD90 000 contributed to Botswana’s CITW Eco-Clubs and Eco-Camps over the past three-and-a-half years
    • USD48 000 contributed to community projects through CITW Botswana over the past one-and-a-half years
    • USD12 000 spent on scholarships through CITW over the past one-and-a-half years
  • Wilderness Safaris Botswana directly supports the following communities through high-end ecotourism:
    • Since 2016, Wilderness Safaris has contributed USD2 767 000 in lease fees to communities and USD1 151 000 in park fees, permits licenses and levies paid to government
    • Okavango Community Trust (OCT): Seronga, Gunotsoga, Eretsha, Beetsha and Gudigwa; Sankoyo; Habu, Tubu and  Chobe enclave villages 
    • Wilderness indirectly supports another three communities: Mabele village, Sexaxa Ward (Maun) and Shashe Ward (Maun)
    • Wilderness Safaris runs six Adult Empowerment Clubs in the villages of Habu, Shashe, Sankoyo, Kareng, Beetsha and Gunotsoga. The members are involved in various income-generating projects, including seed-to-market staple food farming, beekeeping, beadwork and weaving, knitting and wood carving, etc. 
    • The company also supports the Chobe Dry and Fresh Fish Association
  • Wilderness Safaris supports ongoing conservation and research projects in Botswana in close partnership with its non-profit partner, Wilderness Wildlife Trust. Over USD2.6 million has been spent on conservation projects since 2014 including:
  • Wilderness Safaris’ ongoing Botswana Rhino Reintroduction Project which began as far back as 1999. Run in partnership with the Botswana Government and the Wilderness Wildlife Trust, the project has seen the establishment of a healthy white rhino population in the Okavango, as well as several complex and delicate black rhino translocations, resulting in a viable population of these endangered species. The rhino are constantly monitored by the Botswana Defence Force and the Department of Wildlife and National Parks’ specialised Anti-Poaching Unit, with the support of Wilderness Safaris Rhino Monitoring Officers.
    • USD50 000 spent on a rhino darting operation that took place in June 2019 with Department of Wildlife and National Parks and Rhino Conservation Botswana
    • Over 33.6 hours spent on Anti-poaching Surveillance Flights in the past year across the Linyanti, Vumbura and Mombo concessions, contributing USD19 304
    • Dry-season herbivore aerial surveys were conducted in Mombo, Linyanti and Vumbura this year
    • Reforestation and tree-protection projects at DumaTau
    • Wilderness Safaris Botswana supported (logistical and in kind support) large carnivore camera trap surveys that were conducted by WildCRU in Vumbura, Abu/Seba and Mombo concessions
    • In 2019, Wilderness Safaris Botswana launched a biodiversity monitoring programme in the Linyanti and Vumbura concessions to help improve scientific knowledge and management of biodiversity in these areas. The first sample taken focused on selected invertebrate groups, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and fish, using pitfall traps, nets and light traps to catch the study subjects. To date the environmental team has processed 1 300 observations of 451 species; this includes 46 species of dragonflies and damselflies, 52 species of moths and butterflies, 49 species of beetles – including 17 species of dung beetles, 42 species of fish, 19 species of ants, 21 species of bugs, 8 species of gastropods, 23 species of reptiles, 7 species of frogs and 77 species of wetland plants.
  • The Wilderness Safaris Members Club was launched in Gaborone in January 2017, focusing on ensuring that like-minded African residents and safari aficionados have the opportunity to explore Wilderness Safaris’ footprint and camps at the best available rates (exclusively for African residents). The joining fee is P5 500.00 for a two-year membership, with 100% of these funds channelled directly to CITW. For more information, email safari@wilderness.co.bw.  The club currently has over 80 members

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BOTSWANAUNPLUGGED is an exclusive online news and lifestyle magazine created for upwardly mobile citizens with distinguished tastes. Based in Gaborone, Botswana; UNPLUGGED is a quintessential online news and lifestyle medium (platform) which strives to speak to the soul of the country’s upscale lifestyle by setting its sights on the passion that permeates our region.

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