Welcome To Botswana
On November 10th, the government of Botswana announced that we would finally be re-opening our borders to tourism. Today, that dream became a reality. Tourists have already flocked in from all over the world, from long term safari-goers, desperate to see Botswana’s unrivalled wilderness even more wild after near-to-no tourism for 7-months, to first time visitors, who have only heard the rumours. Without the presence of tourists, the grass has grown taller, animals stroll through camps unfazed, and the hippos have grown even more temperamental than usual. But it has been, as with the rest of the world, a very difficult time for this country.
The Okavango Delta from above. This rich tapestry of habitats is unlike anywhere else on earth. Photo credit: Hannah Gormley
The preservation and conservation of the Okavango Delta has created economic security and dramatically improved the livelihoods of those that live in Maun. Tourism is the second biggest employer in Botswana and an invaluable contribution to the economy. It provides stable jobs to countless Motswana, who live in and around the Delta, and brings the funding that supports the regional development of schools, hospitals and other government institutions. However, during these trying times, most lodges and tourist facilities have been forced to close their gates and place their loyal staff on leave, unable to operate with little to no income coming in.
Tourism has opened just in time for the lush, rainy season dominated with the arrival of new life. Photo by Hannah Gormley
Not only has Coronavirus had tragic consequences for individuals, their families, and the wider economy that relies on tourism, but also for the Delta itself. To put it in the words of Tico McNutt, founder of the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust: “conservation in any conservation effort anywhere in the world, whether directed at an endangered species or tropical forest, will depending on the social and economic security of the people that live directly in its shadow”. This is where you come in. At the core of every documentary we make is a message of conservation: see these incredible animals yourself, visit Botswana and save the Okavango Delta. This has never been more important.
Botswana is home to the largest number of elephants left on our fragile planet. Photo credit: Liz Johnston
Tourism is the justification, if ever one was needed, to save the Okavango Delta. Beyond providing stable jobs and economic security to North-western Botswana, the Delta is a vast carbon store, buffeting against climate change that will no doubt impact our country, and the home to countless of increasingly endangered animals. Today, we couldn’t be prouder that the country we call home has the largest concentrations of elephant and cheetah left on this planet. With your help, this pristine environment may just continue to be so. So, please, visit Botswana, support local and see our incredible country for yourself. In doing so, you’ll improve the livelihoods of countless Motswana and help save the Okavango Delta. I don’t think tourism gets any better than that!
Written by Hannah Gormley