Botswana: Team Promotes Local Tourism

Gaborone — The epic road travel by the Rediscover Botswana team can be an inspiration to those who wish to travel around the country but do not have the courage to do so.

The team led by two media personalities, also avid travellers, Thalefang Charles and Sonny Serite unearths the country's tourist attractions and heritage sites through their 8 000km tour around Botswana, raising awareness about the country's tourism product offering.

The journey which started at Matsieng Creation Site in the Kgatleng District has seen the team traversing through the scenic sand dunes and salt pans of the Kgalagadi which they describe as a gem waiting to be explored.

In an interview, Charles said their travel came with invaluable life experience filled with unforgettable moments brought about by exploring among others new places. He said with travelling, one experienced things they could have never experienced at home, got to see beautiful places and landscapes and try new activities.

Charles talked about camel riding to which he credited the Camel Park in Tsabong. He said with camel rides, they experienced beautiful views of wildlife and the landscape. The team could not have left the place without having tasted the much sought-after camel milk which is said to be rich in nutrients.

Sharing what he learned about the history of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Charles said before, it was called Gemsbok National Park in Botswana and Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa. The name Gemsbok was derived from the thriving population of Gemsboks in the park. "Gemsboks are desert specialists. They can survive for long time without drinking water. They are the face of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park," he said.

He also explained that three-quarters of the park was in Botswana and one-quarter in South Africa. The park is situated in the extreme southwest of Botswana sharing the border with South Africa. Also in their travels, the team share insight on how some places came to being or how they acquired their names in this instance Bokspits. "This borehole belonged to a certain gentleman called Bok and the villagers fetched water from his borehole (pit) hence the name Bokspits. This is where Bokspits derives its name," Serite said in his some of the insights.

After traversing the desert, the team could not resist the temptation to see the water filling up Lake Ngami in Toteng. That beautiful sight as explained by Charles brought excitement to the whole team.

With abundant water, Lake Ngami is a source of a bustling fish industry, supplying countries such as Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has been listed as a birding area because of the migrating birds that pass through it.

The lake is a lifeline to the communities of villages around that include Toteng, Sehithwa, Bodibeng and Bothatogo. According to Charles, Lake Ngami used to serve as a market place for both the inhabitants and the explorers who traded in ivory and other things. The lake which starts from Toteng stretches for about 30 kilometres. "We went all the way to Toteng where the two rivers; Kunyere and Nhabe meet and takes the water to Lake Ngami," he said.

On day nine of the trip, they visited Gchwihaba Caves. Serite shared that because of some misinformation that the road to Gchwihaba Caves had a difficult terrain, many people lost on the opportunity to visit. "Take it from me, all roads to Ghwihaba are smooth sailing not just for our special off-roaders but for any 4x4 and I can tell you any good driver would arrive there without engaging four wheel drive even once," he said

The team was taken through by a team of guides who explained in detail the history of the caves. As for the fascinating structures and features of Ghwihaba caves, the team said it was best for one to discover the unexplainable breath taking moments.

"What I can tell you about Ghwihaba Caves is that no photography or write-up can best describe how it is. You just need to go there and experience it. It is so mind blowing. The place is just breathtakingly amazing."

They also had an opportunity to explore the oldest ritual site Tsodilo Hills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with ancient paintings which show some art form of communication.

For accommodation, they also explored camping and lodging in facilities to show that with either option, one can still get the most authentic experience in their quest to rediscover Botswana.

The team is also expected to make stop overs at places such as the Okavango Eastern Panhandle, Maun, Makgadikgadi Pans, Tuli, Tswapong Hills, Bangwato Heritage trail and the CKGR among others before their final destination at the Three Dikgosi Monument on August 27th.

The trip is sponsored by Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) in collaboration with the country's various Tourism Associations as well as Mascom, Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Bushtrackers and Teraffou.

Source : BOPA

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