Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Makgadikgadi Epic gobbles P4.1 million of taxpayers’ money

Makgadikgadi Epic, a sky diving fun event that was held at Nata Bird Sanctuary and Race for Rhino held at Lekhubu Islands organised by Botswana Tourism Board has cost  government P4.1 million.

Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama revealed the costs on Monday in Parliament when answering a question from Member of Parliament for Boteti East Sethomo Lelatisitswe.

Lelatisitswe had wanted to know how much government had spent in the last preparations of Makgadikgadi Epic hosted in Lekhubu Island and Nata Sanctuary.

He also wanted to know how the two trusts in Mmatshumo and Nata Villages were engaged in the preparations, and how much was planted back in monetary form to the concerned community trusts.

Minister Khama said the Nata Conservation Trust was granted P77 000 and Gain-o-ng Community Trust got P82 000.

An economic survey report was undertaken for  Makgadikgadi Epic 2015 and estimated that the total revenue earned for Makgadikgadi Epic was estimated at P3 million.

However an economic survey assessment was not undertaken for Race for Rhino. The Minister said it is so because it was the inaugural event.

The Ministry is expected to conduct an economic survey assessment in the second year of the Race for Rhino this year.

The two events are expected to come back again this year. Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism is responsible for undertaking both the  Makgadikgadi Epic and Race for Rhino in Lekhubu Island.

Once a year the salt pans are swarmed by diving enthusiasts from SADC and beyond looking to enjoy the many activities on offer at this epic event. The event combines skydiving, quad biking, boat rides across the massive water-filled pans, with a bit of nature walking and bird watching in a picturesque location.

The main draw card to the event is undeniably the skydiving and tandem jumps that offer a unique view of the magnificent Makgadikgadi area with the rush of the extreme sport that is skydiving.

Last year’s three day event, which was held from the second to the fourth of October, brought together 68 professional skydivers from different countries including Botswana, South Africa, United Kingdom, Dubai and Germany. Among them was the internationally acclaimed and Emmy nominated celebrity skydiver, Olav Zipser. The event also drew hordes of first time divers and novices who took part in the tandem jumps that were open to the public.

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