Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Mashatu moves to differentiate itself from competition

Mashatu, the tourism flag ship in the eastern corner of Botswana, said bookings are normalising after a slump in the travel market, but has weathered the storm because its product uniqueness.
Bobson Kontle, Camp Manager of the game reserve, said the month of August has seen a peak in the industry that was affected by global recession.
“The recession indeed affected us as we experienced a lot of cancellations. Things have picked up after we were quiet during the World Cup in June. It is looking good again,” Kontle told Sunday Standard.
The game reserve is doing a couple of researches that are the envy of the industry, including the predatory research that is a tourist favourite and elephant population research.
“We do not compete with the Big 5. We are classifying ourselves as an adventure destination,” he added.
Unlike other destinations in the country, including the pristine hotspots in The Okavango Delta, Mashatu does not have the buffalos and rhinos, but it has the rest of animals classified as big five.  
The game reserve, which is partly owned by the Botswana Development Corporation (33 percent) does cultural adventure in the local village of Motlhabaneng.
At this small village, tourists visit Bushmen paintings, women weavers, a local farmer and, in return, these villages get a fee.
Apart from the conventional vehicle safaris, it also provides mountain bike safaris where tourists alongside the camp’s wilderness trail guides tracks elephant paths.
It also provides a wilderness walk at which tourists sleep in the bush under a multi day safari.
The major project going at Mashatu is The Central Limpopo River Valley  Elephant Research Project. It has been ongoing for more than 10 years and examines the population dynamics and movement patterns of the elephants in the Tuli.
The Tuli area is one of Botswana’s high elephant concentration areas apart from the Chobe area.┬á The project comes along the predator research at Mashatu.
It primarily focuses on lions and leopards. This is top list of the tourist activities at the game reserve.
Mashatu has 14 rooms that can take 28 people sharing after it downsized in 2003. Kontle explained the move was to create a personal experience at the 4 star facility as, previously, there were many people and running more like a hotel. 
Just like the many accommodation facilities in the country, Mashatu, the tourism outfit  in the eastern corner of Botswana did not get much from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Bobson Kontle, Camp Manager of the game reserve said this week that they were quiet during the one month of  the soccer tournament, coupled with the recession that kept most tourists away.


Read this week's paper