Monday, September 28, 2020

Monster inferno torches CKGR, grazing fields

Tourists planning to vacation at the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve may find themselves walking ashen grounds with not wildlife.
This comes after more than 80 percent of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana, the world’s largest wildlife park, was destroyed by fires in the past two weeks. One of the camps inside the CKGR, the Phokoje camp, has been razed by the inferno.

“It is a huge, huge chunk of land,” Gantsi District commissioner, Jefferson Siamisang, said this week. CKGR wildlife has fled the game reserve driven away by the veldfire that has consumed chunks of the Kweneng and Kgalagadi Districts.

Scores of cattle farmers have also found themselves with no grazing fields after pastures were consumed by the monster inferno.

Aerial tours had shown that animals fled into safe zones and no wildlife deaths have been reported. But the vegetation, which offers shelter from the scorching desert heat and grazing, had been greatly affected.

The reserve, which covers 52000 square kilometers, is the pride of Botswana, boasting hundreds of wildlife species and a serene environment that attracts tourists from around the world.
Siamisang said the cause of these particular fires had not yet been identified.

Botswana Tourism Board spokesperson Keitumetse Setlang said the whole industry was “worried” about the fires because of the damage to tourism. Setlang, however, told Sunday Standard that tour operators are offering alternative packages to tourists who had book to vacation at the CKGR. She said the PR had been so good that cancellations were insignificant.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.