Saturday, September 19, 2020

Taking the hotel to Botswana bushes

BY PATIENCE RADISOENG

Tourists who wish to swap night city lights for natural one from moon and stars will have to look no further than Botswana, a local safari company – Going Africa Safaris and Tours has aid.

Instead of staying at permanent lodges, Going Africa Safaris and Tours says part of its services offers both local and international tourists an opportunity to move around and experience the best game viewing by providing a mobile tented lodging.

“In mobile tented lodging we provide accommodation be it in the bush or just at the customer’s destination choice.

We call it “taking the hotel to the bush” because of the luxury service we provide. This can be corporate retreats, outdoor conferencing, or any other event such as Khawa, Makgadikgadi epic and many more,” said the Managing Director of the company, Amina Sebele.

Sebele also added that her company also provides safari service for inbound tourists arranging their packages and itineraries, to see the beauty of Botswana and other neighbouring countries. And lastly Going Africa Safaris and Tours arrange corporate and educational holiday tours.

Reflecting on his earlier years, Sebele said that it was always been her dream when growing up to be a business person.

“After completing my bachelor’s degree in tourism management at Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) I then decided to look for a job before I could even think of starting my own business, since I needed a lot of experience. I then worked for about 8 years and I felt I was ready to take a risk of joining the business world,” she said

Meanwhile the Molepolole born says she now has 5 permanent employees and 20-40 casuals on every big event they have.

She noted, “Out of those casuals we have 5 ladies from Selibe Phikwe. The company has made a commitment and taken it upon itself to at least feed 5 families to help with the job losses that affected the mining town 2 years ago.”

However Sebele mentioned that she has observed few biggest challenges at the moment which include focus of local tourism products being more on the northern part of the country (Okavango delta) which most of the time congested with reservations. At the same time neighbouring South Africa is also giving local safari companies a lot of competition with low rates, as well as having international direct flight.

Further she says those challenges can be overcome if the government could promote other destinations in Botswana like Kgalagadi as it have sand dunes, the terrain and wildlife are amazing as much as Okavango delta is being promoted.

Adding that the government and private companies must empower more Batswana to run their tourism business, also the country must have a reliable local airline (Air Botswana) and have more international direct flights with a stopover at least in Botswana.

She says people are aware of her business because, “For the Local Market ÔÇô we use print media, radio, and we go to government and parastatals offices to sell our business. For Incoming market- we attend travel agents and tour operator workshops outside the country to market Botswana and our services as well as build relations with both the customers the travel business partners of those countries which are our target market for example China and European countries. We also have a website as well as Facebook page, and advertising in their local print media.”

When giving advice to budding entrepreneurs she said, “It takes passion, patience, sacrifices, focus and lot of hard work to run a business.”

In conclusion Sebele says as her company has been running since 2014 in some next years, “we see Going Africa Safaris and Tours being the largest tour operator, locally and beyond our borders.”

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Sunday Standard September 20 – 26

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 20 - 26, 2020.