Every year, scores of Batswana embark on lavish holidays abroad and in the process inject astronomical amounts of money into the economies of their host countries. Granted, there is absolutely nothing wrong in exploring the world beyond your own borders.
But wouldn’t it be wiser to explore the depths of your own backyard before checking out the neighbours’? Botswana is blessed with some of the most breath-taking sights nature has to offer that many locals have always taken for granted.
It was this sad reality that inspired the My Maun Experience. The event will be taking place for the third year running.
The week-long fun filled marathon of pure Christmas holiday bliss is the brainchild of Sixty3 Entertainment, in conjunction with D.O.C Entertainment.
“We realized it can be a bit too expensive for an ordinary Motswana to explore the delta and related tourist attraction areas on their own,” says Sixty3 Entertaiment Managing Director, Bissau Gaobakwe.
“That is part of the reason we partnered with the relevant stakeholders to come up with an affordable holiday package for everyone.”
He says as much as Batswana have been accused of overlooking the local tourism industry in favor of other countries, the huge disparity between what the local industry charges and what locals can afford has been the major deterrent.
“We need to make our tourism more attractive to Batswana,” Gaobakwe says, adding, “We cannot expect the public to conserve nature when they have little or absolutely no appreciation of it.” He says it’s about time Batswana holiday makers start investing their money here at home and appreciating the beauty the country has to offer.
“We have a jewel here that we are not even aware of,” he says.
This year’s instalment of My Maun Experience is scheduled to commence on December 26 with a road trip of branded cars driving in a convoy from Gaborone via Francistown up to Makgadikgadi pans where they will make a pit stop.
Gaobakwe says there will be a braai session before moving on to Planet Baobab in Gweta for another entertaining pit stop after which the convoy will proceed straight to Maun.
“I know some people would prefer to fly straight to Maun but it won’t be as fun. They say getting there should be half the fun and that is exactly why we chose to do the road trip,” Gaobakwe says.
Recently retired Zebras striker, Dipsy Selolwane, will host the second leg of his testimonial matches at the Maun Sports Complex as part of the Experience. The game will feature Selolwane’s friends and a Maun select team.
His team will include players who have played with him during a career that spans about twenty years. It will also feature some of the players he played with internationally; the likes of South Africa’s Sibusiso Zuma, and Thulani Serero who now plays for Ajax Amsterdam in the Netherlands. South African personalities like Thomas Kwenaite, Thomas Mlambo and Dj Cleo are also expected to take part. Both Gaobakwe and his business partner, D.O.C Entertainment’s Mosimanyane Dose are no strangers to organizing a soccer event. The duo was involved in a Show You Care soccer tournament a decade ago that encouraged men to test for HIV. SA’s Kaiser Chiefs were featured in the event alongside local clubs.
The second annual ‘My Maun Experience Fashion Show’ will also be on the rich menu. The show will be held at Manex farm. The farm sits strategically on the bank of the Thamalakane River providing for a magnificent view. The fashion show will once again have local top models showcasing clothes by top local designers. “We encourage designers to come up with Maun themed designs to help sell the place as a holiday destination of choice,” Gaobakwe says.
Both Gaobakwe and Dose are no strangers to fashion shows either. It was on their watch as Miss Botswana license holders that Emma Wareus went on to scoop First Princes at the Miss World finals, held in China in 2010. “Emmas’ performance helped a great deal in selling our country not just to the Chinese but the entire world,” says Gabakwe.
He says the My Maun Experience menu will also include boat cruises, mokoro trips, helicopter rides, and scenic flights. He says there will also be a Safari themed party where the dress code will be khaki clothes normally used by safari companies as their uniform. If the activities planned for the event are anything to go by, it promises to be a once in a lifetime experience. “If you are looking to experience nature at its best and enjoy the spellbinding natural wonders that Botswana has to offer, Maun remains the place to be this festive season,” Gaobakwe says, adding, “they say a picture speaks a thousand words but no photograph, no matter how well taken, can do justice to the sheer tranquillity and peace of mind that comes with being surrounded by such natural beauty.” The events wrap up in early January 2015.