Friday, May 24, 2024

Wilderness going wild on its footprint…

Operating in the prime ecotourism safari lands of Botswana, Wilderness Holdings is upbeat about investing in African tourism markets which offer authentic wildlife and safari experiences.

The Group which is celebrating 35 years of its existence wants to penetrate in a market where it feels its specific ecotourism model can have positive conservation and community impacts.

“For the last 35 years of purpose, even when we started out in Botswana in 1983 with just one old Land Rover, there has always been one overriding purpose to our ecotourism activities: to conserve and restore Africa’s wilderness and wildlife. Our vision may have been couched in different ways over the years, but it has never changed ÔÇô we know why we exist and we know what we are trying to achieve,” says the Group’s Chief Executive officer, Keith Vincent.

From the Group’s recent annual report, as it rolls out its 12 Travel with Purpose itineraries over the course of the year, it will continue to entrench its firm belief that Purpose is the New Luxury and to look for further opportunities to invest in prime wilderness areas in need of conservation ecotourism.

The Group which under 2016/17 financial year realised revenue increase nine percent to P1 209 million, believes it has a strong cash position that provides it with the opportunity to take advantage of expansion opportunities that may arise.   

In partnership with the Rwanda Development Board and conservation group African Parks, Wilderness is looking forward to expanding its footprint in Rwanda by opening a new camp, Magashi, in Akagera National Park, in mid-December 2018.

Southern Africa tourism industry remains bullish and this trend is anticipated to continue in the medium-term.

As the Zambezi region continues to flourish, Wilderness remains optimistic about the future business potential in Zimbabwe and is currently investigating an exciting opportunity in Mana Pools National Park. Vincent says, “we have no doubt that tourism to Zimbabwe is on the rise, and that Wilderness is well placed to welcome back many more discerning travellers to this remarkable region.

In Namibia, the rebuild of the iconic Serra Cafema on the Kunene River is well underway, despite a series of floods experienced in April, with a new opening date set for 1 September 2018.

The much-anticipated openings of Bisate Lodge, the Group’s first luxury ecotourism lodge in Rwanda and the fourth generation of Mombo, its flagship camp in Botswana remain the two main highlights of the year in review.

Bisate has remained rooted to its core purpose; to be a leading world-class ecotourism operation that has a dramatic and far-reaching impact on more than just the critically endangered mountain gorilla.

The end of January also saw the Group’s flagship camps, Mombo and Little Mombo, reopening after a complete rebuild, setting new standards for responsible and purpose-driven luxury ecotourism in the Okavango Delta.

The “Place of Plenty” as affectionately called or described, the Group executives are optimistic that it will continue to offer a world-class experience, whilst making an important contribution to pioneering rhino conservation in Botswana. The new Mombo has already been recognised in the Town and Country Hotel Awards and the UK Cond├® Nast Traveller’s 2018 Hot List.

Vincent adds that, “in our continuous quest for operating camps and making a difference in the best wildlife areas in Africa, we were delighted to open the new Qorokwe Camp in December 2017, in partnership with Maun-based Cobus Calitz and Jil G├®rard- Calitz. Other rebuilds and refurbishments in Botswana included extensive makeovers of DumaTau and Savuti, and the imminent reopening of Chitabe.”


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