By Esther Mmolai
Maun — Plans are underway to embark on several tourism activities in an effort to enhance the diversification of tourism products in Ngamiland courtesy of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The tourism activities comprise of fish competitions and festival at Lake Ngami, Tsodilo Challenge at Tsodilo Hills enclave and the construction of a 4×4 trail from Tsodilo Hills which is a World Heritage Site to Gcwhihaba National Monument which is the natural heritage site as well as construction of campsites in attractive areas in all villages which the trail would be passing through.
Ngamiland leadership and other stakeholders learnt that the UNDP through its Sustainable Land Management Project (SLM) was supporting the activities and working with some community trusts to spearhead the events.
Briefing about the activities, SLM project coordinator, Mr Innocent Magole explained that they had realised the need to embark on tourism activities which would benefit the communities of Ngamiland as the SLM project was coming to an end.
He said they wanted to grow tourism and believed that through such activities, the communities would gain meaningfully and their livelihoods be improved.
In addition, he said they wanted the activities such as fish competition and festival and Tsodilo Challenge to be held annually.
He said currently the Lake Ngami Conservation Trust was in negotiations with Botswana Anglers Association to see if they could help with organising the activity scheduled for September. The association does fishing as a hobby as they catch and release the fish.
Mr Magole expressed confidence that the event would attract more attention and people would get used to eating fish which would be cooked in different ways.
With regard to the Tsodilo Challenge, Mr Magole said the idea was to conduct it around the Tsodilo Hills. He pointed out that Tsodilo Trust has made an agreement with Jwaneng Desert Bush Walk organisers which attracts over 4 000 people yearly to assist in spearheading the event.
The activity scheduled for first week of September is anticipated to attract more tourists who are interested in fitness.
A cultural festival night is also part of the activities and will attract groups from all villages affiliated to the trust to showcase their unique cultural activities.
Mr Magole was optimistic that all the activities would benefit the communities and contribute meaningfully to the local economy as individuals would be welcomed to put up stalls.
For his part, the council chairperson, Mr Duncan Enga appreciated efforts by UNDP, noting that the relationship between the organisation and Botswana, in particular Ngamiland region goes a long way.
He said the organisation had supported the country over the years and continues to give.
He recalled that the Okavango Delta Management Plan (ODMP) was supported through one of the United Nations’s conventions, (Ramsar Convention) to prepare it, adding that the plan had changed greatly the resource management landscape of the district.
Mr Enga also appreciated the SLM project noting that it came up with brilliant interventions that impacted positively on the lives of communities.
The chairperson also appreciated the lined up tourism activities as they would make a huge change in the livelihoods of affected communities.
He said the activities would open doors for the communities and enable them to harness the potential of resources found within the vicinity of their areas for survival.
Source : BOPA