Tourism officials of South Africa’s North West descended on Gaborone last weekend in an effort to market their province to Batswana and encourage them to go there and explore the great things they have. They used one word to describe the North West province, which is tranquillity. Bojanala Platinum District Municipality Tourism and Marketing Manager Oupa Modise said they want to do this often as they wish to organise annual media familiarisations tours to showcase their successful tourism products services located within the villages, small towns and dorpies.
Mpho Motshegoa, who is the General Manager for Marketing in the North West Province, said they need to connect on a level that is longer lasting and sustainable not on a fly-by-night basis. He said gone are the days of dealing with camera toting tourists who hop on a bus tour to escape from the realities of their lives. “We are now in an epoch of proactive tourists who interact with the community in a tangible way,” he said, adding that they want to contribute to the creation of five million more domestic holiday trips by 2020 hence the call to go to the North West province which they deem ‘A re yeng Bokone Bophirima’. One of the things that they pride themselves with at the North West province is similar to Botswana, which is the Tswana Traditional Dance and music.
One of the tourism attractions that they proud themselves with at North West is the Harties Cableway. They describe it as a glimpse of heaven that is authentic for perfect family outing. The place offers 360 degrees views that arguably reveal authentic pocket of heaven on earth. The venue is said to be friendly for everyone including children and the physically challenged where the cable car and walkaways are suitable for wheelchairs. The province is also popular with balloon safaris and boasts itself with one of the coolest spot in South Africa that many are always looking forward to explore which is the Sun City.
Some of the places that they pride themselves with are The Royal Marang Hotel, Ivory Lodge and Madikwe Hills – a luxurious lodge which they deem as an undisturbed hideaway. They also boasted of the Kedar Country Lodge which has a display of more than 480 lead guns that were used during the Anglo Boer War as well as the swords and uniforms that were worn during the war. Keith Adam of Harties Boat Company revealed that their boat experience is one of the things to explore when in the North West province, which according to him, is always fully booked.
Performer, actor and presenter Tshepo ‘Stoan’ Seate, who has been the ambassador for the North West Province for 10 years now, was also available. Stoan is popularly known for using pure Setswana in whatever platform he takes on. In his 40th year now, he revealed that in May he held the 20/40 retrace the steps of Stoan Seate phenomenon. For six days they engaged in a bike tour from Johannesburg to Mafikeng that retraced the steps of the trip that he took 20 years ago to chase his dream in Johannesburg. Whenever he is in Botswana it always feels like home considering the fact that as a young boy when growing up he had his aunt whom he used to visit in Mochudi, Botswana.
Hospitality and Tourism Association of Botswana (HATAB) CEO, Lilly Rakoro, said they have decided that they need to find a way of working with the North West Province in terms of collaborations and synergies. She said with their efforts they will make sure that since they have realised that tourists go on a circuit, they will package trips for them together. North West Province will offer their tourists what is available in Botswana and not available in their province while at the same time they will do the same. This will mean that tourists will manage to get the best of both worlds since the locations favour them as they are closer to each other. “We believe this relationship is very important and we want to integrate this region as SADC,” she said, adding that they are very excited because they believe that their partnership will offer more good things.
Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) Marketing Executive for Overseas Market, Dawson Ramsden, highlighted that they have always had a good relationship with South Africa. He said even at the moment they are working on relocating another 100 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana where they will breed them without fracas from poachers since they have proven to the world that they have the best measures to curb poaching. He said it is not like they are taking these rhinos for good, but they just put them in a safe place and let them breed where they will then begin to take some back.
On why some tourist places like the Okavango area and Chobe can be quite pricey to visit especially the accommodation and other basic needs, Ramsden said such places are ‘high value, low impact’ areas. “The other reason is that people who do business there have to bring everything there that they need to operate since they are in the bush, and that might be the reason for high costs unlike tourism places in the middle of the city,” he said.