Wilderness Holdings Limited says it takes its community projects seriously in areas around the Okavango Delta where it operates most of its camp sites.
The company’s Cultural Ambassador and Community Relations Manager, Lesego Moiteela, said on Wednesday at press briefing in Gaborone that the group is engaged in various community projects in areas around the delta.
First, he said Wilderness operates 18 camp sites in various capacities. In some cases, the company only markets and manages camps on behalf of third parties while others the company operates for itself.
Moiteela said the company benefits communities in many ways, one of those being that some of the concessions belong to village trust around and therefore Wilderness pays lease rentals to those trusts. Other camps are leased from government and the company pays directly to the government.
One of the company flagship projects is called Children in the Wilderness – a non-profit making organisation supported by Wilderness Holdings and aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
One of the programmes’ aims is to increase children’s understanding and appreciation of the diversity of natural environments, encouraging them by showing opportunities that exist.
Overall, Children in the Wilderness programme has been made to increase self-esteem, teach new skills and impart knowledge to the kids, making them to be able to cope with life challenges at their villages. Wilderness Holdings is one of the listed tourism companies in Botswana and has spread its operations to other parts of SADC where it runs luxury camps.
The company, which pulled out of a bid to acquire national airliner Air Botswana last year following public uproar as the company is linked to former president Ian Khama, is one of the most profitable companies on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE).
Wilderness has already issued a statement announcing that the company results for the year ended 28 February 2018 are likely to be materially higher than those achieved in the corresponding period in the previous year.
Last year Wilderness generated P156 million cash from its operations which was a 15 percent increase while profit after tax went up by 15 percent too, to P63 million.
During the same period, revenue increased by 18 percent to P1.1 billion from P935 million driven by the increase in bed-nights sold. The bed-nights sales had increased 18 percent, excluding the Governor’s businesses which were acquired during the period.
Wilderness announced last year that Botswana Government has renewed several leases to existing operators. The Group said it has now received its draft leases for the concessions upon which Mombo, Little Mombo and Xigera camps are located and these are in the process of being finalised.
Accordingly, the Group expects the leases for the concessions upon which Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura are situated to follow suit. The group began operating in Botswana 30 years ago focusing its operations on safaris in wild, remote and pristine parks.