New owners unveil ambitious plans
Mountbatten Limited Group, which recently acquired Botswana’s Xigera Safari Camp situated in the Okavango Delta, has promised to turn it into a five star camp that would also boost other sectors such as the number of air traffic passengers going to the region.
The Group’s CEO, Michael Tollman, said in interview this week that they have a history of turning properties into extraordinary iconic properties and Xigera would not be an exception. The acquisition of the property, Tollman explained, came after they scouted for properties in South Africa and Botswana.
The group, which is a family business, had its officials visiting the camp years ago though at varying times and instantly fell in love with it. And it was during last year when considerations were done that they chose the three-star rated camp situated in the delta.
“We are going to create something that will be globally recognised as the best camp in Botswana,” Tollman said, adding that he expects the upgrading to be complete in the next year and a half.
He said the camp will be iconic and tourists will be tripping over themselves to visit it. Tollman said they are not looking at budget when carrying out new designs of the camp, saying they gave architects their vision and will work on it to create an iconic camp.
“The budget is the result of the vision, not the other way round,” he said, also adding that the budget will soon be approved to start the works.
Xigera Camp is under the Wilderness Safaris brand and following the acquisition, it is now operated by Red Carnations Hotel Group.
Tollman says Botswana is a high value destination and a three star camp does not help as that is not what people are looking but a to five-star camp that people want to go to.
He explained that this camp will also see air traffic passengers increasing, both going for leisure and business. “I believe it is a good thing, not just for us but it is really a good thing for tourism.”
On long term plans here in Botswana, Tollman said their vision is to create the best camp not only in Botswana but Africa.
“Having said that, our experience is that when we are in a place, we have traditionally bought more hotels or properties,” he said, adding that they are an exceptional group and the feedback that they normally get drives their expansion strategy.
Tollman does not rule out the possibility of buying more properties in Botswana, explaining that they do not operate a model of managing properties on behalf third parties as they only want their own designs.
“It is very possible based on our experience,” he said, adding that they have done the same thing in South Africa and certainly when the opportunity arises they will look at it.