The High-cost, low-volume model to minimise congestion in Botswana’s northern tourism destinations might have worked well for the country’s pristine lands and the wildlife. Tourists from developed countries continue to flock to Botswana each year and this has led to the sector being the second largest contributor to the country’s GDP after diamonds.
Despite this success, locals seem to be left out because the tourist industry focuses on the luxury and exclusive safari market. Initiatives to lure the already dwindling numbers are also low. However, two young Batswana are doing something about this. They are seizing the moment to capitalise on this gap by coming up with an initiative to lure and attract people to the north-western town of Maun every year during the festive season.
The ‘My Maun Experience’ is an initiative launched by Dose Mosimanyane of DOC Entertainment and Bissau Gaobakwe of 63 Entertainment geared attracting people to Maun and surrounding tourist destinations by offering a week long excursion that is a combination of safari experience in the Okavango Delta, sporting activities and a fun filled night life. “We have observed over the years that the majority of Batswana have a tendency of prioritising places such as Sun City & Cape Town (RSA) as well as Walvis Bay & Swakopmund (Namibia) as their holiday destinations of choice over local destinations such as Maun, Kasane, the Okavango Delta and Chobe,” Mosimanyane said.
According to Mosimanyane - a native of Maun - his love for the area saw him conceptualising this noble idea in 2012 and roping in Gaobakwe and they have never looked back. Mosimanyane said although they started small, My Maun Experience keeps on growing big each year. Although it would seem most people did not get where the whole concept was geared at when it started, they now do, and are now coming on board in numbers either as sponsors, partners, and part of the family or just followers. “My Maun Experience has really grown and we are getting positive feedback with time,” he said.
Having had started with just a music show for their first attempt in 2012, the duo says they can confidently say they now offer an attractive package that will leave any reveller satisfied. Last year for example their itinerary had among others safari day trip, helicopter scenic ride over the delta, bicycle race, New Year’s party and boat cruises with the latter proving to be the most popular among visitors. Revellers could not wait to have a closer feel of the serene flows of the Thamalakane River, the closest thing to an ocean safari any Motswana can ever encounter.
This year with more sponsors on board, Mosimanyane said more activities will be lined-up for event. The newest addition to the long list, he said, include a Boxing Day fight, motor bike show, and a mini food, Wine and Whisky festival where local Maun cuisine will be served.
An increase in day and sporting activities is, according to Mosimanyane, a deliberate move to promote ‘clean’ fun among Batswana, especially the youth. “The more time they will spend engaged in these activities; the less time they will spend binge drinking,” he said.
As a deliberate move to heighten interest in wildlife and safaris into the delta, Mosimanyane said they have partnered with one of the leading safari companies in Maun to create a special package for people who would want to go for a day trip into the Delta. “People have not been showing interest in doing safari trips into the delta and its concerning,” he said, adding “It is also our belief that for people to appreciate and understand the need to conserve our wildlife, vegetation and environment at large, they need to be taken out there to personally experience nature’s beauty”.
As their event grows, the My Maun Experience crew are not forgetting those who are supporting their growth and hence they have dedicated a day in their week long line up solely for giving back to the community.
Dignitaries and public figures that often grace the event and are expected to grace this year’s My Maun Experience again include Sports icons Amantle Montsho, Nigel Amos and Diphetogo Selolwane, the two Maun MPs Kosta Markus and Kgosi Tawana Moremi.