This year’s Khawa Dune Challenge takes place on May 5-8, 2016. Hosted by Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) with the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture (MYSC) and Botswana Motorsport, Khawa started five years ago. BTO CEO Thabo Dithebe said the event has attained what it was intended to do in the first place – to raise awareness on the unknown villages in Botswana. The event features the quad and motor bike challenges, quad and motor bike fun rides, professional sky dive demonstrations, air balloon rides, fun camel rides, cultural performances and exhibitions and sale of arts and crafts from the Kgalagadi area. The event started with about 2000 people in its inception in 2012, and in 2015 there were about 6000 people. Even more people are expected this year. He said 10 local youths have been trained on riding quads and motorbikes through the Khawa Motorsport Youth Academy Programme. He said they want the youth to be able to participate as professional riders in the near future to make a living out of the competition.
According to Dithebe, they have contributed to cultural development. “Khawa village has secured a prominent place on the map and has gained recognition as one of the tourism attractions in Botswana,” he said, adding that they have developed a land use plan for the village and assisted the village trust in securing a campsite plot for use in generating sustainable income for the community. In the first year BTO contributed about P4 million in hosting the event but are now are spending less each year. MYSC Permanent Secretary Kago Ramokate said that the Khawa Cultural Festival is part of an effort to diversify the tourism product offered during the dune challenge in terms of providing entertainment and running exhibitions alongside other activities. The festival is expected to commence on a Friday with Polka night dedicated only to the polka dance mainly for the groups from Kgalagadi with one or two exception of groups elsewhere in the country to spice the night. “The festival will continue on Saturday featuring all the performing groups that performed on Friday night with an exhibition alongside the other activities,” he said. The mall activations have started on April 23rd at malls in Maun, Kasane, Francistown, Selibe Phikwe, Letlhakane, Tsabong, Ghanzi, Gaborone and Jwaneng.