The Desert Race has once again proven that it is a great tourist attraction event. It brought thousands of people from as far as Kasane, Ramokgwebana, Maun and various parts of Botswana. On top of that, people from neighbouring countries of Namibia, South Africa, the United States and Europeans and others from across the globe also attended Botswana’s big desert race. It was a great time to unwind and have fun while watching motor and bike races. The little quiet town of Jwaneng was alive with action as the tourists descended on the diamond mining town. From Thursday up until Sunday afternoon, the place was a beehive of activity. Just on the other side of the Trans-Kalahari road, there were various tent camps. People had pitched their tents for their accommodation.
Others who had had not brought their tents had were brilliant enough to come up with the idea of large bonfires to keep warm throughout the night as they imbibed their beverages over some social banter throughout the night. This Desert Race is an international event and among the four biggest in the world. That is why it also attracted people from as far as Brazil, where even some partook in the race. On the entertainment side, revellers were treated to good music by local DJ, while some came from Namibia and other southern African countries.
Keitumetse Setlang, Botswana Tourism Organisation Head of Communications and Public Relations said they are quite happy that Batswana came in large numbers. She said it was a good thing because competitors are motivated when cheered by spectators.
She revealed that there were a lot of economic spin-offs for the town, especially that eateries like Nandos and Chicken Licken had a lot of customers and had to work hard to meet the demand.
“But you should realise that not only Jwaneng benefitted. The routes from wherever people were coming from, like say, if you come from Gaborone, you had to buy your camping equipment in the city then later refuel your car in Jwaneng,” she said.
Setlang has said that the race has done a lot in attracting a lot of attention to Botswana. She said besides the large number of nationals from across the globe, there were international television channels like BBC and Supersport which will beam the show to millions of people, thus those who did not manage to come will get to see how the race was like. The BTO spokesperson said they are quite happy that despite the fact that it was the first time to hold it in Jwaneng, it has been successful. The crowds were well behaved and the business was good, she reiterated. Some of the spectators at one point had to caution a motorist who against the police’s advice, wanted to park too close to the race track, in Sese. Sources reveal that he had to move out after the crowd warned him to behave and stop being a nuisance.
“Batswana were very patriotic and did their best to ensure that tourists felt at home. This is the spirit that we should celebrate and encourage as Batswana,” said Setlang.
Asked if the race will also be in Jwaneng next year, Setlang said preliminary reviews indicate that the town will be the host once again.
She implored the private sector to sponsor locals to participate in large numbers in the race.