On 30 September 2016, Botswana celebrated its 50th anniversary of independence. It was on this day in 1966 that Botswana (then known as the Bechuanaland Protectorate) was granted independence from British rule.
To understand the success of tourism in Botswana we need to look back to the state of the country in 1966. Botswana was then a very poor country with a population of 550 000 and high levels of illiteracy and infrastructure. At this time beef production was the main source of economic production. This changed in 1977 with the beginning of diamond mining operations. Diamonds transformed the economy and between 1966 and 1996 the economy grew at 9% per annum and at around 7% per annum subsequently.
Botswana could have easily ignored another main avenue of revenue had it not been for progressive leadership that saw the potential of the country as a prime wildlife and safari destination. Today, tourism is the second-largest contributor to Botswana’s GDP – with nearly 40% of land set aside as national parks and wildlife reserves.
We’re proud to work in this beautiful country, considered to be one of the most stable, peaceful and transparent countries in Africa. Botswana is in fact the original ‘home’ of Wilderness Safaris, one of our primary suppliers, and it was in 1983 that their exciting journey of discovery and learning first began.
The country’s “low volume, low impact, high value” tourism policy has prospered and ensured the conservation of land and wildlife as well as that benefits are accrued to local communities. From being one of the poorest countries on the continent, Botswana is now one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It is this success story combined with natural riches and a visionary government that make Botswana one of the most rewarding countries in Africa and possibly the most exciting for a safari to appreciate the plethora of wildlife great and small…
We look forward to the next 50 years!